William Henry Corbett jr

This page sets out the key events of William Henry Corbett’s life, with detailed references. See the bottom of the page for automatically generated links to blog posts which refer to this page. The fact that his initials appear on the original roll as H W suggest he was known as Henry, the fact his name was the same as that of his father does lead to difficulties in determining which references are to the father and which to the son. William H Corbett is often listed as ringing at Ashtead, and context (such as the age of the son), and the fact he conducted some of the ringing suggests that this is usually the father (see the page on George Albert Cook for details of these. There are also a few references to Henry Corbett, which may well be the son, but to confuse matters further there were other Corbetts in the village, including a Fred Corbett who was killed in the war, and whose father was called Henry.

Personal life

Born: 4 August 1897 At: Ashtead
Birth registered: 3rd quarter 1897 Epsom Registration District
Died: Before 31 January 1985 At: Unknown
Death registered: January 1985 Surrey Mid Eastern Registration District
Buried: Unknown
Aged: 87


Learnt to ring: Ashtead Association membership: Surrey Association Elected: ?


Occupation (On enlistment): Gardener Domestic

War service

Service: Number: Enlisted: Discharged:
Royal Marine Artillery 14846 On 17 December 1915
Royal Marines CH/23914 Transferred 22 June 1923 On 16 December 1927
Unit: Location: Rank: Date:
Q Company, Royal Marine Artillery Supernumerary (for training) Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth? Private 17 December 1915
O Company, Royal Marine Artillery Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth? Gunner, 2nd Class 18 January 1917
O Company, Royal Marine Artillery Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth? Gunner 21 April 1917
HMS Achilles Home Fleet, and North America & West Indies Station Gunner 26 June 1917
O Company, Royal Marine Artillery Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth? Gunner 1 February 1919
3rd Royal Marine Battalion Moudros and Constantinople Gunner 4 April 1919
O Company, Royal Marine Artillery Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth? Gunner 15 November 1919
HMS Warspite Mediterranean Fleet Gunner 1 January 1920
HMS Warspite Mediterranean Fleet Marine 22 June 1923
A Company, Chatham Division Chatham Marine 13 May 1924
HMS Repulse Mediterranean Fleet Marine 31 December 1924
A Company, Chatham Division Chatham Marine 26 January 1926
HMS Ramillies Mediterranean Fleet Marine 15 February 1927
A Company, Chatham Division Chatham Marine 10 September 1927
Campaign medals: British War Medal and Victory Medal

Life events

Date Modifier Date Event Description/Notes Sources
On 26 September 1896 Parents’ marriage William Henry Corbett (23) and Elizabeth Mary Barnes (24) married at Ashtead on 26 September 1896. The marriage was registered 3rd quarter 1896, Epsom Registration District. William was a gardener and living at The Street, Ashtead, his father Henry was a labourer. Elizabeth’s father was the park keeper and they lived at King William’s Gate Cottages. FreeBMD1; FreeBMD2; SurreyParish1
On 4 August 1897 Birth William Henry Corbett, registered 3rd quarter 1897, Epsom Registration District. He gave his precise date of birth on enlistment (and it is consistent with the registration). The date is also given on his baptismal record, he was baptised at Ashtead on 5 September 1897. His father was described as a gardener, and the family were living at Rectory Lane. FreeBMD3; ServiceRec1
On 31 March 1901 Census William Henry Corbett aged 3, residing Rectory Lane with parents William H (28), gardener domestic, and Elizabeth M (29); and lodger Herbert E Harris (15) groom domestic, born Knothill, Carlisle. Census1901
On 2 April 1911 Census William Henry Corbett aged 13, school, residing Howard House Cottages with parents William (38), gardener domestic, and Elizabeth Mary (39), married 14 years one child Census1911
On 17 December 1915 Enlistment Corbett enlisted in the Royal Marine Artillery in London, he joined as a regular for a standard 12-year term, rather than only joining for the duration of the war. He was then trained, probably at Eastney Barracks at Portsmouth, which was the home of the RMA. He was part of Q Company, Royal Marine Artillery Supernumerary. He initially held the rank of private. On his enlistment he was stated to be 5’8″ tall, fresh complexion, brown eyes and brown hair, no distinguishing marks. Next of kin, his father William Henry at Howard House Cottage, Rectory Lane, Ashtead ServiceRec1
On 18 January 1917 Re-rated and posted Corbett was re-rated as Gunner, 2nd Class and posted to O Company, Royal Marine Artillery – probably still at Eastney barracks. ServiceRec1
On 21 April 1917 Re-rated Corbett’s rating was upgraded to Gunner. ServiceRec1
On 26 June 1917 Posted Corbett was posted to HMS Achilles. She was an armoured cruiser attached to the 5th Cruiser Squadron, part of the Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow. She had achieved some fame in March 1917 after sinking a disguised German auxiliary cruiser Leopard. ServiceRec1; Achilles
In August 1917 Station change HMS Achilles was transferred to the North America and West Indies Station for convoy escort duties Achilles
In February – December 1918 Refit HMS Achilles was returned to the UK for a refit. Although she was not active at this time, Corbett was retained on her books. ServiceRec1; Achilles
On 1 February 1919 Posted Following her refit, HMS Achilles became a training ship for stokers. Corbett was posted back to the Royal Marine Artillery base at Eastney. ServiceRec1; Achilles
On 4 April 1919 Posted Corbett was posted to 3rd Royal Marine Battalion at Moudros, on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean. The town and harbour had been used as a base during the Gallipoli Campaign, and it was their that the armistice with the Ottoman Empire had been signed on 30 October 1918. It then remained an important base as occupation forces moved into Turkey. It was the base of Royal Marine Garrison, Aegean. He left by ship from Southampton. ServiceRec1; Moudros
On 21 April 1919 Taken on Strength Corbett arrived at Moudros and was taken on the strength of the garrison ServiceRec1; Moudros
On 9 May 1919 Transfer Corbett was transferred to the occupation force in Constantinople ServiceRec1
On 4 August 1919 Peal The Ringing World records Harry W Corbett ringing the second in a peal of Grandsire Triples at Ashtead. However his service record indicates he was in Constantinople at the time! It’s the only time the name has been found in that configuration in the ringing press, and it matches the order given for his initials in the original roll. ServiceRec1
On 12 August 1919 Hospital Admission Corbett was admitted to hospital in the Bosphorous with synovitis of the right knee. He was initially examined at 86 Field Ambulance, and then transferred to 82 General Hospital on the same day ServiceRec1
On 15 August 1919 Hospital Admission Corbett was discharged from hospital ServiceRec1
On 3 November 1919 Posted Corbett was posted back to the UK ServiceRec1
On 15 November 1919 Arrival Corbett returned to Eastney Barracks ServiceRec1
On 1 January 1920 Posted Corbett was posted to the battleship HMS Warspite, she had just joined the Mediterranean fleet after a refit. ServiceRec1; ServiceRec2; Warspite
On 22 June 1923 Re-rated On 22 June 1923 the Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Marine Light Infantry were merged into the single Corps of Royal Marines. Gunners of the RMA like Corbett now took the title Marine (as did those formerly Privates in the RMLI). ServiceRec2
On 22 June 1923 Re-based The re-organisation of the Royal Marines also lead to Corbett being rebased, he would now be part of A Company, Chatham Division, so would return there rather than Eastney between ships or other postings. ServiceRec2
On 13 May 1924 Posted Corbett left Warspite and returned ashore, now based at Chatham. ServiceRec2
On 13 May 1924 Posted Corbett left Warspite and returned ashore, now based at Chatham. ServiceRec2
On 31 December 1924? Posted Corbett was embarked aboard the battlecruiser HMS Repulse, just returned from a round the world cruise in September 1924. Repulse was attached to the battlecruiser squadron of the Mediterranean fleet, having had new anti-aircraft armament fitted, she sailed for the Med in early 1925, on the way representing the Royal Navy in Lisbon at celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the death of Vasco de Gama, before joining exercises. From March to October 1925 she carried the Prince of Wales on a tour to South Africa, and in November 1925 returned home for refit. ServiceRec2; Repulse
On 26 January 1926 Posted Corbett was posted back ashore (presumably since Repulse was still undergoing refit), and returned to Chatham. ServiceRec2; Repulse
On 15 February 1927 Posted Corbett was embarked aboard the battleship HMS Ramillies for his final period of sea service. She was also part of the Mediterranean Fleet. ServiceRec2; Repulse
On 10 September 1927 Posted Corbett returned to Chatham for the final time. ServiceRec2; Ramillies
On 16 December 1927 Discharged Corbett was discharged from the Royal Marines having completed his 12 year enlistment He never rose above the rank of marine, although his conduct was always rated Very Good and his ability Satisfactory. He had been awarded his first Good Conduct Badge after 2 years’ service, and his second after 8. It appears he indicated his address would be, Howard Lodge, Rectory Lane, Ashtead. His physical description on discharge was that he was 5’9.5″ tall (1.5″ taller than on enlistment), with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes (rather the brown stated when he joined up) and brown hair. He had no distinguishing marks. ServiceRec2
On 4 June 1948 Death of father According to the Probate Calendar for England and Wales, William Henry Corbett (senior) died on 4 June 1948. He was living at 28 Rectory lane, Ashtead at the time of his death. Administration of his estate was granted to William Henry (junior), described as a domestic gardener on 23 July 1948. The estate amounted to £639 13s 6d. Probate
Before 31 January 1985 Death His death was registered in January 1985, the date of birth in the registration matches that shown on his Royal Marines service record. AncestryDeaths


Local history

  1. AshteadWM: “Ashtead War Memorials – The Reddick Brothers” from Ashtead War Memorials, Leatherhead and District Local History Society


  1. FreeBMD1: Marriages Sep 1896 – Corbett William Henry
  2. FreeBMD2: Marriages Sep 1896 – Barnes Elizabeth Mary
  3. FreeBMD3: Births Sep 1897 – Corbett William Henry

Death indices, Ancestry.co.uk

  1. AncestryDeaths: Deaths January 1985 – Corbett William Henry, born 4 August 1897. Surrey Mid Eastern, Volume 17 Page 27. (Subscription required)

Surrey Parish Records

  1. SurreyParish1: Marriage of William Henry Corbett and Elizabeth Mary Barnes, 26 September 1896, Ashtead. (subscription required)
  2. SurreyParish2: Baptism of William Henry Corbett, 26 September 1896, Ashtead. (subscription required)


  1. Census1901: RG 13/582 Folio 14 Page 20 Schedule Number 107 – Corbett household, Rectory Lane, Ashtead
  2. Census1911: RG 14/2948 RG 78/102 Registration District 31 Subdistrict 2 Enumeration District 1 Schedule Number 150 – Corbett household, Howard House Cottages, Ashtead

National Probate Calendar, England and Wales

  1. Probate: William Henry Corbett, died 4 June 1948, administration 23 July 1948. (Subscription required)

The Ringing World

  1. RW1: 29 August 1919, p359

Military records

  1. ServiceRec1: ADM 159/90/2 Corbett, William Henry Register Number: 14846 Division: Royal Marine Artillery
  2. ServiceRec2: ADM 159/140/278 Corbett, William Henry Register Number: 23914 Division: Royal Marine Light Infantry: Chatham Division


  1. Achilles: HMS Achilles (1905) on Wikipedia
  2. Warspite: HMS Warspite (1905) on Wikipedia
  3. Repulse: HMS Repulse (1905) on Wikipedia
  4. Ramillies: HMS Ramillies (1905) on Wikipedia
  5. Moudros: Moudros on Wikipedia

1 thought on “William Henry Corbett jr

  1. Pingback: William Henry Corbett jr – the first non-army man | halfmuffled

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