Explore > Naval Career


During the first few weeks of the War recruitment fever had swept the nation and Eli Cornwell re-joined the Army serving with the Royal Defence Corps.  At 15 Jack would have been too young to follow his Father into the Army as the recruitment started at 18 years.  He was, however, eligible to join the Navy which he did.  His service record shows he was 5foot 2.5inches tall with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion.

Having already shown an aptitude for learning new skills in his Scout troop he appears to have taken to Navy life and progressed well with his training.  Initially based at HMS Vivid in Plymouth Jack was then transferred to the training ship HMS Lancaster.  

Jack wearing the hatband of HMS Vivid.

He was taught the additional and more complex skills of a Sight Setter meaning that he would be tasked with setting the direction and elevation of a gun on a warship.  In April 1916 he completed his training with the rank of “Boy – 1st Class” and was assigned to HMS Chester.  The timing was critical, the newly trained Jack would be part of the most crucial Naval engagement of the First World War, the Battle of Jutland.

On to: Jutland

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