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John Travers Cornwell (1900–1916) by unknown photographer The Imperial War Museum, London

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Cornwell, John Travers [Jack] (1900–1916), naval hero, was born on 8 January 1900, at Clyde Cottage, Clyde Place, Leyton, Essex, the son of Eli Cornwell (1852–1916), tram driver and soldier, originally from Newmarket, and his wife, Lily King (d. 1918). His siblings included at least two brothers (one of whom was killed in action in August 1918) and a sister. He was educated at ...

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John Crawford (1775–1831) by D. Orme, pubd 1797 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Crawford, John [Jack] (1775–1831), sailor and naval hero, was born on 22 March 1775 at a house on Thornhill Bank in the east end of Sunderland, co. Durham, the son of a keelman. At an early age Crawford also worked on the keelboats that carried coal on the ...

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Hannah Snell (1723–1792) by John Faber junior, 1750 (after Richard Phelps) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Snell, Hannah [alias James Gray] (1723–1792), sexual impostor, was born on 23 April 1723 in Friar Street, St Helen's, Worcester, the eighth of nine children of Samuel Snell, a hosier, and his wife, Mary Williams. Robert Walker's biography of Snell's life, first published in 1750, provides a clue to what might have shaped ...

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Mary Anne Talbot [John Taylor] (1778–1808) by G. Scott, pubd 1804 (after James Green) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Talbot, Mary Anne [alias John Taylor] (1778–1808), sailor and soldier, was born on 2 February 1778 at 62 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, the youngest of her mother's sixteen children. Mary Anne was purportedly the illegitimate daughter of William Talbot, the first earl of Talbot...