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Lieut R V Knight killed 12 March 1917

Sub Lt Ronald Knight


The Wells Journal of 16th March 1917 records the death of Sub-Lieutenant Ron Knight RN (OW 1912) on 12th March. He was buried three days later leaving a young widow and baby daughter:



It is with deep regret that we record the death of Flight Sub-Lieut. R. V. Knight, of Milton, who was killed in a flying accident in Lincolnshire on Monday. The receipt of the sad news cast a gloom over the city, where he was known to everyone and highly respected. It appears that he was up in the air about 11 a.m. on Monday, and when at a height of 200 feet his engine stopped with the result that the machine nose-dived to earth and was wrecked. Death was instantaneous.

Educated at the Wells Cathedral Grammar School, the late Lieutenant R. V. Knight, who was 23 years of age, proceeded to Bedford Grammar School. At the outbreak of war he was at Guy’s Hospital, and without hesitation offered his services to his country. After training at Bisley he proceeded to France early in May, 1915, to fill a vacancy in the commissioned ranks of the 8th Batt. of the City of London Post Office Rifles. During six months’ service in France he fought in the battles of Festubert and Loos. Leaving the front on Friday, November 12th, 1915, after having been in the trenches for a fortnight, he came home to England, and on the following Wednesday, November 17th, was married at St. Cuthbert’s Church to Miss Gwendoline Dawkes, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. Dawkes, of Sunnyside, Portway, the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the 259th Co. of the A.S.C., then stationed in Wells, forming a guard of honour after the ceremony. The late Lieut. Knight did not return to France, but was offered and accepted a position in a London Cyclist Corps, a section of which he commanded for some time prior to joining the Royal Naval Air Service. In this branch of the service he made rapid strides, and obtained his pilot’s certificate in a remarkably short space of time. For some months past he has been one of the assistant instructors at an East Coast flying school.

Ron., as he was affectionately known to his many friends, was well-known in athletic circles, his splendid physique standing him in good stead in the many branches of sport in which he excelled. At Bedford Grammar School he was captain of the Rugby XV., and at the outbreak of war was captain of the Wells Rugby Club. As a three-quarter he was always dangerous, his fine turn of speed enabling him to score many tries, whilst as a place kick he had few equals. His prowess in this branch of sport was known far outside the city, for he held Somerset and east Midland County caps, and would without a doubt have figured in an England XV. after the war, having already been chosen as a reserve in an international match before the outbreak of hostilities. At Association football he played a good forward game, and in swimming was an expert. The city and country is the poorer by the death of a true sportsman, who, no matter what treatment he received, always played a clean and sporting game, and who by a genial and upright character drew around him a host of true and devoted friends.

The sympathies of citizens are extended to the young widow, who is left with a daughter a few months old, and his bereaved parents.

The funeral took place yeaterday (Thursday) afternoon, and was marked with the greatest sympathy and grief. The first part of the burial service was held at St Cuthbert’s Church, where the body had reposed overnight. The Vicar (Preb. Farrer) conducted the service which was fully choral, assisted by the Rev. J.L. Williams. Members of the Wells Detachment of the Somerset Volunteer Regiment attended as bearers, and provided a firing party, while a number of wounded soldiers were also present. Deceased’s Corps was represented by a brother officer and personal friend, Lieut. Black, and amongst those also following in the procession to the Cemetary where the interment took place, were Col. A. Thrale Perkins, CB., Capt. A. J. Mayer, Capt. Knowles, M.C., Capt. C. Hinks, M.C., Lieut. Haydon; and Lieuts. R. G. Harris and W. J. Brown.

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