Pictures

Private John Bernard Corless

John Bernard Corless with his father and brother after the war

John Bernard Corless with his parents and brother after the war

John Bernard Corless at his brother's wedding

John Bernard Corless during teacher training

Private John Bernard Corless

 

Unit : No.17 Platoon, "C" Company, 1st Battalion The Border Regiment

Army No. : 3606890

Awards : Military Medal

 

Private Corless was enlisted in the Border Regiment on the 3rd September 1941. Wounded at Arnhem and taken prisoner, he made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to escape, for which he was awarded the Military Medal:

 

The day following his capture at Arnhem on the 18th September 1944, Corless escaped to his own company after killing his guard during the confusion created by an Allied counter-attack. On the 20th September he was wounded and taken to the Regimental Aid Post. Whilst he was still receiving treatment, Germans overran the hospital and evacuated all patients to Arnhem. Although Corless escaped the same night, he was recaptured when he collapsed from loss of blood.

 

On the 24th September, Corless was entrained for Germany and in spite of his previous failure he jumped from the train near {unreadable}. For two months he was hidden by members of the Dutch Underground but was caught by the Germans whilst participating in an attempt to cross the Rhine.

 

For the second time Corless found himself in a train bound for Germany. The occupants of his truck cut the ventilation wires and four escaped here. The guard discovered their departure, Corless was to have been the fifth man to jump.

 

Throughout the remainder of his captivity, Corless made plans to escape, none of which materialised. When the Germans were evacuating personnel from {unreadable} in the face of the Allied advance the column was overrun by an {unreadable} unit.

 

 

The following newspaper articles features Private Corless:

 

Missing at Arnhem

Private John Bernard Corless. Border Regt., (Airborne), son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Corless, of 58, Willow-road, Beech Hill, has been posted missing at Arnhem, and is known to be wounded. Writing to Private Corless's father, the Company Commander states that a mortar bomb fell near to Private Corless, who suffered a bit from blast, but was never very serious. The writer sent him back to receive medical attention, but the hospital was captured by the Germans. The Company Commander felt there was no great cause for worry, as he felt certain that Private Corless would be all right. "I was proud indeed to have men like your son with me; he fought magnificently," he added. Private Corless, whose twenty-second birthday fell on Wednesday this week, was employed at the Wigan Corporation Electricity Works before he joined the Forces three years ago. He also served in the operations in Sicily and Italy.

 

A Wigan Soldier's Many Escapes - Finally Release by Americans

Private J.B. Corless, Border Regiment (Airborne), of 58, Willow-road, Beech Hill, who was posted missing, and then a prisoner, after the Airborne landing in Arnhem last year, is now home for six weeks' leave, having been released by the American First Army from Oflag 12B at the end of last month. In September last year he was taken prisoner by the Germans, but jumped off the train which was to take him to a prison camp. He contacted Dutch underground resistance workers, and arrangements were made to ferry him over the Rhine. Unfortunately on the night the crossing was to be made he was captured once more by the Germans, at midnight, on the banks of the river, and taken to Ede, a small town north of the Rhine. After a stay of four days he was taken to a Stalag at Enschelde, on the German-Dutch border. He escaped from this camp during a mass break, but was re-captured by the Germans, and sent to Limberg by train. However, he managed to jump from the train once more, but was again captured, and this time the Germans transported him to Oflag 12B, at Limberg. As the Americans advanced the Germans attempted to evacuate the prisoners, but through lack of transport they were unable to do so, and consequently when the Americans arrived the Germans gave up their arms, and the prisoners were liberated. Dakota aircraft were used to fly the prisoners home to this country for well-deserved leave.

 

Released by Americans

Private J.B. Corless, Border Regiment (Airborne), of 58, Willow-road, Beech Hill, who was posted missing, and then a prisoner, after the Airborne landing in Arnhem last year, is now home for six weeks leave, having been released by the American First Army from Oflag 12B at the end of last month. His trouble started on 22nd September last year, when he was taken prisoner by the Germans, but jumped off the train which was to take him to a prison camp. He contacted Dutch underground resistance workers, and arrangements were made to ferry him over the Rhine. Unfortunately on the night the crossing was to be made, he was captured once more by the Germans, at midnight, on the banks of the river, and taken to Ede, a small town north of the Rhine. This was a transit camp for prisoners, and after a stay of four days, he was taken to a Stalag at Enschelde on the German-Dutch border. He escaped from this camp during a mass break, but was re-captured by the Germans, and sent to Limberg by train. However, he managed to jump from the train once more, but was again captured, and this time the Germans succeeded in transporting him to Oflag 12B at Limberg. The Hon. Edward Warde, the B.B.C. war correspondent who spoke of his experiences as a prisoner of war at that camp, was there at the same time. As the Americans advanced the [line missing] prisoners, but through lack of transport they were unable to do so and consequently, when the Americans actually did arrive, the Germans gave up their arms, and the prisoners were liberated. Dakota aircraft were used to fly the prisoners home to this country for well deserved leave. Regarding the food received, Private Corless said the Stalag food was pretty awful but Red Cross parcels, and better food was given to them at the Oflag camp. Private Corless is twenty three years of age, and prior to his enlistment in 1941 was employed by the Wigan Electricity Department.

 

Awarded Military Medal

The "London Gazette" announces that Pte. J.B. Corless, 1st Airborne Division, of 58, Willow Road Beech Hill, has been awarded the Military Medal. Pte. Corless took part in the epic battle of Arnhem and was landed by glider, was taken prisoner on September 22 last year but jumped off a train that was taking him to a prison camp. For five weeks he was looked after by the Dutch underground movement. He was again taken prisoner and after making two further escapes was finally taken to Oflag 12B.

 

Arnhem Re-visited

Having fought at Arnhem, where he won the Military Medal, Mr. J.B. Corless or Willow-road, Beech Hill, a former private in the Border Regiment, left on Sunday on the pilgrimage to Arnhem organised by the Airborne Forces Security Fund. The object of the pilgrimage is to visit Airborne Cemeteries at Oosterbeek and Arnhem, and for a limited number of serving and demobilised soldiers to renew their friendship with the Dutch people whom they met during the Battle of Arnhem. Mr. Corless was chosen by ballot and the pilgrimage which commenced on Sunday concludes this Saturday.

 

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