Private James Knight

Regiment: 1st Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment
Service No: 21397
Date & place of birth: April 1888 in Rogate, Sussex
Date & place of death: 23 October 1916 (aged 28) at the Battle of Le Transloy

James Knight came from a Rogate family.

Family background

James Knight was born in Rogate in the spring of 1888 and baptised on 13 May. In 1891, James and his parents Thomas and Mary Knight (née Glue) lived at Habin. Thomas was an agricultural labourer and at that time they had four children. The family is still recorded as living at Habin in 1901 and 1911, but by that time only Thomas and his brother Arthur were living at home. The 1911 census records that Thomas and Mary had had eight children but only four were living. In 1911 Thomas was an estate labourer while James was a carter in a brickyard.

In 1913, James married Fanny Louisa Stapley. Fanny, born in Havant in 1887, was in service at Selham, as a kitchen maid to Charles and Mary Lacaita, whose son Francis was killed at Hamel in France on 3 April 1918.

Military service

James Knight enlisted in Winchester into the 1st Battalion of The Hampshire Regiment, probably in late 1915.

He was killed on 23 October 1916 when the 1st Battalion was involved in the Battle of Le Transloy during the final stages of the Battle of The Somme. The attack on 18 October had been a failure and it was planned that the Fourth and Sixth Armies would attack on 23 October towards Le Transloy. The weather had been dry from 20 – 22 October but dawn on the 23rd was so foggy that the attack was postponed until 2.30pm. The 4th Division, of which the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment was part, attacked with two Battalions of the 11th Brigade, next to the French 152nd Division. The 1st Hampshire and the French were quickly stopped by enfilade fire from Boritska / Baniska Trench opposite and from machine-guns hidden in shell holes.

Death and commemoration

It must be assumed that James was killed during this attack. He is commemorated on the Rogate War Memorial.

Subsequent family history

James’s widow, Fanny, re-married in 1920 to Ernest Jesse Boxall. She died in Chichester in 1967.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project