Robert Gordon Duncan KNOX


KNOX, Robert Gordon Duncan

Service Number: 15220
Enlisted: 1 September 1915, Lithgow, NSW
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 14th Australian General Hospital
Born: Benalla, Vic., 25 August 1892
Home Town: Millthorpe, Blayney, New South Wales
Schooling: Benalla West State School
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Drowned in the Nile, Egypt, 25 December 1916, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Tel El Kebir War Memorial Cemetery
Grave No 35
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bank of New South Wales Roll of Honour Book, Benalla War Memorial, Blayney and Milthorpe District Roll of Honor, Millthorpe Memorial Gates
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World War 1 Service

1 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 15220, 14th Australian General Hospital, Lithgow, NSW
19 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 15220, 14th Australian General Hospital
19 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 15220, 14th Australian General Hospital, HMAT Karoola, Melbourne
25 Dec 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 15220

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Cemetery  details:  Tel El Kebir War Memorial Cemetery, Tel el Kebir, North Egypt, Egypt

"...15220 Private Robert Gordon Duncan Knox, 14th General Hospital, Army Medical Corps of Millthorpe, NSW. A bank clerk prior to enlisting, he embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Karoola (A63) on 19 August 1916. On 25 December 1916, he was drowned while in Cairo, Egypt, aged 24. He is buried in the Tel El Kebir War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. His sister, Sister Hilda Mary Knox, Australian Army Nursing Service died of illness in France on 17 February 1917, aged 33." - SOURCE (

"DEATH OF PRIVATE GORDON KNOX. Supposed to Have Been Murdered.

Yesterday Mr. Jas. Knox received from Lieut.-Col. A. H. Thwaites the following letter concerning the death of Private Gordon Knox, dated Cairo, 15th January, 1917: —

"I cannot tell you how very sorry I am to address you on the subject of your son's death. It is the first misfortune of the kind which has fallen upon my unit, and we all feel it very keenly. I feel it particularly, and on private as well as official grounds, on account of knowing the boy's friends. There is an unfortunate element of mystery surrounding the whole affair, which makes it sadder still to all of us. We don't quite know what happened. He went on a few hours' leave to Cairo, and just never returned. His body was found in the Nile a fortnight later, and a post-mortem revealed evidence of foul play. Nothing further can be discovered, and probably nothing ever will be. This is a strange country, and in many ways a wild and barbarous one. The population is very mixed, and includes some very hostile elements. On the other hand, the boy's habits while here have been beyond reproach. So the conclusion one is forced to is that he met his sad end in a way which was by no means his own fault, but at the hands of the King's enemies, and, in this way, died for the cause for which he volunteered. I attach a copy of the memorial service held for him, which you will like to have. I hope that you, Mrs. Knox, and remaining members of the family will accept my sincerest condolence, not only personally, but on behalf of tho unit of which your boy was so long a member. We have arranged for Sister Knox to go on to England, which, all things considered, is probably wisest under the circumstances."

...Letters have also been received from Sister Knox and Sergeant Frank Knox in reference to the matter. It seems clear that the late Private Gordon Knox got leave on Boxing Day, and as he was very fond of motor rides, it is thought that he must have gone for one of these rides, and when in a lonely place, was struck on the head by some native, robbed, and the body thrown into the Nile. He is buried in a cemetery at Benha, 30 miles from Cairo.

Wounded Soldiers.— About 120 returned wounded soldiers passed through Benalla at 7.30 yesterday morning from Sydney. As usual, they were met at the railway station by the good ladies of the local Red Cross Society and entertained at breakfast, and also supplied with cigarettes, for which the soldiers expressed their great gratitude. Amongst the nurses in attendance was Nurse Purcell, who was with Sister Hilda Knox in Egypt when Private Gordon Knox was drowned. She spoke very highly of Sister Knox's attention to duty, she having never neglected her patients during that trying period." - from the Benalla Standard 23 Feb 1917 (


Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

ROBERT GORDON DUNCAN KNOX was born at Benalla, Victoria, on 25th August, 1892, the son of Mr. James Knox and Mrs. Mary Isabella Knox. He was educated at the Benalla West State School. He joined the Bank’s service on 21st January, 1911, at Warrnambool, Victoria; was transferred to Maldon in February, 1911; to Bendigo in October, 1912; to Kyneton, as ledger-keeper, in December, 1912; to Moama in February, 1913; to the Head Office in August, 1913; to Moree, New South Wales, in September, 1914; and to Millthorpe in December, 1914.

Robert Knox enlisted in the A.I.F. in August, 1915, and was attached to the Army Medical Corps, 14th Australian General Hospital. While at Cairo, on his way to the front, in December, 1916, Robert Knox is believed to have been killed as his body was found in the Nile on 7th January, 1917.

Source - Bank of NSW Roll of Honour