Alfred Ernest KNIGHT MM

KNIGHT, Alfred Ernest

Service Number: 2166
Enlisted: 25 February 1915, 6th Reinforcements
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 14th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, date not yet discovered
Home Town: Bendigo, Greater Bendigo, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Wood carter
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

25 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2166, 14th Infantry Battalion, 6th Reinforcements
17 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 2166, 14th Infantry Battalion
17 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 2166, 14th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wandilla, Melbourne
29 Sep 1917: Honoured Military Medal, Breaching the Hindenburg Line - Cambrai / St Quentin Canal, Recommendation: - 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the operations between BELLICOURT and NAUROY on the 29th September 1918. This man went forward with a patrol whose object was to clear up the position around NAUROY. During the progress of the patrol, a 77 mm gun opened fire on the patrol from a position on the flank not more than 500 yards off. Private KNIGHT with his Lewis gun immediately moved off to the flank, and although constantly fired on made progress till he reached a commanding position where he immediately got his gun in action. He fired with such good effect that all the crew were either killed or wounded, and the gun put out of action. The initiative shown by this man undoubtedly saved many casualties, as the gun was firing over open sights at very close range.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 109 Date: 15 September 1919"

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Biography contributed by Jack Coyne

Alfred Ernest KNIGHT

Military Medal

 

Recommendation for award:-

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the operations between BELLICOURT and NAUROY on the 29th September 1918. This man went forward with a patrol whose object was to clear up the position around NAUROY. During the progress of the patrol, a 77 mm gun opened fire on the patrol from a position on the flank not more than 500 yards off. Private KNIGHT with his Lewis gun immediately moved off to the flank, and although constantly fired on made progress till he reached a commanding position where he immediately got his gun in action. He fired with such good effect that all the crew were either killed or wounded, and the gun put out of action. The initiative shown by this man undoubtedly saved many casualties, as the gun was firing over open sights at very close range.'

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 109 Date: 15 September 1919"

 

The first report on Alfred Knight would be published in the Bendigonian in August 1915 six months after his enlistment.  PRIVATE A. E. KNIGHT.

‘The Defence department has informed Mr. Alfred Knight, sen’r of Bayne-street, that his son, Private A. E. Knight, has been wounded at Gallipoli, and was removed to the First General Australian Hospital at Heliopolis, Egypt, on 11th August. The telegram stated that the wound was caused by a bullet striking his arm. Private Knight was a former employee at the Bendigo Jam Factory, and left Australia about three months ago with the 6th reinforcements. He was attached to the 14th battalion. He is 21 years of age’.[1]

Alfred Knight was shot in the left foot on August 8, 1915 at the Battle of Lone Pine. The battle is described in the book ‘Pompey Elliot At War’: - ‘A sweeping offensive designed to end the deadlock at Gallipoli began on August 6 with the 1st (NSW) Brigade spirited assault at Lone Pine. Subsequent attacks included the charge at the Nek by the 8th and 10th Light Horse, which became notorious for ineptitude, futility and avoidable slaughter’.[2]

Alfred would rejoin his unit, recovered from his wound at the end of October, 1915, to be medically evacuated again from the Peninsula with Influenza in mid November. 

Back in Egypt he along with many experienced AIF soldiers would be dispersed to newly formed Battalions and in late April 1916, he would be in the 30th Battalion preparing to leave Egypt for the western front.                                                                                        

Alfred would struggle with military life in France over 1916 and 1917 and be disciplined on a number of occasions. The next news on Alfred the Bendigo people would read would appear in the Bendigo Independent in July 1918.   

WOUNDED- PRIVATE A. E. KNIGHT.

Mr. and Mrs. A. Knight, of Bayne Street, have received word from the Defence Department that their son, Private A. E, Knight, has been wounded for the third time. His brother, Lance-Corporal Robert Oliver Knight was killed in action on the 28/2/18 after two and a half years' service.[3]

Alfred would be wounded for a fourth time on the same day he is acknowledged for his brave deeds at Nauroy. This time his wound would be slight and he remained on duty. Alfred survived nearly four years of front line duty returning to Australia in July 1919.  

SERVICE DETAILS:  

Regimental No:2166

Place of birth: Bendigo Victoria

Religion: Presbyterian

Occupation: Wood carter

Address: Bayne Street, Bendigo, Victoria

Marital status: Single

Age at enlistment: 20

Next of kin: Father, Alfred Knight, Bayne Street, Bendigo

Enlistment date: 25 February 1915

Unit name: 14th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement & 30th Battalion

Embarked: HMAT A62 Wandilla on 17 June 1915

Final Rank: Private

Fate: Returned to Australia 7 July 1919

BELLICOURT and NAUROY- The 30th Battalion fought its last major action of the war between 27 September and 1 October when the 5th and 3rd Australian Divisions, and two American divisions attacked the Hindenburg Line across the top of the 6-kilometre-long St Quentin Canal tunnel; the canal was a major obstacle in the German defensive scheme. This would be one of the last battles involving significant numbers of AIF troops.

[1] Bendigonian 26 Aug 1915  Page 12

[2] Pompey Elliot At War, Ross McMullin, Scribe Publishing Page 77
[3] Bendigo Independent on July 6 1918. Page 7 

 

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