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WYLAM

Knott, H.B., Capt., 1915

Henry Basil Knott

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery: P. Priano

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery: Pauline Priano

St. George's Church Ypres

St. George's Church Ypres

In Ypres Reservoir Cemetery is the Commonwealth War Grave of Captain Henry Basil Knott serving with the 9th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers who died 07/09/1915.

Pauline Priano has submitted the following:-

Henry Basil Knott, one of three sons, was the youngest child of James Knott, born at Howden-on-Tyne, Northumberland, baptised at St. Peter, Wallsend, March 4th 1855 and Margaret Annie Garbutt of Holmfirth, Yorkshire, also born 1855, the daughter of Reverend Thomas Garbutt.

James Knott was a man of humble beginnings, the son of a grocer. He left school at the age of 14, working as a shipping clerk at an office on Newcastle-upon-Tyne quayside and by the age of 20 began his own business as a shipbroker. Having borrowed money from a friend at the age of 23 he bought an old collier, “Pearl of Scarborough” and September 17th 1878, he and Margaret Annie were married at Tynemouth, Northumberland. Their eldest son Thomas Garbutt Knott was born July 7th 1879 at North Shields, in 1881 they were living next door to Margaret Annie’s widowed mother, her sister, brother and his wife, at 1 Frank Place, North Shields. James Leadbitter was born at North Shields during the 4th quarter (Oct/Nov/Dec) 1882, by now his father had bought a steam ship from Swan Hunter named “Saxon Prince” and founded the Prince Line Ltd. which became one of the biggest shipping lines in the world with a fleet of over 40 ships, with distinct slate grey hulls, black and red funnels with white Prince of Wales feathers. The family enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle and became well known. They left North Shield and moved to Manor House, Jesmond, a suburb of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland and it was here that Henry Basil Knott was born, February 5th 1891 and baptised April 18th at St. George, Newcastle. The house was run by 47-year-old Annie Hindmarsh with the assistance of a butler, cook, a kitchen maid and 2 housemaids. James Leadbitter (8) and Henry Basil (3 months) were looked after by a certificated nurse, a nursemaid and were schooled by a live-in tutor. Their elder brother Thomas (11) was living as a boarder at The Manse, Thirston, Northumberland, the home of Presbyterian minister James Lemon, his wife and son. By 1901 they had moved to 4, Sydenham Terrace, Jesmond, which was fully staffed, James Leadbitter Knott (18) was the only son still living at home, his brother Thomas Garbutt, not wanting to join the family business, had departed to South Africa, Henry Basil (10) was a boarder attending Langley Place School, Horsemore Green, Langley, Buckinghamshire, however, he had returned to the family home, now at Close House, Wylam-on-Tyne, by 1911.

Henry Basil Knott was a partner in the firm James Knott and Co, and was in the Coal Trade department where his business dealings took him to the Newcastle Commercial Exchange on the Quayside where he enlisted into 'B' Company 9th (Service) Battalion Northumberlnd Fusiliers.

On the 7th January 1915, Henry Basil was gazetted a Lieutenant from a 2nd Lieutenant from the 4th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers to the 9th Battalion.

Henry Basil served during WW1 with the rank of Captain assigned to the 9th (Service) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, raised at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in September 1914, a Kitchener Battalion. After initial training he departed with his regiment from Newcastle-upon-Tyne railway station bound for France, disembarking July 15th 1915 as part of the 52nd Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division. They were immediately moved to the Ypres salient in Belgium to hold the front line. Captain Henry Basil Knott was wounded whilst on active service, his brother Major James Leadbitter Knott was informed and sent a telegram to his parents informing them that he had been told his brother had been seriously wounded. Unfortunately, a second telegraph from him confirmed that Captain Henry Basil Knott had died, September 7th 1915, at the CCS at Poperinghe, near Ypres of a wound sustained to the head.

All monies owed to him by the Army were distributed to his father James as were his effects in the sum of 20,196 pounds 13 shillings 8 pence, his awards of the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal, were sent to him at Close House, Wylam-on-Tyne. At the time of his demise Captain Knott was 24 years of age and single.

Some 9 months later, July 1st 1916 Major James Leadbitter Knott was killed in action during the first day of the Battles of the Somme at Albert. The brothers were buried some 70 miles apart, their father tried to use his influence to have their bodies repatriated to England. He was denied this, however, it was conceded that their bodies be buried alongside each other within Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium, graves V. B. 15 and V. B. 16. Both bear an identical inscription which reads, “Devoted In Life In Death Not Divided”. Their brother Thomas Garbutt Knott also served and it was feared that he too had perished until news was received that he had been taken a Prisoner of War. At the conclusion of WW1 he returned safely to England.

After the loss of his sons James Knott retired in 1916, in 1917 he received a Baronetcy which bestowed upon him and his wife the title of Sir James Knott and Lady Margaret. He and his wife donated the money to build a bell tower at St. George’s Memorial Church in Ypres, Belgium, where the bell was rung and still rings in memory of his sons and also financed the building of St. James and St. Basil Church, corner of Fenham Hall Drive and Wingate Road, Fenham Newcastle-upon-Tyne, consecrated in 1931. The tenor bell is inscribed, “We ring in memory of James and Basil Knott, God knows,” there is also a beautiful stained glass window dedicated to and depicting their fallen sons.

In 1924 Sir James and Lady Margaret settled on the island of Jersey, Channel Islands at Samares Manor. Lady Margaret Annie Knott nee Garbutt died March 8th 1929, aboard their yacht in Cannes, France, having suffered poor health since the loss of her sons. Sir James Knott 1st Baronet, remarried in 1932 at Monte Carlo, Elizabeth Chystie Gauntlet, the 25-year-old daughter of Colonel V. C. Gauntlett. Sir James died aged 69 years at St. Clements, Jersey, Channel Islands, June 8th 1934 and interred June 12th. Elisabeth Chystie Knott nee Gauntlett, who had married for a second time, also died in Jersey, on November 23rd 1998. His only surviving son Thomas Garbutt Knott inherited the family title.

In God’s safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

Henry Basil Knott is remembered at Heddon on the Wall H35.01, H35.02, H35.03, H35.04, and H35.05, at Fenham on F31.03 and F31.11 at Newcastle on NUT043, NUT052 and NUT147, also at Cullercoats on C68.01 at Tynemouth on T36.14 and at Wylam on W73.01 and W73.02.


The CWGC entry for Captain Knott

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk