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THE ROAD TO WAR -
Kent
 
Hero's of the Royal Navy
 
As the Great Forces confronted each other in ferocious land battles on the continent of Europe, the other armed services were already preparing to play their part in the conflict of the “The First World War”
 
The British Navy engaged the German High Fleet in great sea battles that were fought across the vast oceans of the earth, mighty warships pitched their wits against each other, as the chase was on to close in on the enemy, their cannons hurled massive shells from every warship, determined blow each other to “Hell” and to sink each other.
British and German warships firing on each other during …The Battle of Jutland
 
 

John “Jack” Cornwell...V.C.
A young 14 year old tea delivery boy from East London named, John “Jack” Cornwell was determined to join the Royal Navy when he came of age. Just after his 15th birthday young Jack was accepted into the Royal Navy as “Boy 1st Class”, at 16 he joined his ship HMS Lancaster.

He would soon see action on the high seas during the great…“Battle of Jutland”.
The ship he was on sighted the enemy and had engaged it, a barrage of huge shells was exchanged howling across the vast distances of sea trying to blow each other out of the water.
The two battleships were under terrific fire, the gun battery that Jack was crewing took a direct hit killing and seriously injuring the crew, Jack carried on alone remaining at his post although seriously wounded. When the ship finally docked at Hull, England, young jack suffering severely from his injuries was taken to Grimsby hospital for immediate treatment, his mother was called but she arrived too late, she sadly never saw him alive again.
The young 16 year old died the following day from wounds received in the battle. He was neglected as any kind of hero, he was just another boy killed in the battle for his country.
Later, he was to be buried in a simple grave in Essex with a simple wooden post as a cross with number attached to it, this was a paupers grave as the family had no money for a gravestone for “their boy Jack”.
The story of Jack Cornwell’s heroic actions soon came to the knowledge of the press, they were outraged at this young boy’s treatment and demise, a massive campaign by the newspapers began.
Headlines of the day printed the story of his heroic actions at Jutland, and how he had become a neglected war hero, now buried in a pauper’s grave.
There was a massive public out-cry, the nation was in grief for the horrendous losses encountered on the Western Front, thousands of mothers had already received the buff telegram from the War Office informing them of the death of a loved one, their simple lives were shattered forever.
In their own grief they would not allow this young boy’s heroic actions to go unnoticed, public pressure was too much so the Admiralty gave their consent to reward the young hero with a decent burial. With his mother’s permission the Admiralty had his body exhumed only 3 weeks after his burial.
This young boy, was a Hero at 16 years of age, he had shown the country the Bravery of his own generation.
The Admiralty and the Government gave young … John “Jack” Travis Cornwell a lavish state funeral that he most assuredly deserved, thousands flocked to see the procession as his coffin passed through the streets of London. The event was recorded on film and shown throughout the length and breadth of the country.
For his Heroic action of that day he was awarded the Greatest Honour “For Valour”…The Victoria Cross. He was the youngest boy to be awarded the V.C. during “The Great War”.
He became the most celebrated V.C. Hero of all time. He had now become a “Hero of the Royal Navy and of the People of England”.
   
Loftus Jones...Royal Navy  
   
Another young recruit would soon join young Jack Cornwell in the annals of becoming a Hero of the Royal Navy. His name was Loftus Jones, at only 15 years of age he too was determined to join up and fight for his country on the high seas.
Loftus Jones, aged 36 was commanding his own ship and fighting a desperate battle with the great titans of the seas during the Battle of Jutland just off the Danish coast. The German Fleet had pounded the British and sunk many ships. The losses of crews were appalling. Jones’s ship took a direct hit on the bridge which severed his leg off below the knee, in agonizing pain and agony he carried on with the battle until his ship was suddenly hit by a torpedo and started to sink. Commander Loftus Jones stayed at the bridge and went down with his ship.
His body was washed up on the shore of the Gotland coast in June 1916.
The Admiralty described him with these words…
”No Finer Act has Been Produced in the Annals of the Navy”.
For his Bravery he was awarded the Highest Honour, “For Valour…The Victoria Cross. At Jutland the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet had engaged the German High Seas Fleet, these mighty sea battles raged across the waves lasting many days in the chase and the fury as dozens of huge battleships pounded each other from miles distant with huge shells, when it finally ended there was horrific losses for both sides as the final toll was announced…
The German Fleet lost 11 battleships and 2, 500 crew killed.
 
The Royal Navy losses were more serious…14 battleships lost, and 6, 000 crew killed.
 
But the battle had produced two incredible Hero’s of the day…Their names to be recorded in the annals of warfare by…. The Royal Navy.
   
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