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8/27 Private Charles Lyall Cornelius NZEF

Star/BWM to 8/27 Cornelius. KiA 26th April 1915.

SKU: ZM174
  • The emotive 1914/15 Star and British War Medal issued to the next-of-kin of Charles Cornelius, who was killed in action on 26th April 1915, during the Battle of the Landing at Gallipoli.


    Charles Cornelius was born 30th March 1893 at Timaru, son of Charles William and Florence Cornelius (née Purvis). According to the South Canterbury Museum SCRoll database, Cornelius was "educated at Waimate and Timaru. He was a champion skater and also good at swimming. Charles was a member of the Territorial force and had already registered for compulsory military training at Enfield, where he had been working for some time as a groom for Mr Reid of Burnside, Enfield".


    Cornelius volunteered for service with the NZEF in August 1914, and sailed with the 10th (North Otago) Company, Otago Infantry Battalion, Main Body. He would have landed on Gallipoli on 25th April 1915, and the following day Cornelius and his company were sent to relieve a company from the Wellington Infantry Battalion at Courtney's Post.  During this day the 10th Otago's "came under heavy fire throughout the day, suffering 12 killed and several wounded". One of these fatal casualties was Charles Cornelius. In a letter to his own mother, 8/767 Lt. Thomas Nisbet wrote of the 10th Otago losses: "Many of the very best are dead, including Private Cornelius, who was shot beside me, and many another good man. But they acted like veterans, and although they got no support for hours, stuck to their post splendidly and didn't give an inch". Like so many at Gallipoli, Cornelius has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial.


    Both medals are correctly impressed 8/27 PTE. C.L. CORNELIUS. N.Z.E.F.

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