Wednesday, March 11, 2015
J. O. Cornes
Cornes is known to have contributed to Wizard when it was a text story paper, his earliest story possibly being 'The Line of the Fox' (1953-54), about the Alverton Hunt, although authorship of this series is uncertain. Cornes was definitely behind 'Tales of Lonely Wood', a series of stories about the woodland animals, that appeared in 1954 and was later reprinted in Rover in 1966. At the same time, he was also writing 'Sergeant Blake of the Iron Fists', narrated by Mike Selby, a trooper with the Royal Tank Regiment, about his exploits with the mysterious Sergeant Blake. The original series of 13 stories was quickly followed with two further series in 1954-55: 'Sergeant Blake of the Iron Fists' (8 stories) and 'The Ironfist Stories' (13 stories). 'Dreadnought of the Desert' (10 stories) followed in 1957.
Cornes also filled-in as a writer on 'The Wolf of Kabul' (1955). Lonely Wood was revisited in 1955 and more animal tales appeared courtesy of 'Black Flash', a polecat. 'Red Lion of the Fens' (1956) was set in Norfolk, whilst 'The Boyhood of Davey Crockett' (1957) was set in the wild lands of the American frontier. Cornes may have also been responsible for a similar series of boyhood tales of 'Buffalo Bill' (1958), but that remains unconfirmed. He did, however, pen a series of true stories about 'Famous Men of the West' (1958-59).
This extensive writing CV in Wizard was probably equalled in other Thomson papers, although the only other credit I have been able to track down is Sky of Flame (Commando 597, November 1971), drawn by Jose Maria Jorge. There is every chance that Cornes wrote stories for other Thomson comics, Hotspur and Victor being likely suspects.
Official records offer little else. I believe Cornes was married in 1941 in Croydon, Surrey, to Enid B. Wade and twin daughters may have been born later that year (Angela M. Cornes and Deborah A. Cornes). After the war, Cornes lived at The Cottage, Redgrave, Botesdale, Suffolk. The family grew with the births of Martin J. D. Cornes (1950), Catherine H. Cornes (1951), Felicity J. Cornes (1954), Hilary V. Cornes (1955), Virginia C. Cornes (1957) and Paul W. G. Cornes (1959).
In January 1958, Cornes became a Lieutenant in Suffolk regiment of the Territorial Army. Around the same time, he moved to Ling Farm, Low Road, Wortham, Suffolk. On 8 April 1960 (according to The London Gazette, 12 April 1960), James Oliver Cornes, author, appeared in court at Ipswich and was declared to be receiving orders under the bankruptcy act. He was released on 15 December 1960.
This is the last official record I have been able to find for him, although it would seem he continued writing for at least the next decade.