Robert Walter Edmund Knollys AM

b. 10/11/1872 St George’s, Hanover, London.   d. 17/07/1941 London.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 19/12/1905  Chitral, India.

Robert W E Knollys AM

Robert was born on 10th November 1872, the heir of the 8th Earl of Banbury and a direct relative of 3rd Viscount Knollys. He became a barrister of Middle Temple and served in the Indian Army being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on the Unattached List on 28th January 1893 and appointed to the Indian Staff Corps on 28th March 1894. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1895, Captain in 1902 and Major in 1911. He was finally promoted to Lt Colonel in 1919. He married Ethelred Mary Murphy (later awarded the MBE) on 24th October 1908, and they had 12 children.



On the 19th December, 1905, Captain Knollys, who was returning from Peshawar, left Dir in order to cross the Lowarai Pass, with him being the Native Assistant, Chitral, a Government Clerk, Captain Knollys’ Chitrali Orderly (Hasil), and two or three servants, also a few villagers and Dir Levies. Having reached a point beyond Mirga, the snow was found to be too deep to allow of the Pass being crossed that day, and it was decided to stop at Gujar Levy Post, about five miles from the top of the Pass. Tbe snow was about six or seven feet deep, and was.still falling.. About half, a mile from Gujar Post, the last four of the party, including Captain Knollys and the Subedar Major of the Dir Levies, were suddenly caught and buried by an avalanche, which fell from a hill on their right. Captain Knolly’s Chitrali orderly (Hasil) and a villager of Dir, named Muhammad Ali, who were in front, immediately rushed back, and succeeded in pulling Captain Knollys out, who with their help, at once set to work to find the other three men, who were completely buried. After about half an hour’s hard work in several directions, the three men were found and extricated from-the snow, one in an unconscious condition, the others conscious but very exhausted. During this half hour the three rescuers were in imminent peril of their lives, as the spot is notorious for the frequency of the avalanches which fall upon it, and it is moreover well known that when one avalanche has fallen at this place it is almost invariably followed in a very short time by a second. In remaining in the danger zone during the whole of this time, removing the snow with their hands only, and eventually rescuing all the three buried men, Captain Knollys and his two companions undoubtedly showed conspicuous courage and selfdevotion. On the day before this occurrence a succession of avalanches had fallen at another point in the same Pass, and overwhelmed a. number of men who were bringing over ponies, 22 men -and 11 ponies being killed; and during the 13 months preceding the end of December, 1905, there had been four avalanche accidents on the Lowarai Pass, involving a total loss of 36 lives and 15 ponies. Muhammad Ali of Dir and Hasil of Chitral are also to be decorated with the Albert Medal of the Second Class for their gallantry. The Medals will be presented in due course.






Allan Stanistreet – Image of Robert Knollys AM.