Monday, April 23, 2012

Rifleman John James Corkish 203097

John James Corkish

There were 2 John J Corkish records on the CWGC database but one was from Douglas, I.O.M. and the other from Liverpool.

John J Corkish was born on May 7th 1878 and baptised on 29th December 1881 in the Church of St George, Walton on the Hill (Liverpool). His parents were Margaret Ann (Curphey) and John James  Corkish, a policeman, both originally from the Isle of Man. The baptism record shows that they lived in Fairy Street (which no longer exists.)

 The 1881 census  also shows they lived on Fairy Street (This was in the Everton area of Liverpool)

At the time of the 1891 census they lived in Faraday Street, Everton. This street still exists. Margaret's brother Thomas Clague lived next door and was also a policeman from the Isle of Man, his son Louis was enumerated at the house of the Corkish family.

At the time of the 1901 Census  John was a grocer and an employer and lived in Liscard, Wallasey.

In the 1901 census return  John, aged 22, and 5 of his siblings, were enumerated at 37 Rudgrave Square, Liscard, their parents weren't at home.  John was a grocer and an employer - possibly employing his younger brother Charles (aged 16) who was described as a grocer's assistant. 

On 1st February 1903 John James Corkish married Edith Ann Donkin in St John's,Egremont. 

By the time of the 1911 census they lived in Parkgate, Cheshire. John was still a grocer and an employer and they had three children:
Edith Sybil Fletcher Corkish  born 1904
Gladys Louisa Ridley Corkish born 1906
Mary Goodwin Corkish  born 1910, died 1914 aged 4. The family were living at 59 Whitefield Road, Everton and May was buried in Walton Park Cemetery.

I have been told by a member of the Corkish family that John called himself a master grocer for a while but then went bankrupt and went to live in Marlborough Road, Wallasey.

Military Service

Below is John's medal card, it shows that he was a private in the Liverpool Regiment and his number was 203097

Death and Commemoration

This record shows that he was killed on 20th Sept 1917, aged 39 and was a rifleman. He was in the 5th Battalion of the King's (Liverpool Regiment) His family paid for the following inscription to be added to his CWGC headstone:
Sadly Missed by Wife and Children, Thy Kingdom Come, Oh God.

The recently-added information from the CWGC archives show that John J. Corkish's remains were among the thousands exhumed from their battlefield burials, identified (he was identified by means of an ID tag) and buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium.

His entry in UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 gives the following information: note that the regimental number is incorrect.

John James Corkish
Birth Place:
Death Date:
20 Sep 1917
Death Location:
France & Flanders
Enlistment Location:
King's (Liverpool Regiment)
5th Battalion
Type of Casualty:
Killed in action
Theatre of War:
Western European Theatre

Movements of the 5th Battalion:
1/5th BattalionAugust 1914 : formed in St Anne St, Liverpool. Part of Liverpool Brigade, West Lancashire Division.
22 February 1915 : landed at Le Havre and transferred to 6th Brigade, 2nd Division.
15 December 1915 : transferred to 99th Brigade in same Division.
7 January 1916 : transferred to 165th Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

Extracted from 1/5 KLR War Diary
Vlamertinghe Tuesday  18/9/17 X Day. Battalion Moved up to trenches right sub-sector Potijze for the night. Sick nil.
Wednesday 19/9/17 Y Day. Battalion moved up to the forming up place in front of Pommern Castle for the attack the next morning. Supporting  the 7th KLR. 

Thursday 20/9/17  Z Day. The Battalion attacked at 5.40am passing through the 7th KLR and taking the Green Line, consolidating this position which ran from Hill 37 on the left to Zevencote on the right. Casualties:  officers - 4 killed, 5 wounded ; Other Ranks - 41 killed, 7 died of wounds, 7 missing and 114 wounded.

The following  has been transcribed from the Regimental History by Everard Wyrall:-
"At the beginning of September," said Sir Douglas Haig, "the weather gradually improved, and artillery and other preparations for my next attack proceeded steadily. Both the extent of the preparations required, however, and the need to give the ground time to recover from the heavy rain of August, rendered a considerable interval unavoidable before the new advance could be undertaken. The 20th of September was therefore chosen for the date of our attack, and before that day our preparations had been completed."
The front selected for the attack extended from the
Ypres - Comines Canal, just north of Hollebeke, to the Ypres - Staden Railway north of Langemarck - a distance of just over eight miles. The average depth of the operations was one thousand yards, widening to the depth of a mile in the eighbourhood of the Menin Road. "Zero" hour for the attack was fixed at 5.40 a.m. The particular sectors of the front  of special interest to the King's Regiment were the Reutelbeek sector (south of the Polygon Wood) into which the 4th King's of the 33rd Division moved on the 24th of September; the line immediately south east of St. Julien (from which the King's men of the 55th Division, as well as other troops of that division, attacked the enemy at "Zero" hour), and the Langemarck sector in which the I 2th Battalion (20th Division) were in support on the 23rd of September. The King's men of the 55th Division were, however, the only battalions of the regiment which went forward to the attack at "zero" hour. After the Battle of Pilkem the 55th Division had been relieved, and the three brigades moved back to the Tournehem-Recques-Nordausques area for training. The remainder of August and the first fortnight of September were thus spent. . . The 165th Brigade was to attack with the 1/7th King's on the right and the 1/9th King's on the left; the 1/5th and 1/6th King's right and left support respectively. There were three objectives: Red Line, Dotted Line, Yellow and Green Lines. The 1/7th and 1/9th were to capture the Red and Yellow Lines, and the 1/5th and 1/6th the Green Line. Every effort was to be made to capture Hill 37. Other strong points to which particular attention was to be paid were Gallipoli, Hill 35 (Lens), Iberian, Delva and Capitol."


It's good to hear from you.

If it's of interest, John James Corkish (1878 - 1917) is named on the war memorial
at Ballaugh, Isle of Man, which is the family origin (Ramsey / Ballaugh area - they had a farm at Black Wood Ballaugh).

His father was John James Corkish (1856 - 1898), a Police Officer in Liverpool. I don't know why he died at 42 years
of age.

His grandfather was another John James Corkish from IOM. They were just trying to confuse me!

I've found that
JJ 3rd was born at 11 Fairy Street, mother being Margaret Ann (Nee Curphey) born West Derby but retired to Kirk Michael
IOM, where her family came from.

JJ was a grocer at Parkgate Wirral, the business failed and he became an insurance
salesman residing at 8 Marlborough Rd Wallasey before conscription to 5th Bn, KLR.

He was married to Edith Donkin, also from West Derby.

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