Henry James Knight VC

b. 05/11/1878 Yeovil, Somerset. d. 24/11/1955 Anderson, Dorset.

Henry James Knight (1878-1955) was actually born as James Huntley Knight in Yeovil, Somerset on 5th November 1878. Little is known about his early life though just prior to the outbreak of the Second Boer War, he enlisted with the 1st Battalion, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, though under the name of Henry James Knight. The reasons for this change of name is unknown.

Henry J Knight VC

On arrival in South Africa, Henry’s regiment became part of No 1 Company, 4th Division of the Mounted Infantry. Within a year of arrival in South Africa, Henry had been involved in the action which led to the award of the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 4th January 1901).

On the 21st August 1900, during the operations near Van Wyk’s Vlei, Corporal Knight was posted in some rocks with four men covering the right rear of a detachment of the same Company who, under Captain Ewart, were holding the right of the line.

The enemy, about 50 strong, attacked Captain Ewart’s right and almost surrounded, at short range, Corporal Knight’s small party. That Non-Commissioned Officer held his ground, directing his party to retire one by one to better cover, where he maintained his position for nearly an hour, covering the withdrawal of Captain Ewart’s force, and losing two of his four men. He then retired, bringing with him two wounded men. One of these he left in a place of safety, the other he carried himself for nearly two miles.

Henry was invested with his medal on 8th June 1902 in Pretoria by the Commander-in-Chief, South Africa, Lord Kitchener. After his service in the South African War, he served in the Great War and rose to the rank of Captain. On his mother’s 2nd marriage, he moved to the south coast of England, settled in Milborne, where he married Carrie in 1903. He moved there permanently following his return from service in India. He died on 24th November 1955, aged 77 in Winterborne Anderson, near Blandford, Dorset. He was cremated at Bournemouth Crematorium and his ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance. His medals are held and displayed by the King’s Regimental Museum, Liverpool.