Private Francis Robert Knowles (12746)

'B' Coy, 1st Bn, The Worcestershire Regiment, 24th Brigade, 8th Division, B.E.F.

Malvern Commemoration: St Mary the Virgin Madresfield,

Burial/Commemoration: Le Touret Memorial

Nature of Death: Killed in action Battle of Neuve Chapelle, France 13/3/15

Age: 22

Next of Kin: Second son of Robert G. and Emily E. Knowles, of 33, Madresfield, Malvern, Worcs

Francis Robert Knowles

Frank Knowles joined the army at the beginning of the war, and was sent to the 6th Worcesters, a training unit which was based in Devon. This battalion sent drafts of men for the units fighting in the field. After completing his training he was sent to join the 1st Battalion, and was killed in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, where the 1st Worcesters and many other units suffered so heavily.

During his time with the 6th Worcesters he performed a great act of heroism when a comrade got into difficulty whilst swimming off the Devon Coast. In an October edition, the Malvern News reported:

“L/Cpl Knowles, 6/Worc of Madresfield attempted to save a man from drowning. He is the second son of Mr R G Knowles, of Madresfield, who is well known amongst Worcestershire bell-ringers. L/Cpl Knowles made a gallant attempt to save a colleague from drowning on September 24th, but nearly lost his own life being brought ashore unconscious. Pte W J Parry of the 6/Worc went with seven companions to bathe near Treganthall Fort, Devonshire. They were advised by Lieutenant McMullen not to go out too far; but after they had been out in the water for half an hour Parry got into difficulties about a hundred yards from the shore. L/Cpl Knowles went to help Parry, got hold of him, but became exhausted and lost consciousness. Lt. McMullen got Knowles ashore but Perry disappeared. His body was later found on the beach.”

Malvern News 5/10/14

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