Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 10, 1899
Place of BirthStratford, Perth County, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Leslie Cornwell (father), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingStudent
Service Details
Regimental Number272075
BattalionRoyal Air Force Reserve Depot
ForceAir Force
BranchRoyal Air Force (Canada)
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJuly 22, 1918
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19730811
Age at Death74

Cornwell, Horace Clifford

Pilot Cadet Horace Clifford Cornwell joined the Royal Air Force in July 1918, at age 19, and served in Canada for five months.

Horace was the youngest son of John Leslie Cornwell and Henrietta Stone of Kenora, Ontario. John and his wife were both born in Ontario, called Canada West at the time, and they were married in 1888 in Athens, a small town northeast of Kingston. Their first son Arthur was born in Athens in August 1889. John was a school teacher and over the next few years his family lived in several different places in Ontario. Two children were born in Oxford County: Estella in 1891 and a son who died as an infant in 1893. Horace was born in Stratford, Perth County on 10 March 1899. By 1901 the Cornwells were living in the village of Meaford in Grey County. Their last child, a daughter, was born in Meaford in 1903 and she died at age seven months. By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved west to Vancouver and Arthur and Estella were both working as school teachers. A year or two later John and Henrietta moved back to Ontario and when the war started in 1914 John was the principal at Kenora High School.

Arthur enlisted with the Canadian Forestry Corps in May 1917 and he was sent to France about a year later. Horace decided to try getting accepted into the Royal Air Force and he signed up in Winnipeg on 22 July 1918, a few months after he turned 19. According to an article in the Kenora newspaper he took his exam in Winnipeg in August and after passing it he was immediately sent to Toronto. He was assigned to the RAF Reserve Depot on 3 September 1918. The Armistice ended hostilities on 11 November and Horace was discharged on 19 December ‘in consequence of being Surplus to R.A.F. requirements.’ He had served for five months.

His brother Arthur returned to England with his unit in January 1919. Sadly he died there on 3 February 1919, most likely a casualty of the flu pandemic. His cause of death was listed as broncho-pneumonia and he’s buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery in London, England. Tragically, their only sister Estella (Mrs. John Winter) died of influenza on 18 February, just days after receiving the news of her brother’s death. She passed away in Kenora while visiting her parents. Estella left a husband and three young children and she’s buried in the Cornwell family plot in Beamsville, Ontario.

In September 1919 Horace moved to Chicago where he attended the School of Dental Surgery. In the 1920 US census he was listed as a dental student, age 20, lodging at a home on Adams Street in Chicago. His father retired around 1929 and his parents spent some of their retirement years in California. When the 1930 US census was taken Horace was living with his parents in Santa Monica, California where he had a dental practice. By the time of the 1940 census, at age 41, he was married. His wife Inez was American, born in Texas, and about four years younger than him.

Horace became a US citizen in 1943 and his address at the time was San Diego. He passed away in Los Angeles on 11 August 1973, at age 74. Inez had died just three months earlier, in May 1973.

By Becky Johnson

Cornwell-Horace-90 Cornwell-Horace-91

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