Mexborough and Swinton Times December 22, 1917
On Tuesday, at the Denaby Main Picture Palace, the presentation of a Military Medal, along with a gold watch and an illuminated address, was made to Lance Corporal, William Corney, of the York and Lancaster Regiment.
The recipient, who lives at 86, Tickhill Street, Denaby Main, distinguished himself during a bombing attack on the night of October 2, 1916 at Le Sars, France. His Lewis gun being put out of action by a bomb, he immediately passed it down to his mates in the trench’ for repairs, and then bombed the enemy from the parapet. The enemy retreated, and he continued flinging bombs until his supply was emhausted.
Mr. H. Watson Smith, manager of the Denaby Main Colliery, presided. He said Corney was the fifth hero they had honoured at Denaby. He hoped the enthusiasm of the public, as these brave lads came before them one after another to receive recognition, would increase. It was the least they could do to be present in large numbers to show the Denaby soldiers how highly they valued their bravery in France and elsewhere. He understood that Corney and others had won a trench of about 300 yards, and that out of the whole company thirty were left to guard ft. While the Germans were making a counter attack Corney earned his distinction. The conditions under which he was working at the time were certainly not of the best; and the Germans would have overpowered the garrison if not for the pluck of Corney. He used his Lewis gun to such good purpose and then all the bombs in his possession, that the Huns turned and fled, with Corny and others in pursuit. They at Denaby Main honoured him for his gallantry. (Cheers.)
Mr. W. H. Chambers, manage director of the Denaby and Cadehdy Colliery, in making the presentation, said he felt it to be a great privilege to do so. Corney had well deserved recognition by the King for his heroism against great odds. The brother did not adequately recognise what these brave lads are doing for them against an unscrupulous foe. It made one shudder to think what our brave fellows had to go through. Yet the soldiers kept cheerful and courageous. But what did they find when they came home. Plenty of “grousing” because of a little inconvenience in the shortage of some provisions. They complained because they are not more sugar and butter and tea. (Laughter.)
Why surely they were very well off indeed compared with what the lads at the Front had to put up with. They should think of this by comparison, and be more patient and reasonable. Those who grumble now would find more real discomfort was awaiting them. At present we were in an infinitely better position than the civilised population of Germany.
Amid much cheering, Mr Chambers then fastened the Military Medal on the breast of Corney, and handed him the gold watch and illuminated address.
The cheering was renewed as Corney modestly returned thanks.
Mr Worsley, secretary of the Testimonial Committee, in seconding, said 2000 lads had gone to the war from Denaby, and 14 had so far distinguished themselves.
These were: Second Lt G Wheeliker, Sgt H Humphries, Sgt J Keywood, Lance Corporal W Corney, Private F Atkin, Private L Wren, Bombardier G Worth, Private A Davey, Private J Darby, Private Sam Wright, Cpl J llingworth, Seaman Walker, Private Butcher, and Private P Magnall
He thought they ought to be justly proud of such a list.