First World War Project

Frank KNIGHT (of Newnham)

b. 22nd January 1896
d. 9th December 1916. Aged 20

Private, Service Number G/13054
East Kent Regiment - The Buffs

Étaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais
Plot 20, Row F, Grave 10A

Killed in Action

Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

On 3rd October 1919, Frank Knight's immediate family is confirmed by his brother, Jack, when he submitted a requested on behalf of his mother for Frank's plaque ("death penny") and scroll. The application is witnessed by Alured Faunce-de-Laune, J.P. of Sharsted Court. Frank was single at the time of his death. In 1919, we learn that Frank's parents, Henry Thomas and Edith Emma Knight, of Stuppington Farm (Newnham), had one other son, Jack (20 years - also of Stuppington Farm) and two sisters (Miss Ada Knight (27) of St. Martins, Guernsey and (Mrs) Amy Shrubshall (28) of 14 Richborough Road, Westgate. The first child born to Frank's parents was also named Frank, but he died at 2 years old in 1884.

Frank first attested in Canterbury, on 19th September 1914. On attestation with the 2/1 Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles (Reserve) he was assigned the number 1995 (later changed to G/13054). His address was that of his parents, Stuppington Farm, Newnham having previously lived in Champion Court Cottages, Newnham. His Medical History, written up on 27th May 1915 revealed: he was aged 19 years, 126 days (suggesting a birthday of 22nd January 1886); he gave his occupation as a wheelwright. He stood 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 161 pounds, chest measurement of 36 inches (3 inches expansion) and enjoyed good health with good eyesight. His distinguishing mark was a depressed scar on his right knee.

His Statement of Services reveals a tortuous and unexplained history regarding the length of service at Home and his reversion to private. He was first posted and embodied as a Private until 28th June 1915 (this dated agrees with his War Gratuity, calculated at this death). From 29th June 1915 he was appointed unpaid corporal until 3rd February 1916. From 4th February 1916 he was appointed "paid" Lance Corporal but was reverted to Private on 20th September 1916. From 21st September 1916 until his death he remained a private - there are no indications as to why he was broken down in rank. He was first posted to "Base Depot France" on 21st September 1916, firstly joining the 4th Battalion, The Buffs, but then posted to the 7th Battalion, The Buffs, on 11th October 1916. He arrived in France with his Battalion on 13th October 1916. His overseas posting ended after only three months. His total reckonable service amounted to 2 years and 82 days.

Frank was "wounded in action" in the field on 21st November during the relief of his battalion by 2/4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. His medical record shows that, on 23rd November, "26. A.T. Gunshot Wound, Right Buttock". The final entry reads - "Died of Wounds, 1.30pm, at 7 Canadian General Hospital, G.S.W. R. Buttock". This suggests infection or bloodclot?

His mother, Edith, received his possessions: "job pouch, pipe, cigarette holder, cigarette case, M.B. Case, Purse & Farthing. 3 Gospels, wrist watch and strap (no glass), 1 Note Book, 2 Wallets, 1 Key, 3 numerals, photos, letters and bag."

His mother thought some effects were missing. In her letter, dated 3rd July, 1917: "Dear Sir, An answer to yours for parcels received of my son's things thank you for it but there is still some missing which I know he had, one thing I should value very much that is a knife, fork and spoon contained what the colonel gave them all when they left Woodbridge but I suppose I shall never get anything more. I had just posted a letter on [unclear] but I did not think of receiving them just yet. I remain yours respectfully, (Mrs) E. Knight. If you could make further enquiries I should be so glad."

Soldier's Effects amounted to 16s. 1d plus War Gratuity £6 17s.4d. This is a large sum for a private, resulting from his long service. [See Appendix 2] On 3rd July 1920, his "Memorial Plaque & Scroll (Serial No. 186)" was issued to Frank's father at Stuppington Farm. Frank was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. [See Appendix 1]

His burial place, Etaples Military Cemetery, was associated with one of the eleven general, one stationary, and four Red Cross hospitals. It was the largest Commission cemetery in France. His headstone reads "Gone from our sight but to memory ever dear".

Circumstances of the death of Private Frank KNIGHT

Frank, arrived in France in the afternoon on 13th October, having missed a period of intense and costly fighting at THIEPVAL from the end of September until they were relieved back to HEDAUVILLE on 6th October. From HEDAUVILLE the 7th Buffs marched to CANDAS. See below for an account of a training programme as it was conceived at this period of the war.

7th Battalion - War Diary Extracts

"13th October 1916: CANDAS: Company training in the morning. Inter-platoon football in the afternoon. A draft of 100 Royal East Kent Yeomanry arrived for the battalion in the afternoon. The Brigadier General inspected the 1st Line Transport in the afternoon.
14th October: CANDAS:
9 a.m.: The Commanding Officer inspected the draft at 9 a.m. After inspection parades carried out under Company arrangements, live bomb throwing practised.
11.30 a.m.: Owing to the premature explosion of a bomb, 2 men were unfortunately killed and Captain DYSON accidentally wounded.
Major MONIER-WILLIAMS and billeting party proceeded to GEZAINCOURT.
2 p.m.: The Brigadier General inspected the draft on ground just North of CANDAS on the western side of the CANDAS-DOULLENS road.
Filling in trenches dug during week at CANDAS was done in the afternoon.
15th October: CANDAS to GEZAINCOURT:
9.20 a.m.: The battalion moved from CANDAS to GEZAINCOURT. Starting point CANDAS CHURCH. Order of march "B", "C", drums, "D", "A".
11.25 a.m.: 7th Buffs all in billets at GEZAINCOURT. Company training was carried out in the afternoon in the neighbourhood of billets.
5.15 p.m.: Voluntary C of E Service in "D" Company's billets.
8.45 a.m.: Captain WOOD and billeting party set off for HERISSART and RUBEMPRE, as a brigade. 7th Buffs marched as the last battalion passing the starting point, road junction 1 mile south of GEZAINCOURT CHURCH at 12.18 p.m. Order of march "C", "D", drums, "A", "B". ROUTE BEAUVAL – BEAUQUESNE – PUCHEVILLERS. 7th Buffs were all in billets at 5.25 p.m. 8 men fell out on the march. Lt.Col. A.L. RANSOME Commanding Went sick in the morning and was sent to an officers rest hospital at WARLOY. Major R.T. MONIER-WILLIAMS took over command.
17th October: HERISART to ALBERT: 8 p.m.: 2nd/Lt CHAMBERLAIN and billeting party set off for ALBERT. Starting point just West of the "M" in M'in NEUF. Time 8.30 a.m. Order of march "D", "A", drums, "B", "C". Route CONTAY – VADENCOURT – WARLOY – track running South of SENLIS and BOUZINCOURT to ALBERT.
7th Buffs all in billets at 4 p.m.; ten men fell out on the march that were taken on by horse ambulance.
18th October: ALBERT: Company went out training on the N.W. side of ALBERT. All Company Commanders went up to Pozières to reconnoitre line to be taken over by the Brigade.
19th – 20th October: Training.
21st October: 11.30pm: Message received from 55th Brigade saying 7th Buffs will proceed to the trenches and take over FABECK and HIGH Trenches leading platoon to reach trenches at 1 p.m.
27th October: Returned to ALBERT, then TARA HILL, and ALBERT (31st October).
1st November: in and out of FABECK TRENCHES, then (6th Nov.) REGINA Trench and back to ALBERT. From ALBERT the Battalion moved (9th) WARLOY, ALBERT (13th) and so on.

Frank Knight's Last period of action.

14th November: ALBERT to OVILLERS HUTS: 1.10 a.m.: Orders for move cancelled. Battalion ordered to remain in ALBERT until further orders.
11.30 a.m.: Orders received from Brigade that Battalion must be prepared to move at half-an-hours notice.
2.15 a.m.: Orders received from Brigade that Battalion were to move to huts at OVILLERS at OVILLERS at 3.45 p.m.
3.45 p.m.: Battalion moved to huts at OVILLERS by platoons at 2 minutes intervals. Order of march C.D.A.B.
1 N.C.O. and 25 men of "C" company sent to report to 2/Lt GOLD at RIFLE DUMP R.28.c.59 by 8 p.m.
2 N.C.O.s and 12 men ordered to report to Brigade Transport Officer at KAY DUMP as soon as possible.
Battalion all in huts at OVILLERS at 5.40 p.m.
15th November: OVILLERS HUTS: Orders received from Brigade that operations were indefinitely postponed and no moves would take place in night of 15th/16th.
Major General MAXSE visited battalion in the afternoon and gave an address to all the officers on the battalion North of the ANCRE.
16th November: OVILLERS HUTS to trenches: 8 a.m.: Message from the Brigade that operations might take place on the 17th inst.
3.45 p.m.: Message received from Brigade that Battalion must be prepared to take over line from 58th Brigade between SIXTEEN STREET and STUMP ROAD, both exclusive.
7 p.m.: Orders received from Brigade that 55th Brigade were to take over front previously held by 58th Brigade.

"A" Company 7th Buffs to take over from SIXTEEN STREET (exclusive) to R.21.b.24;
"D" Company 7th Queens to take over from R.21.b.24 to STUMP ROAD inclusive;
"B" Company 7th Buffs to take over from R.22.c.29 to R.21.d.58 (HESSIAN TRENCH);
"C" Company 7th Queens to take over from R.21.d.29 to STUMP ROAD;
Battalion H.Q. 7th Buffs – HESSIAN TRENCH R.21.d.79.

7th Buffs to relieve CHESHIRE REGIMENT.
7th Queens to relieve WELSH REGIMENT.
Officer Commanding 7th Buffs to be in command of the whole line.
Remaining two companies of 7th Buffs ("C" and "D") to remain at OVILLERS under orders of O.C. 7th Queens.
17th November: TRENCHES: 1.50 a.m.: Relief of CHESHIRE and WELSH REGIMENTS complete at 1.50 a.m.
4.30 a.m.: Situation quiet on whole front.
10 a.m.: 4.30 a.m.: Situation quiet on whole front.
10.30 a.m.: Conference of Battalion commanders at Brigade H.Q. at MOUQUET FARM.
12 noon: Casualty returns: Officers Killed 1 – 2.Lt I.H. HESS;
O.R. Killed 2; O.R. Wounded 6.
2.30 p.m.: Commanding Officers saw O.C. "A" and "B" companies at Battalion H.Q. and explained scheme of attack to them.
4 p.m.: Intermittent Enemy shelling otherwise quiet.
9 p.m.: Situation quiet.

18th and 19th November: For operations on 18th and 19th inst. See Appendix A.

20th November: 4 a.m.: Situation quiet; 10 a.m. Situation quiet.
4 p.m.: 8th Sussex Pioneers came up to dig trench from 200 yards West of R.16.c.66 in DESIRE trench to REGINA trench.
5 p.m.: Occasional enemy shelling otherwise quiet.
10 p.m.: A good deal of enemy shelling mostly in REGINA & HESSIAN trenches. Patrols well out the whole night along DESIRE trench, and ground North of it nothing of any importance to report.
21st November: Trenches to OVILLERS HUTS: 4 a.m.: Situation quiet.
10 a.m.: Situation quiet.
4 p.m.: A good deal of artillery activity on REGINA & HESSIAN trenches.
4 p.m.7th Buffs were relieved by 2/4 Royal BERKSHIRE Regiment.
Details of Relief:-

1 platoon of "B" Company 2/4 Royal Berks relieved 2 platoons of "D" Company 7th Buffs in DESIRE trench;
3 platoons of "B" Company 2/4 Royal Berks relieved 2 platoons of "C" Company 7th Buffs in REGINA trench;
"C" Company 2/4 Royal Berks relieved 1 platoon of "C" Company 7th Buffs in HESSIAN trench.

2 guides from each platoon to be at gravel pit at 4.30 p.m.
All bombs, sandbags, flares, very lights and extra bandolier were handed over.
7.22 p.m.Relief of 7th Buffs by 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment complete by 7.22 p.m.
7th Buffs proceeded to huts at OVILLERS.

Casualties from 18th to 21st inclusive.
Officers: Killed 3; Wounded 4; Missing 1.
Other Ranks: Killed 23, Wounded 76, Missing 124.

From this account, it is probable that Frank Knight was injured during this Relief Operation. Only to die of these wounds on 9th December 1916.


Training Features - taken from September 1916

This extract, from September, has been recorded here to illustrate the intensive programme of training given over a two week period before moving back into trenches. Frank Knight arrived shortly after this training period.

12th September: PUCHEVILLERS: Training was carried out by Companies on ground adjoining the camp.
Times: 7 a.m. to 8 .a.m.; 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Programme of Work (a) Physical Drill; (b) Bombing - tactical use of bombing parties - use of Lewis Guns with bombing parties followed by criticism. (c) Intensive digging & insertion of frames for dugouts. (d) Lewis Guns – tactical handling of; (e) Following up a barrage; (f) Exercises for platoon commanders in tactical schemes, consolidation of ground gained and map making.
The Commanding Officer went up to the trenches to look round the line held by the Reserve Army, with the Brigade Commander. The adjutants of the Brigade went round training area allotted to the Brigade.
13th September: PUCHEVILLERS: Training as per programme of the 12th inst.
9.45 a.m.: The Commanding Officer held a conference of Company Commanders at 9.45 a.m. and platoon commanders at 12.15 p.m.
Lt H.A. DYSON took over command of "A" Company from Capt. WOOD
2/Lt T. CLAPPERTON took over command of "C" Company from Lt. HANDS
Captain WOOD was transferred to "B" Company as second in command of Company.
Capt. FOXELL was transferred to "A" Company as second in command of Company.
2/Lt CARMAN took over duties of second captain of "D" Company.

The following were granted the Military Medal by the Corps Commander.

G/1300 – Sgt WICKINGTON, H.G. G/540 – Pt. ANDERSON, A.A.
G/3554 – Pt. THOMPSON, J. L/9075 – Sergt. RUSSELL, E.
G/1162 – Lt. DANIELS, F.W. G/1655 – Sec. Serg. MATTHEWS, C.E.
G/1145 – Sergt. GEORGE, F. G/2269 – Pt. WALTERS, C.E.
G/1147 – Sergt. REED, W.H. G/2005 – Pt. LAKE, G.
G/2810 – Lt. HUCKSTEPP, W.  
The Croix de Guerre was awarded to Capt A.G. KENCHINGTON.

14th September: PUCHEVILLERS: Training as per programme of the 12th inst.
The Commanding Officer motored up to look round trenches held by the Reserve Army, with the Brigade Commander.
5.30 p.m.: Lieutenant KEOWN took a class of officers in riding.
15th September: PUCHEVILLERS: Training as per programme of the 12th inst.
Major Monier-Williams motored up to look round the trenches held by Reserve.
10.30 a.m.: A demonstration in the use of The Small Box Respirator was given in the Chateau at PUCHEVILLERS by the Divisional Gas Officer. Captain WOOD and all the anti-gas N.C.O.'s attended.
16th September: PUCHEVILLERS: Programme of Work for training as per 12th inst.
Major Monier-Williams and Captain DYSON went on a reconnaissance round Reserve Army trenches.
5.30 p.m.: Lt. KEOWN took a class of officers in riding.
6 p.m.: Massed drums of the Brigade played retreat in front of Brigade H.Q.
17th September: PUCHVILLERS: 9.00 a.m.: Brigade paraded for church parade on field behind 7th Buffs Transport Lines; After church parade training was continued as per programme of 12th inst.
5.30 p.m.: Lt. KEOWN took a class of officers in riding.
18th September: PUCHVILLERS: Poured with rain all day, morning spent in final lectures and men in bombing, Lewis Gun tactics, and battle of the Somme (etc). Afternoon lectures as in morning.
19th September: PUCHVILLERS: Training in the morning as per programme of the 12th inst. But owing to the rain, companies had to come in and lectures were given in the huts, lectures again in the afternoon and training. Commanding Officer, 2nd in Command and Adjutant went out to make up a tactical scheme of following day.
20th September: PUCHEVILLERS: Captain A.G. KENCHINGTON and 2nd Lieutenant V.G.H. TATAM were awarded The Military Cross.
Sergt. P.C. UPTON and Lance Corporal C.J. CRAME were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
As it poured with rain most of the morning, lectures, musketry, (etc) were practised in the huts.
In the afternoon to adjutant gave a lecture on map reading to all the officers in the mess. Section commanders took all the men in their sections in the huts.
21st September: PUCHEVILLERS: Programme of Work.
7 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Physical Training
9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. – Bombing tactics, Intensive digging including siting of trenches and following up barrage. Special training of patrols. Tactical training including tactical handling of Lewis Guns.
2 p.m. "A" Company Tactical exercise for platoon and Section Commanders under the Commanding Officer. Remaining N.C.O.'s and men live bombing under 2nd Lieutenant GOLD.
"B", "C", "D" Company Commanders, platoon Commanders and platoon sergeants attended a demonstration under C.S.M. PARMEE.
Remaining N.C.O.s and men went for a route march under their C.S.M.s. 2/Lieut. SCOTT tore the muscles of the leg doing physical drill and had to be sent to hospital.
Sergt. GEORGE 3rd Class for gallantry near TRONES WOOD on the 13th July 1916.
22nd September: "C" & "D" Companies and platoons of the "B" Company went to Battalions at TOUTENCOURT in the morning.
"A" Company and 2 platoons of "B" Company did bombing (etc) as per programme of 21st inst.
In the afternoon "C" & "D" Companies and 2 platoons of "B" went for baths. "B" Company Officers and Section Commanders went for a tactical scheme on the ground under Major MONIER-WILLIAMS
23rd September: PUCHEVILLERS: Training in morning as per programme of work of 21st inst.
In the afternoon all officers and N.C.O.s who had not seen C.S.M. PALMER's demonstration attended one, remaining N.C.O. Officer and Battalion went to a demonstration of Stokes Mortar Battery to watch the demolition of a strong point.
Major Monier-Williams and Captain Brice went on a reconnaissance round Reserve Army Area's trenches.
Captain Allen met with an accident on horseback and sustained severe concussion.
24th September: PUCHEVILLERS: Morning spent by Companies in filling in trenches dug and doing bombing, bayonet fighting (etc) and in the afternoon the whole battalion filled in the Brigade trenches dug by the four battalions of the Brigade.
25th September: PUCHEVILLERS: 9 a.m.: Captain WOOD and billeting party moved off the HEDAUVILLE.
The following went on a reconnaissance round the Reserve Army trench area. Captain BRICE, 1 officer per Company, Lewis Gun officer, Bombing Officer, Signal Sergeant and several N.C.O.'s and men.
The following went to report to the A.P.M. 18th Division at ACHEIUX for looking after cages for German prisoners. 2/Lt H. FINE proceeded to the Divisional School at VARENNES.
Companies spent the morning in tidying up huts and ground about huts and filling in trenches and 6 foot slits dug whilst training.
The Battalion moved from PUCHEVILLERS to DEDAUVILLE. Route ARQUEVES and VARENNES. Starting point cross made at N.22.C at North end of PUCHEVILLERS. Order of March "D", "A", drums "B", "C". Time of start 1.17 p.m. All packs were carried by lorries. The battalion were all in billets at HEDAUVILLE at 4.50 p.m. – 3 men only fell out on the march.
26th September: HEDAUVILLE to W.8 Central: Orders received from 55th Brigade said Battalion must be ready to move any time within an hour after 1 p.m. Orders received from Brigade at 12.50 p.m. said battalion to be clear of HEDAUVILLE by 1.30 p.m. or as soon after as possible and move to open ground about W.8 central. Battalion moved at 1.35 p.m. and reached ground at 3.30 p.m. where they bivouacked for the night. Major Monier-Williams went to Brigade as Liaison Officer at 12.30 p.m.
11.45 p.m.: Verbal Orders received from Brigade by Major Monier-Williams that the battalion was to move to dugouts at CRUCIFIX CORNER W.11.d.85 and be there by 7 a.m. 1st Line Transport and personnel to remain at W.8 central.
27th September: HEDAUVILLE to CRUCIFIX CORNER, W.11.d.85: 5.30 a.m. The Battalion paraded at 5.30 a.m. and marched to W.10.C.24 from which point it went by platoons to CRUCIFIX CORNER W.11.d.85. Order of march "B", "C", "D", "A". The Battalion was all in dug outs at CRUCIFIX CORNER at 7.28 a.m.
Battalion remained throughout the day in their dugouts standing by.
28th September: CRUCIFIX CORNER, W.11.d.85: Battalion remained throughout the day in dug outs standing by. Major MONIER WILLIAMS rejoined Battalion from Brigade. All officers at 1st Line Transport were sent up to join Battalion.
29th September: CRUCIFIX CORNER to WOOD POST X1 Central: Battalion remained for the morning in dug outs; at 3.50 p.m. message was received from Brigade that battalion was to go up to WOOD POST X1 Central and occupy dug outs vacated by 8th Suffolk Regiment which would be vacated at 4.30 p.m. Battalion was all in dug outs by 5.30 p.m. "A" and "C" Companies in dug outs in old German Front line in LEMBERG TRENCH R.31.d. 1 platoon of "A" Company was ordered to be held in readiness for carrying party at 1.30 a.m. on 30th Sept.
30th September: WOOD POST to THIEPVAL: 7 a.m. Message received from Brigade "S.O.S. on Northern edge of SCHWABEN Redoubt 7th Buffs to stand to ready".
9.35 a.m.: Verbal message from Brigade said "1 Company to be sent to occupy Northern defences of THIEPVAL running R.25.b.33, R.25.b.34, R.25.b.43, and thence out towards BULEAR trench." "D" Company was accordingly ordered up and reported its arrival without any casualties at 10.35 a.m. Casualties up to 12 noon 30th September, O.R. Killed 3, O.R. Wounded 5.
1.25 p.m.: Orders received from Brigade stating "2 platoons 7th Buffs in conjunction with the 8th EAST SURREY REGIMENT were to attack and capture SCHWABEN REDOUBT. Objective of the 2 platoons 7th Buffs were points R.19.d.39 and R.19.d.19. Zero Time was 4 p.m.
2 platoons of "D" Company under 2/Lt CARMAN, Nos 15 and 16 were detailed for the attack.
3.35 p.m.: Orders were issued for "A" Company to stand by ready to move up to THIEPVAL at a moment's notice.
3.45 p.m.: Major Monier-Williams ordered to report to Brigade H.Q.
4 p.m.: Verbal orders received from Brigadier who came up to WOOD POST were that 1 Company and H.Q. were to move up to THIEPVAL and reinforce the 8th East Surrey Regiment who were to collect and withdraw back to WOOD POST.
9.15 p.m.: H.Q. and "B" Company moved up to THIEPVAL reaching there at 10.45 p.m. "B" Company moving into dug outs about R.25.b.60., H.Q. going to 8th East Surrey H.Q. at R.25.d.04. ""C" Company ordered to move up to JOSEPH trench R.32.a.26 to 77.
12 midnight: Message received from "A" Company saying Nos. 1 & 2 platoons had been sent to reinforce 8th East Surrey Regiment left near point R.19.d.65. Nos. 2 & 4 platoons sent to help 7th R.W. Kent Regiment.
Also report attached received from "D" Company with reference to the attack at 4 p.m. by Nos 15 & 16 platoons by 2/Lt G. CARMAN who was in command of the party.

Draft Family Tree for Frank Knight

Frank Knight Draft Family Tree


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