The War Graves of Ystradgynlais

Cornelius Samuel White

Cornelius Samuel White served with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the Western Front and was killed in action at Ypres in October 1917.

The information on Cornelius Samuel White has been compiled from a number of sources, including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, from the Labour Voice newspaper, and the Parish Burial Register (courtesy of the Swansea Archives).

We are extremely grateful to a number of individuals who have contacted us with further information and images, all of which are to be found further down this memorial page. Thank You very much!

NameCornelius Samuel White
Date of Death9th October 1917
Place of DeathYpres
Age at Death21
Unit and RegimentRoyal Warwickshire Regiment; 16th Bn.
Service Number16⁄1801
Additional InformationBorn Charmouth, Dorset. Former boarder at Dowry Parade Bristol before moving to Ystradgynlais. Enlisted Birmingham. Fell in action at Ypres.
Remembrance Grave  In the churchyard of Saint Cynog's, Ystradgynlais there is a HEADSTONE leaning on the foot of a grave. Inscription: In loving memory of Pte. Cornelius Samuel White. Royal Warwick Regiment. Greater love hath no man/Than this.
(The grave in question reads Mary Elizabeth and David Bowen and as Cornelius was an orphan but was employed by the Bowens in Ystradgynlais they may have provided his memorial tablet.) 
MemorialTyne Cot Memorial, Belgium; Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
Local MemorialsYstradgynlais War Memorial
Monkton Wyld War Memorial
Memorial plaque in the church at Wotton Fitzpaine
Family DetailsFather Jarvis (Born 1865 Whitchurch) Farm Labourer and Mother Amelia (Born Whitchurch 1867, died 1900) living at Longlane, Wotton Fitzpaine, Bridport.
Employed as servant assisting in the trade he was living with John W and his wife Mary Bowen. The Bowens were shopkeepers (grocery and provision dealers) at Ystradgynlais.
Known BrothersWilliam (born 1890; killed Gallipoli 1915)
Jack (Royal Artillery WW1, emigrated to Australia)
Charles (Royal Engineers, became an Instructor)
Frederick (also orphaned, joined up & also killed at 3rd Battle of Ypres, Oct 1917)
Eli (born 1888)
Known SistersElizabeth

Cornelius Samuel White
To the left is the headstone in St. Cynog's churchyard

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 27th October 1917 :-

News has reached Ystradgynlais that Private Cory White of the Gloucesters has made the supreme sacrifice out in France. Prior to joining up he was employed by Mr. Bowen Grocer. He is an old boy of Muller's House.


From the Labour Voice newspaper, 15th December 1917 :-

An impressive memorial service to the memory of the late Private Cornelius White, who was killed in France recently, was conducted at Sardis on Sunday evening by the Rev R M Rhys; Miss Elizabeth Williams played the "Dead march", the congregation kneeling.

Yeargroup was contacted by Mr Mooney whose Great Grandfather had four brothers: Cornelius Samuel White being one of them. He very kindly provided details of his family:-
The oldest brother William was killed at Gallipoli in 1915; the second eldest Jack served in the Royal Artillery and after the war emigrated to Australia. The third brother Charles (his great Grandfather) also survived and stayed in the Army as an instructor in the Royal Engineers after the war.
Frederick and Cornelius became orphans, Frederick being adopted by a family in Sutton Coalfield but they kept in touch, joined the Army together and actually served together but unfortunately were both killed within a week of each other at the 3rd Battle of Ypres.
The boys originally came from Dorset and both Frederick and Cornelius are named on the Tyne Cot Memorial Belgium, as well as at the local church in Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset.

Yeargroup also received an email from Vernon Rattenbury about another memorial with C S White's name upon it:-

Hi Val
I am from Lyme Regis, Dorset and have been researching the names on the local war memorials in the area. I just thought that you may like to know and add to your web the fact that Cornelius Samuel White is commemorated on the Monkton Wyld War Memorial. Monkton Wyld is a small hamlet just outside Charmouth in Dorset.

Monkton Wyld War Memorial, Dorset

We were also contacted by Mr Christopher Clark:-

I was really interested to read about Cornelius Samuel White who has a page on your site dedicated to local men killed in World War one. He was my great uncle. I have some extra details and a photo which i have attached as well as portrait based on the photo.
Although he was an orphan his birth parents were Jarvis and Amelia White from Wotton Fitzpaine, Dorset. As well as the brothers mentioned on the page he also had two older sisters: Elizabeth and Kathleen.
The page says that his name is on a number of memorials but one that is not mentioned is a memorial plaque in the church at Wotton Fitzpaine.

Wotton Fitzpaine Memorial Plaque, Dorset:-
In affectionate remembrance of Fred & Cornelius White, privates in the ROyal Warwickshire Regiment, who laid down their lives in the Great War, October 20th and October 27th 1917.
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee

It is intriguing to note the incorrect date for Cornelius' death. It is elsewhere recorded as being on the 9th October, but here it is written as the 27th, which interestingly is the date that it was reported in the Labour Voice newspaper, above.

We are also grateful to Chris Clark for the images below, a fascinating photograph of Cornelius White in uniform upon his horse, and a fantastic painting Chris created from that photograph, evocative of the WW1 period in all its colours and detail.

Thanks also to Chris Clark for the following information on Cornelius, gleaned during family history research and a visit to the archives:-

The back story is that he and his slightly older brother Fred, were placed in the George Muller orphanage in Bristol at the ages of four and five respectively after their mother died in 1900.(Amelia White, she was aged 36, had 13 children, and her death certificate says she died of exhaustion.) The lady of the manor, a Mrs Pass, organised the move because she felt their father, a local agricultural labourer, could not cope. Their father, Jarvis, died in 1936. At 14 they left the orphanage and were apprenticed to Christian families on the understanding they would be treated like one of the family.

Cornelius went to Ystradglynais and Fred to Sutton Coalfield. They kept up links with their siblings and father. Six siblings served in WW1; three killed and three survived. When they both enlisted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1915 it was at Charmouth which is a couple of miles from Wotton Fitzpaine. An important snippet in their story is contained in the diary of their brother, Ralph, who met Cornelieus on the Western Front shortly after the Battle of Somme. Cornelius and Fred both fought in that battle. At the end of the first day the Warwickshires had a roll call to find out who was left and when Fred didn't answer, Cornelius asked for permission to go out into no-man's land and look for him. He found him badly wounded and brought him in to get him medical attention.

Fred spent a year recovering from wounds. Both boys were killed in October 1917 during the 3rd battle of Eypres. A note described as being 'the testimony of an officer' is attached to Cornelius' file from the orphanage and says that he was killed by a sniper while in the act of attending to a wounded man. He died before he was twenty, and in several ways was something of a hero in my eyes, which is what prompted me to do a painting of him.

In correspondence between the George Muller Orphanage and the lady of the manor at Wotton Fitzpaine (Mrs Elizabeth Pass) who organised their adoption, she describes them as nice, good-natured boys and she took a genuine interest in them. It was she who installed the plaque to them in Wotton Fitzpaine church (above).


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