LIEUTENANT, ROYAL DEFENCE CORPS 151st PROTECTION COY.
Situated in the Consecrated/West Section of Jesmond Old Cemetery.
John was born in Gateshead in 1868, the eldest son of Michael and Annie. John had an older sister, Ida and three younger brothers, Edward, Tom and Leonard. The 1871 Census has the Corbitt family living at 3, Bloomfield Terrace, Gateshead, with the 1891 Census seeing them move to Underhill, Kells Lane. By the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved to Newcastle, with the records showing they lived at 7, Akenside Terrace and then the 1911 Census records showed that they were then living at 3, North Terrace, Newcastle. The records show that John worked as a ‘Manager of a Hemp and Wire Rope Manufacturer’ and ‘Land Agent/Estate Agent’ before the outbreak of the First World War.
On the outbreak of war, John joined the Durham Light Infantry before becoming a Lieutenant with the Northumberland Fusiliers and then, subsequently, the Royal Defence Corps. John is recorded as dying on 1st January 1917 at the Armstrong College Hospital, Newcastle, leaving behind his widow, May Corbitt.
A report in the Shields Daily News, dated 3rd January 1917, states that “Lieutenant Corbitt died at the 1st Northern General Hospital, Armstrong College at the age of 49 and that wide public sympathy will be extended to his Father, Michael Corbitt, the Senior Magistrate for Gateshead. Lt. Corbitt’s sudden death is attributed to a long devotion to his duties, involving great exposure.”
In the Newcastle Journal, dated 3rd January 1917, a report states that “prior to the outbreak of war he was a property agent in Newcastle, but he had been in active association with the Volunteer and Territorial movements since his ‘teens and when the war broke out he joined the Durham Light Infantry for active service. He subsequently took up a Lieutenancy with the Northumberland Fusiliers, and, under Major Grey became attached to the R.D.C. He was on duty until Sunday when, owing to haemorrhage, he had to be removed to the 1st Northern General Hospital, where he died on New Years Day from heart failure. Lieut. Corbitt’s sudden death is attributed to a long devotion to his duties, involving great exposure. He was very popular amongst his men, and they desired to accord military honours at his funeral, but the desire of Mr. Corbitt is for a quiet burial. The interment will be at Jesmond Cemetery today. Lieut. Corbitt’s home was with his father at the Hermitage, Old Durham Road, Gateshead, prior to the war, and recently at 57, Eldon Street, Newcastle.”