- Arras Flying Services Memorial
- Paneel: 986
Onderscheidingen en medailles
William Oliver Cornish was born in Richmond, Surrey in 1896. He was the son of Oliver Cornish, a professional gambler, and Emily Louisa Beeney. Willam had a sister, Isabel. And as his father remarried, he also had three half-sisters and four half-brothers.
William got his wings during the War and served in the 32nd Squadron, of the Royal Flying Corps. From the 8th of July 1917 onward, William’s Squadron flew from the aerodrome Droglandt, on the French-Belgian border, between the French village of Winnezeele and the Belgian village of Watou.
On 20 September 1917 the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge opened, as the British tried to break through the Wilhelm-stellung and capture the Gheluvelt plateau. More artillery was brought into the salient, and the number of aircraft were increased to support the attack.
On the 20th, William flew an offensive patrol in his DH.5, number A9179. Troops on the ground noticed him in a dogfight, southeast of St Julien. His aeroplane took a direct hit and came down. Leutnant Hans Adam, of Jasta 6 (Preussen), which was based in Bissegem, claimed the victory. Not even two months later, Hans Adam, 31 and a father of two, was also killed.
A total of 28 planes were lost on the 20th of September 1917. N° 32 Squadron lost three aircraft. The DH.5. of 2nd Lieutenant Townsend was hit in the fuel tank and came down near Hooge, within the British lines. He was injured and evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station. Lieutenant Arthur Claydon, a Canadian from Winnipeg, Manitoba, took a hit in his engine, while flying in an offensive patrol, northeast of Ypres. His plane was destroyed in the crash, but Lt Claydon remained unharmed.
2nd Lt William Oliver Cornish, only 21, was killed in action on 20 September 1917. His plane crashed after a dogfight southeast of St Julien. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.