Cornford John

John Cornford

Rupert John Cornford 27th December 1915 and died on 28th December 1936 was an English poet and CPGB member. He was born in Cambridge and educated at Stowe School and Trinity College Cambridge. As an undergraduate, reading history, he joined the CPGB. He was two or three years younger than the group of Trinity College communists that included Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Kim Philby and James Klugmann. Someone else who would play a major part in his life, was fellow communist Margot Heinemann the future historian. They were lovers, and he addressed both poems and surviving letters to her.

From 1933 he was directly involved in Communist Party work, in London, and becoming close to Harry Pollitt. During the war in defence of the Spanish Republic he both recruited in Cambridge for the International Brigade, and fought himself: firstly though he was in Aragon in August 1936, with a POUM unit which he found politically trying. Returning home to Britain he returned to Spain in December. He was killed at Lopera, near Madrid. Although his poetic opus was relatively small, due primarily to his youth, certain poems strongly suggest he had the potential of poetic greatness.

John Corcoran

pic: John Cornford



John Cornford's nephew and a friend have set up a FaceBook page in his memory:

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