About Cornelius Townsend
Cornelius (Jack) was born in Fremantle, in 1881, to William and Edith Townsend. He was the second of six children born to the couple. He attended the Fremantle Christian Brothers College. The family moved north to Geraldton and Cornelius served for 12 months in the senior cadets and trained as a carpenter.
In 1908 Jack’s father died in Geraldton. Edith had many relatives in Broome, so after the death of her husband she moved to Broome. Jack went with the family and worked on the luggers as a shell opener.
After enlisting at Broome, Jack travelled to Perth to complete his enlistment. He was posted to the 11th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcements, which embarked from Fremantle per the HMAT Itonus A50 on the 22nd February 1915. The unit landed at the Dardanelles on the 7th May 1915. Jack was wounded in action in July when he was shot in the shoulder and thigh. After a period of convalescence he rejoined his unit in Gallipoli where he remained until the general evacuation in December 1915. By March the unit had been sent to the Western Front, and throughout June, the 11th Battalion was placed in support of the front as it was brought back up to strength. On the night of the 25th July the battalion was involved in attacks around the Somme, and was faced with heavy shelling from German artillery. Cornelius became missing in action on the 29th July 11916, and after a court of enquiry he was declared killed in action. His remains were never found but he is commemorated on the Villers-Bretoneux Memorial.