Lieutenant John Halsted Cortis
2nd Battalion (Duke of Edinburgh's) Wiltshire Regiment
Lieutenant Cortis was born on the 21st December 1894 at Worthing the son of Arthur B. and Lillian Rose Cortis, of the Holt, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. He was educated at Christ's Hospital School. After leaving school he took up a position as a bank clerk at the Hungerford Branch of the Capital and Counties Bank.
Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Public School Corps later transferring to the Officer Training Corps. He initially joined the 19th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers as a Private soldier (Number 225). Almost immediately he was discharged to a commission in the Wiltshire Regiment. His initial regimental training as carried out with the 3rd Battalion joining them in March 1915. On the 25th May 1915 he was sent to France where he joined the 2nd Battalion, a regular unit that had been in France from the outset. Officer casualties were high and young officers such as Lt Cortis were needed to fill the gaps. He was killed in action on the 15th June 1915, age 20. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial to the missing, Pas de Calais, France.
- The Regimental cap badge of the Wiltshire Regiment
War diary reads:
14th June 1915:
The Battalion proceeded to take up positions at Givenchy. 'C' and 'D' Companies left Windy Corner at 7.00 pm. 'A' and 'B' left at 9.00 pm. Trenches allotted J7 to J15, Supports Scottish trench and New Cuts.
15th June 1915:
During the day trenches were shelled and 'C' and 'D' companies suffred a few casualties. At 6.00 pm the Battalion commenced to attack the line 1 12, J14 and J13. As the attack advanced it was subjected to heavy frontal and enfiladed machine gun fire. There was only on Officer not hit in the two leading companies. At 9.00 pm the Regiment was occupying the old German Trench with 'C' and 'D' Companies in front of them, and the trench J7 to J 15.
During the operation 4 Officers, including 2nd Lieutenant J.H. Cortis (D Company) were killed, 5 were wounded, Ors Killed 25, Wounded 127 and missing 48.