Private Albert Edward Knowles

Regiment: 9th Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).
Service No:  S/8142
Date & place of birth: 1886, Rogate, Sussex.
Date & place of death: 25 September 1915 (aged 29) at The Battle of Loos, France.

The West Sussex Gazette of 18 November 1915 recorded that “Albert Edward Knowles was a Hill Brow lad – who enlisted in the Scotch Regiment stationed last winter at Liss, (and) has, we regret to learn, been killed in action. He was greatly respected, and formerly worked for Mr Elger at Clayton Court.”

Family background

In 1901, Albert Edward Knowles lived at Hunts Bottom in Liss. He was the third and youngest son of ten children of Arthur Knowles, who was born in Rogate, a jobbing gardener and his wife Martha, who was born in Liss. In 1891 the family lived at Lower Glenn in East Liss, but in 1881 the family is recorded as living in London Road, Rogate by which time they already had six children. It is possible while living here that Albert Edward was born.

Albert Edward has not been found in the 1911 census but at that time his father and mother lived at The Chestnuts, London Road, Hill Brow, Liss.

Military service

Albert enlisted in Liss in 1914 when, from the report in the West Sussex Gazette, it is understood that the Black Watch were stationed in the village. The 9th (Service) Battalion was formed in Perth, Scotland on 13 September 1914, as part of the Second New Army. Later it moved to Aldershot and then Tidworth. On 8 July 1915 the Battalion was mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne. It formed part of the 15th (Scottish) Division and was engaged in various actions on the Western Front including The Battle of Loos.

Death and commemoration

The initial stages of The Battle of Loos started on 21 September 1915 but the main attack with the 15th (Scottish) Division being in the centre of the front with the 1/9 Black Watch being on the extreme right was delayed as the wind was light and the gas cloud that had been released hung back. However, the village of Loos was in British hands by 8.00am. A further advance was caught in German crossfire.

Sometime during the day, Albert Edward Knowles was killed in action. He is buried in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery near the town of Souchez, 7 miles north of Arras, and is also commemorated on the Rogate War Memorial.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project