Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 10, 1897
Place of BirthWawanesa, Manitoba
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJoseph Cornell (father), 610 Victoria Avenue, Brandon, Manitoba
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198002
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion94th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentBrandon, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment610 Victoria Avenue, Brandon, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 2, 1915
Age at Enlistment17
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details

Cornell, Frederick Charles

Staff Sergeant Frederick Charles Cornell enlisted twice, the first time in January 1915 at age 17. He served in England for a year and he was invalided back to Canada in 1917 due to illness.

Frederick was the only son of Joseph and Elizabeth Cornell of Brandon, Manitoba. He and his twin sister Helen Elizabeth were born on 10 April 1897 in Wawanesa, Manitoba. He also had an older sister Kathleen and two younger sisters, Dorothea and Clara.   Frederick’s father was from Norfolk County, Ontario and he’d moved west to work as a telegrapher for the railway. He married Elizabeth Roberts in Winnipeg in 1887 and a few years later he became involved in the insurance business. Around 1908 Joseph and his wife settled in Brandon, where he was very active in community affairs.

Frederick enlisted in Brandon on 2 January 1915, five months after the war started. He was a student, 17 years old, and he’d already served in the militia with the 99th Manitoba Rangers. He enlisted with the 45th Battalion, a locally-raised unit that trained in Brandon and served on guard duty at the city’s internment camp. At the end of May the troops moved to Camp Sewell, just east of Brandon, and on 2 June Frederick was commissioned as a Lieutenant. The battalion spent the summer and fall at Camp Sewell, which was renamed Camp Hughes that year. On 28 October Frederick was given permission to resign his commission. A week later he enlisted in Port Arthur, Ontario, passing himself off as three years older with his occupation listed as clerk. He joined the 94th Battalion, which was based in Port Arthur and recruited in towns throughout northwestern Ontario.

Frederick was promoted to Sergeant on 11 November and sent to Kenora, Ontario in December. He spent six months training there with the local recruits. In May 1916 they moved to Port Arthur to join the rest of the battalion. They left for Quebec two weeks later and had a short stay at Valcartier Camp in Quebec before embarking for the UK on 28 June. In England the recruits were absorbed into reserve battalions to be used as reinforcements for other units. Frederick was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion on 13 July. Three months later, on 14 October, he was placed on command with the 2nd Brigade headquarters as an instructional staff sergeant. He served there for just over two months.

On 26 December Frederick was admitted to Raven’s Croft Military Hospital in Seaford. He had an abscessed tongue which developed into a severe case of ulcerative stomatitis, a painful inflammation of the mouth, lips and throat. He was unable to eat solid food and he lost 25 lb. over a period of several weeks.  He was transferred to the Military Hospital at Eastbourne in January 1917. Sadly, that same month his twin sister Helen died in Winnipeg, at age 19. Frederick spent a further two months as a patient at Shoreham Hospital and in May 1917 he was invalided to Canada to continue his treatment. He embarked on the SS Grampian on 4 May and landed at Quebec ten days later. He arrived home in Brandon at the end of the month. He was given ten days landing leave before going to the Manitoba Military Convalescent Hospital in Winnipeg, where he received treatment as an outpatient. His condition cleared up by the fall and he was discharged from the army on 4 February 1918, due to being medically unfit for further war service. His character was described as very good.

Frederick was married on 14 July 1920 in Carman, Manitoba. He wife, Stella Margaret Morrison, was the daughter of Christopher and Anne Morrison. She was a teacher and she’d grown up in Carman, the oldest in a family of three girls. Frederick and Stella made their home in Montreal, where he worked in the flour milling industry. By the early 1940s he was assistant vice-president at Robin Hood Flour. Frederick was last listed in the Montreal city directory for the year 1960 and further research may turn up his date and place of death. His parents both died in 1943 and they’re buried in Brandon Municipal Cemetery, along with his sister Helen.

By Becky Johnson

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