LANCE SERJEANT JORGEN KORNERUP BANG
10TH SEPTEMBER 1916 AGE 30
BURIED: BERTRANCOURT MILITARY CEMETERY, SOMME, FRANCE
Jorgen Kornerop-Bang was a Dane, a master builder from Silkeborg in Northern Jutland, a Danish national athlete, the winner of fourteen Danish decathlon championships, the holder of nine Danish javelin records who died as a Lance Serjeant in the British army.
Denmark was neutral in the First World War, a position she maintained with some difficulty. Mindful of Belgium's fate, she was keen not to give Germany any reason to invade across her southern frontier from Schleswig-Holstein. But many Danes still felt a residual hostility towards Germany over her occupation of these two provinces. Denmark mobilized her reserves, 50,000 men, to defend her borders. Germany called up the young men of Schleswig-Holstein to fight for the Fatherland. A small number of Danes, it's estimated to be in the region of about 85, joined the French army. It's not known how many joined the British but Jorgen Kornerop-Bang must have been one of them.
He served with the 17th Battalion the Royal Fusiliers, the City of London Regiment, who made use of his javelin skills by putting him in charge of grenade throwing. Unfortunately he was killed when a grenade exploded prematurely.
Kornerop-Bang's inscription is in Danish. It means, 'Loved and missed by mother and siblings'. It is said that one of his brothers, Johannes, also served in the British army and died at Verdun on 12 October 1918. However, none of Jorgen's siblings were called Johannes, there isn't a Johannes Kornorop-Bang in the War Graves Commission registers and if there were he wouldn't have died at Verdun since that is the one place where the French always fought on their own. It's possible that Johannes was a cousin, one of the 85 Danes who volunteered to fight in the French army.