Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

Portrait of VC sailor rededicated

Salisbury's portrait of Boy Cornwell in the Battle of Jutland
The young sailor died from his wounds two days after the battle

A portrait of a 16-year-old sailor killed during WWI has been rededicated at HMS Raleigh, the Royal Navy's training base in Cornwall.

Salisbury's painting depicts John "Jack" Cornwell at his gun post on HMS Chester during the Battle of Jutland.

The rating, who joined the Royal Navy in 1915, was mortally wounded in the battle and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

The service at HMS Raleigh was held to mark the restoration of the portrait.

Born in Leyton, Essex, Cornwell tried to enlist at the outbreak of WWI, but was rejected because of his age.

Sole survivor

He joined up the following year without his father's permission and travelled to Plymouth for his basic training. After further training as a sight setter, he was assigned to the light cruiser, HMS Chester.

During the Battle of Jutland on 31 May, 1916 the ship came under heavy fire.

After the action, Cornwell was found to be sole survivor at his gun, shards of steel penetrating his chest, looking at the gun sights and still waiting for orders.

He was transferred to Grimsby General Hospital, where he died two days later.

Cornwell's mother received her son's Victoria Cross from King George V at Buckingham Palace in November 1916.

Court painter Salisbury used Cornwell's brother as a model to depict him at his gun post on HMS Chester.

The portrait hangs in St Paul's Church at HMS Raleigh and the rededication ceremony was organised to coincide with the passing out parade of 50 members of Cornwell Division.



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