The Knight Family

Courtesy of the RH7 History Group, as part of their First World War exhibitions from 2014-2018

Written by Janet Bateson and Sue Quelch

Sergeant William Knight was born in Altar Cottages Crowhurst in 1888.  William was the third child, second son, of William and Mary Jane Knight.  In 1906, when he was aged 18, William enlisted as a Regular soldier in the 2nd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (H.L.I.) at a recruiting office in East Grinstead.

On 9 August 1914 the Battalion was inspected by […] the King and Queen.  Early on 13 August they left Aldershot and embarked the same day at Southampton, part of the British Expeditionary Force,  They landed at Boulogne on 14 August.  The battalion was engaged in various actions on the Western Front: the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, the Battle of the Marne and the Battle of the Aisne, where Sergeant Knight was killed.

William Knight was [Lingfield’s] first local casualty; he was killed in action at Veneuil on 20 September 1914, aged 27.  He has no known grave, but his name is engraved on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.  William’s younger brother, Private Alfred Charles Knight, enlisted in 10th Battalion, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.  He died on 6 August 1917, aged 23 in the Third Battle of Ypres (today, generally known as Passchendaele).  He has no known grave; his name is engraved on the Menin Gate Memorial (Ypres).  The battle was launched on 31 July and continued until the fall of the village of Passchendaele on 6 November.

William and Alfred’s cousin, Fred Knight, survived the war.  He lived at 20 Saxbys Lane, Lingfield.  Fred enlisted in the Army Service Corps (ASC), the unit responsible for keeping the British Army supplied with provisions; it did not receive the Royal prefix until late 1918).  Corporal Fred Knight survived the war and remained with the ASC until 1921.  His last posting was in Norwich where he met a local girl.  They married and made their family home in Norwich.  Fred died in March 1967.

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