DIVISIONAL UNIT: 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
5th Infantry Brigade
5th Field Artillery Brigade
23rd Howitzer Battery
Canadian Field Artillery
SERVICE NO: 317885
RESIDENCE: Goderich – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: August 24, 1884
Goderich – Township of Goderich – County of Huron- Ontario
DATE OF DEATH: March 31, 1918 33 years 7 months
CEMETERY: Bellacourt Military Cemetery –Bellacourt –
Pas de Calais – France
I N 2
PARENT: Mrs. Sarah Cornell – Goderich - Ontario
Occupation: Steam Shovel /
Crane man Religion: Church of England
Enlistment: St. Catherines – February 4, 1916
Enlistment Age: 31 years 7 months
Private Cornell departed from Halifax on September 11, 1916 and arrived in England on the SS Cameronia on September 22, 1916. Upon his arrival in England he was part of the 49th Battary attached to the 16th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery. On January 22, 1917 while at Milford Camp - Surrey he is Struck off Strength of the 16th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery and goes to the 15th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery. In March while at Witley Camp - Surrey he is promoted to Bombardier.
Bombardier Cornell goes into France on March 17, 1917 with the 83rd Battery of Canadian Field Artillery. He is then posted to the 5th Brigade of Canadian Field Artillery.
The 23rd Howitzer Battery of the 5th Infantry Brigade provided the Brigade with 25% of their fire power. The Battery consisted of 5 Officers, 191 men on other ranks, 169 horses to look after 6 4.5” howitzers that had a limber and wagon for each gun. The range of the 4.5” howitzer was 7,600 yards. It could fire high explosive, incendiary, shrapnel, smoke and star shells.
This was the largest quick firing piece of artillery the Canadian Corps deployed and used as a neutralizing gun against weaker enemy defences, enfilading communication trenches, for barrage work especially during the night and for the cutting of the enemy wire where the field guns were unable to reach.
Early in the morning of March 31st the artillery carried out harassing fire in the form of short and concentrated shoots on Neuville-Vitasse as well as on the roads and the approacheds in the enemy rear. This was to cover the Purple Line.
It was reasonably quiet during the day but there were much enemy movements in the back country with troops and transport. These were good targets for the artillery.
During the day the 23rd Battery suffered one fatal casualty which was Bombardier Cornell and he was killed in action from the effects of an odd round from an enemy 77 mm gun directed at the firing of the 23rd Battery.
The Brigade had orders to engage any enemy targets they were able to see on this day and they were plentiful later on in the day.