Medals from the Collection of Peter Duckers

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Date of Auction: 17th July 2019

Sold for £950

Estimate: £600 - £800

Eight: Warrant Officer Class I G. H. Cornish, Royal Engineers, attached 1st (King George’s Own) Bengal Sappers and Miners, Indian Army

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Belmont, Modder River, Paardeberg, Driefontein (23804. Sapr. G. H. Cornish. R.E.) suspension broken and repaired; India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, North West Frontier 1908 (23804 Sergt. G. H. Cornish. R.E. No.1 Co. 1st S.&M.); 1914-15 Star (1674 C.S.Mjr. G. H. Cornish. R.E.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (1674 A.W.O.Cl.1. G. H. Cornish.); Delhi Durbar 1911, silver (C.S.M. G. H. Cornish. R.E.); Army L.S. & G.C., E.VII.R. (23804 Sjt: G. H. Cornish. R.E.); Meritorious Service Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (C.S.M. – G. M. Cornish. 1–S.&M.) contact marks to QSA, generally very fine or better (8) £600-£800


George Henry Cornish was born in 1873 at Ballynass, County Kildare, the son of a soldier and blacksmith in the Royal Engineers. Himself a blacksmith by trade, he attested for the Royal Engineers in London in June 1889 aged 15 years and 11 months. Serving initially in the rank of Boy, he was promoted to Sapper in July 1891 and served in St. Lucia from January 1894 to January 1896. Cornish served with the 7th Field Company and H.Q. 5th Division during the Boer War from 15 July 1899 to 10 September 1900, after which he returned to England. He was posted to India in February 1902 and served there as European N.C.O. with the 1st (King’s George’s Own) Bengal Sappers and Miners until October 1912 during which time he was promoted to Sergeant in September 1904 and Company Sergeant Major in June 1909, his promotion to Sergeant in the Royal Engineers not taking place until 1910. He served in the North West Frontier 1908 Campaign in Mohmand and is confirmed on the roll as a recipient of the Delhi Durbar medal in silver. He returned to England in October 1912 and retired the same month.

After the outbreak of the Great War, Cornish re-enlisted on 12 November 1914 for one year of service in the Royal Engineers (T.F.) aged 41 and was posted to the 2nd Home Counties Field Coy., R.E. He landed in France on 23 December 1914 and served throughout the war until August 1918, being Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 15 June 1916). His M.S.M. ‘with gratuity’ awarded in April 1916 is a very unusual instance of a British M.S.M. being named to a British N.C.O. in the Bengal Sappers and Miners.

Cornish ended the war as Warrant Officer Class I, Royal Engineers, and was transferred to the Class Z reserve in July 1919.

Sold with copied research.