Private William Knowles

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

William Knowles was born in the 1st quarter of 1881 at Petersfield, Hampshire to general labourer Charles Knowles and Annie Harries.

William’s father Charles  was born in the 2nd quarter of 1850 in Buriton, Petersfield to carrier William, born about 1811 in Rogate, Sussex and Martha, born about 1811 in Emsworth, Hampshire. William’s mother Annie was born about 1854 in Stackpole, Pembrokeshire. William and Annie married in the 1st quarter of 1880 in Petersfield.

William  had seven siblings of whom five are known: Charles, born about 1882, Alfred born about 1884, Annie born about 1889, Agnes born about 1892 and Thomas Fredrick born about 1894, all in Betchworth, Surrey.

At the time of the 1881 Census, the family lived at Ship Street in Petersfield. Charles was working as a general labourer and Annie was looking after their son William.

At the time of the 1891 Census, the family lived at Gadbrook Lane in Betchworth, Surrey. Charles was working as a general labourer and Annie was looking after their children William, Charles, Alfred and Annie. The household also comprised of Charles´ nephew Thomas W. Preece.

William was educated at Betchworth Village School and as a lad he was employed by Mrs C. Harman. He was for many years under gardener at Morden Grange.

William’s father Charles died in the 2nd quarter of 1899 in Reigate, Surrey. He was buried on 21st April 1899 at St Michael’s in Betchworth. At the time of his death, he was living in Betchworth.

At the time of the 1901 Census, the widowed Annie lived with her children; gardeners William and Charles, Annie, Agnes, Thomas Fredrick and foster son Alfred Balcolm at Gadbrook Lane in Betchworth.

William married Mary Ann Dickens on 16th April 1906 at St Michael’s Church in Betchworth. At the time of the marriage William worked as a gardener and lived in Betchworth.

Mary Ann was born about 1881 in Binham, Norfolk to soldier Robert (born about 1834 in Binham) and Sarah (born about 1841 in Stamshaw, Portsmouth).

By the time of the 1911 Census, William and his wife Mary Ann moved to 14 High Street Upper Caterham in Surrey. The couple had a daughter Jessie born in the 3rd quarter of 1906 in Brockham. William was working as a cowman. The accommodation had four rooms. The family also had two lodgers, who also worked as cowmen.

At the time of the 1911 Census, William’s mother Annie lived at Oakdene Road in Brockham, with her son: groom Thomas. The accommodation had four rooms. Annie was stated to have given birth to eight children of whom five were still alive at the time of the Census.

William’s daughter, Jessie of Caterham, died at the age of six. She was buried on 30th November 1912 at St Michael’s in Betchworth.

At the time of his death, William was a member of the 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. His regimental number was 65361 and he was a private. William enlisted at Guildford, Surrey and at the time of enlistment lived at Caterham, Surrey.

His previous regiments were the East Kent Regiment, regimental number 17802, and the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, regimental number 65361.

William Knowles served in the Western Theatre of War. He was part of the East Kent Regiment from 8th December 1916 to 18th April 1917 and the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers from 19th April 1917 to 28th August 1917.

William was transferred to the 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers on 29th August 1917 and served there until his death on 18th October 1917.

William Knowles Tyne Cot Roll of Honour ©

William was killed in action on 18th October 1917 in Belgium. He is commemorated on panels 28 to 30 and 162 to 162A and 163A at Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium. William is also commemorated at Oddfellows Hall in Dorking, Surrey as a member of Loyal Duke of Edinburgh Lodge.

Mary Ann Knowles received £1, 15s and 11d on the 19th of February 1918 and £4 on the 13th of November 1919 in Soldier’s Effects. His mother Annie later lived at 37 Falkland Road in Dorking and his wife Mary Ann at 7 Old Gatwick Cottages in Horley, Surrey.

William Knowles was awarded the British and Victory medals.

The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser

1st December 1917

Mr. and Mrs. J. Dorsett of Adderbury, near Banbury, have been advised that their only son, Pte. W. Dorsett, Oxfordshire Light Infantry, was killed in action on October 16th. Mr. and Mrs. Dorsett are well known in Betchworth and district from their long residence at More Place. Pte. Dorsett who was 26 years of years, had only been in France for two months. Another equally well known young man, Pte. W. Knowles, gave his life in France for King and country on October 18th. Private Knowles was the son of the late Mr. Knowles of The Cottage, Gadbrook Lane. As a lad he was employed by the late Mrs. C. Harman and was for many years under gardener at Morden Grange. Both were educated at the Village School and the former was at one time in St. Michael’s Church Choir. At a special memorial service in St. Michael’s Church on Sunday afternoon the names of Privates Dorsett and Knowles were included with those of Corpl. John Church R. G. A., whose death was recorded a few months ago. The Vicar officiated and gave most sympathetic address. Psalms 39 and 130 were chanted to Purcell in F Minor, and the hymns sung with great feeling were “Through the night of doubt and sorrow.” “There is a land of pure delight” and “O God, our help in ages past” The lesson was Wisdom iii, 1-9 supplemented by portions of Rev. xxi and xxii. Before the service Mr. E. Pointer, the organist, played “Blest are the departed” (Sophr) and “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Handel), and at the conclusion the Dead March in “Saul”. Among the large congregation was Capt. G. du Buisson whose leg was shattered (since amputated) by shrapnel from the same shell that killed Bom. Tucker R. G. A.

The Memorial Service was held at St. Michael’s church on November 25th 1917.

Born Petersfield, Hampshire
Lived Betchworth, Surrey then Caterham, Surrey
Son of Charles and Annie (nee Harries) Knowles
Husband of Mary Ann Knowles (nee Dickens)
Regiment 11th Battalion. Royal Fusiliers
Number 65361
Date of Death 18th October 1917
Place of Death Passchendaele, Belgium
Cause of Death Killed in action
Age 36
Memorial Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium
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