Gunner 800485 Harold Bernard Corfield

Corfield Harold 96 341x600 Corfield Harold 96 400x600

Died of Wounds on Saturday, 11th August 1917, age 20.
Buried in Grave IV. E. 4. at Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery, British Extension, Pas De Calais, France.

Royal Field Artillery, 230th Brigade, "C" Battery. 46th Division.

Son of William and Elizabeth Corfield, of 76, Toll End Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Mark's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/30029/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Harold Bernard Corfield registered September quarter 1897 in Dudley.

1901 Census
9 Gospel Oak Road, Tipton, Staffs.
William Corfield (28, Coal Miner - below, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (25, born Tipton), and their 2 children: Harold (3, born Tipton), and William Henry (1 month, born Tipton).

1911 Census
102 Gospel Oak Road, Tipton, Staffs.
William Corfield (38, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (35, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Bernard (13, School, born Tipton), William Henry (10, School, born Tipton), Olive (6, School, born Tipton), and Leslie (1, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Cousin of Howard Newey Corfield (their fathers were brothers).

Action resulting in his death

The 1st North Midland Brigade Royal Field Artillery was a pre-war 1st line Territorial Force consisting of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Lincolnshire Batteries, and was attached to 46th (North Midlands) Division throughout the war. The 1st North Midland Brigade was re-designated as 'A', 'B' and 'C' Companies of 230 Battery on May 13th 1916. The 3rd Lincolnshire Battery was generally recruited from the Louth area, and became 'C' Battery. Harold Corfield was a member of 'C' Battery, but may well have been transferred from 3rd North Midland Brigade, also 46th Division, at some stage as this contained the 4th, 5th & 6th Staffordshire Batteries.

It is not known when Corfield received the wounds from which he died. The 46th Division had been heavilly involved it the attack on Lievin on 1st July 1917, but if wounded here would likely to have been evacuated further down the medical evacuation chain towards base hospitals. The 46th Division were again heavilly involved in the Battle of Hill 70 (15th-25th August) but Corfield had died before then. It is therefore likely that he received his wounds sometime between the two events, in the lead up to the Battle of Hill 70 (Lens).

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald November 25th 1916
At the Council Office, Coseley, on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Allen Stokes held an inquest concerning the death of a coal miner named William Corfield (43) of 74 Toll End Road, Tipton, while working at Mr W. Elwell's No. 3 Pit Gospel Oak Colliery, Bradley, on Monday. After the accident, the deceased's body was brought to the surface and removed to the Coseley mortuary by the police.
Mr. Felton, H.M. Government Inspector of Mines, was present.
A brother of the deceased named Job Corfield stated that on Monday, shortly before noon, he was at work in the pit when he was told that the deceased had been overwhelmed by a fall in another part of the workings. The witness reinforced the gang nearest to the scene of the accident, and was on the bank when the body was brought out at four o'clock in the afternoon.
John Bladen stated that the removal of a piece of coal was followed by a failure of the "gob". The witness himself had nearly reached the boat-hole, but was almost overwhelmed, being dragged from the debris in a state of collapse. The deceased shouted twice, but he succumbed before the men could reach him.
Mr. William Elwell stated that he had examined the place during the morning. The roof seemed as hard as iron, and the "gob" to be quite firm.
The Coroner said it was one of those unfortunate happenings in a coal pit which were very distressing, but which could not be avoided, and for which no one was to blame.
The jury, in returning a verdict of "Accidental death," expressed their sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.

Tipton Herald September 15th 1917
Official news has been received of the death from wounds "somewhere in France" of Harold Bernard Corfield, R.F.A., aged 20 years, after serving one years and seven months in France. He was home on leave in December last, after the sad death of his father (Mr William Corfield, Ocker Hill, Tipton), who was killed in the mine at Gospel Oak Colliery.
The gallant young gunner was educated ot Ocker Hill Council Schools, being one of the first scholars to attend at the opening of the school. He was a Wesleyan Sunday School scholar and worker at the time he enlisted.
Much sympathy has been extended to his bereaved mother, sister, and two younger brothers, who are well known and respected in Tipton and adjoining districts.

Tipton Herald July 20th 1918
On Sunday afternoon in the Wesleyan Sunday School, Ocker Hill, Mr H Harrison unveiled a photograph which he had presented, of his late nephew, which was inscribed as follows:- " Presented to the Wesleyan Sunday School by Henry Harrison, uncle of the above, in memory of Gunner Harold Bernard Corfield, who died of wounds received in action, August 11th 1917."
Mr Harrison remarked that Gunner Harold Bernard Corfield joined His Majesty's forces in May 1915, went to France in the following November, and came home on sick leave three weeks after his father had been killed in the mine at Gospel Oak. He returned to France on 19th December, and on August 11th 1917 he died from wounds received from a shell which fell in the gun pit where he was. Mr Harrison subsequently met with a comrade who was with him at the time, who informed him that his last words were "leave me alone, go and get the other boys out." So they saw, up to his last moments his thoughts were for those who were fighting by his side. Their prayers would go out to his mother and family in their great sorrow. Those who looked on that photograph from time to time, would say how he died a hero's death for his King and Country, and he hoped the children would view the photograph with reverence and love, for the sake of those who had helped fight their battles, not forgetting the other boys who had made the supreme sacrifice. They also prayed to God that there would be a speedy cessation of this carnage, and that universal peace would reign.
Mr Ellis accepted the photo on behalf of the trustees and officials of the Sunday School.
Mr Johnson (Secretary) in paying a eulogistic tribute to the services rendered by Gunner Corfield as his assistant, remarked that he was of a retiring disposition but was a willing and dependable colleague. His last utterances were characteristic of his whole life.