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Kestell-Cornish, Robert Vaughan (1895-1918) | by sherborneschoolarchives
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Kestell-Cornish, Robert Vaughan (1895-1918)

Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the First World War, 1914-1918.


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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.


Details: Robert Vaughan Kestell-Cornish (1895-1918), born 30 July 1895 at Bisley, Gloucestershire, eldest son of Vaughan Kestell Kestell-Cornish (H.M. Consul at Brest) and Lucy Caroline Kestell-Cornish (nee Keble) of Keble House, Fairford, Gloucestershire.


Attended Walton Lodge preparatory school, Cheltenham.


Attended Sherborne School (School House) September 1908-July 1914; 6th form; Prefect; Fletcher Prize 1914; 1st XV rugby football team 1913.


Was to have entered Keble College, Oxford, as an undergraduate in October 1914, but entered it as a cadet in August 1914 at the outbreak of war.


WW1, Captain in the Dorsetshire Regiment, 1st Bn. Gazetted to the Dorsetshire Regiment, 1st Battalion in August 1914; Adjutant, November 1916; joined Staff as G.S.O.3 on 3 September 1917. Awarded the Military Cross 'for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the night of May 1st, 1915, on Hill 60. When most of the officers and men had been asphyxiated and he himself was suffering from the effects of gas, he rallied the men who remained and held the hill till reinforcements arrived.' He won a Bar to the M.C. in November 1916, for 'marked courage and ability when in charge of a working party under heavy fire. Later he commanded two companies, and maintained his position under most difficult circumstances.' He was gazetted adjutant to a Dorset battalion in November 1916, and joined the Staff in September 1917. He was three times mentioned in despatches, and twice wounded, the second time, which proved fatal, on 8 March 1918. He died at 8 Stationary Hospital, Wimeraux, France, of wounds on 17 June 1918, three months after being wounded at Houthulst Forest.


Commemorated at:

Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, VII. B. 49


Fairford, Gloucestershire


Bisley, Gloucestershire:


Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; no.85 Memorial Pew in the School Chapel. Miss Mary Keble donated £1 towards the Sherborne School War Memorial in memory of Captain R.V. Kestell-Cornish.

V. Kestell-Cornish donated £2 towards the Sherborne School War Memorial in memory of his son, Captain R.V. Kestell-Cornish, M.C.).


Military Cross and bar awarded to R.V. Kestell-Cornish


'The Shirburnian', July 1918, reported the sermon given by the Headmaster of Sherborne School on Commemoration Sunday in 1918: 'Many here will understand why at this moment the picture which fills my eye is that of Robert Kestell-Cornish, who died of wounds only last Monday after a struggle of many weeks - our first winner or at any rate one of our first two winners of the M.C. As a boy here the very image of light-hearted boyishness, and boyish at heart to the end, yet within a few months of leaving School playing the part of a man, a leader of men, a hero, in the very first onset and bewilderment of the newly invented devilry of a gas attack; and therefore undertaking duties of leadership, decisions on which hung the issues of life and death for many others; and all at an age when in other times no more would have been expected of him than an intelligent pursuit of his studies, together with the innocent but irresponsible gaiety of an undergraduate.'

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Taken on July 22, 2013