Thomas Charles Cornish was born in England in 1898, the youngest of three boys born to Phillip and Frances Cornish. A sister – Phyllis – was born two years later. When Thomas was a boy the family emigrated to Australia, settling in Orange.
It would seem that Thomas served in Gallipoli and Egypt, returning to Australia in February 1917 as medically unfit. On 23 February 1917 the Leader reported:
Returned from Egypt on Wednesday night, with his blushing honors thick upon him, Private Tom Cornish. He is suffering from illness and shell shock, consequent on the heavy fighting in the Peninsular and in Egypt. The young Orange soldier was present at the evacuation of Gallipoli, which he speaks of with bated breath. Two other members of the family are helping to keep up the reputation of Orange in the firing line at present.
Thomas’ name appears on the St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll, alongside those of his brothers Edmund and Walter, both of whom were killed in action.
In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte WC Cornish”; presumably Thomas. It was donated by TS Leahey. Very few of the trees are still standing today.