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John Henry Tait Corlett: Sunday 19th December 1915

John belonged to “C” Company, Queen’s Westminster Rifles where he became a Sergeant with a service no. of 1465.  He was killed in action age 23 on 19 December 1915 and is buried at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, which is within the town of Ypres.

John was one of four children of Arthur William Corlett of 16 Loxley Road, a tailor’s foreman from the Isle of Man and Ephemia, who was born in Scotland.  Both John (born 1892) and his brother Arthur, 2 years younger, were born in Balham.  They also had an older sister Winifred born (born 1889) and a sibling who did not survive.  John was baptised at St Mary’s Balham on 16 September 1894.  The family were living in Boundaries Road, in 1901.  Prior to the war, John was a woollen warehouse apprentice and Arthur a tailor’s apprentice.

Families were allowed to add a personal inscription to the standard war grave headstone.  They were charged 1d per letter to do so.  In John’s grave inscription reads “Life and death go hand in hand ‘tis but a step one to the other”.  This message would have been a considerable expense at the time and beyond the reach of many families.  For new war graves, families are no longer charged, which account for the increased proportion of messages on new graves such as those in the new cemetery Fromelles.