1. Grave:Cement House CemeteryXVIII. D. 1-16.
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.127
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour16B GQS
4. Book:De Ruvigny's Roll of HonourVol 1

Awards & Titles:

Queen's South Africa Medal 3 Clasps

Family :

Born at Sandgate in Queensland, son of Edward Sugden Knowles and Frances Mary Knowles, later of Rawdon, Leeds. Husband of Viva Brabazon Knowles, of Whitehill Chase, Bordon, Hampshire.

The source of his portrait image is unknown but is repeated as part of the Imperial War Museums collection. Reference: 123658

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 4th Battalion Middlesex Regiment 

4th Battalion August 1914 : in Devonport, part of 8th Brigade in 3rd Division. 14 August 1914 : landed at Boulogne. 14 November 1915 : transferred to 63rd Brigade in 21st Division. 8 July 1916 : moved with the Brigade to 37th Division.

Action : The Battle of Mons and subsidiary actions 

23 - 24 August 1914. The BEF had its first encounter with the German Army at Mons. Using the defensive barrier of the Mons Conde Canal the BEF was able to delay the German advance partly through the accuracy and speed of its rifle fire, and partly through the heroism of individuals. The first VC?s of the war were awarded at Mons. Eventually the position at Mons became untenable and the BEF slipped away to start its long retreat to the Marne.

Served in the South African War. One of the first British officer battle casualties of the war (originally buried in Maisieres Communal Cemetery).

Detail :

CAPTAIN JONATHAN EDWARD KNOWLES, 4th BATTN. DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE'S OWN (MIDDLESEX REGIMENT) Born on the 21st May, 1882, at Sandgate, Queensland, Australia, and was the son of the late Edward Sugden Knowles and Mrs. Knowles, of Hawdon near Leeds. Captain Knowles was educated at Bradford Grammar School Yorkshire. He originally held a commission in the 2nd West Yorkshire Volunteer Battalion, and served with the 4th Durham Light Infantry (Militia) in the South African War, in 1902. He was present at operations in the Orange River and Cape Colonies, receiving the Queen's medal with three clasps. In 1903 he obtained a commission in the 1st Middlesex Regiment (long known as the Die Hards), becoming Lieutenant in January 1906, and being promoted into the 4th Battalion as Captain in February, 1914.

He embarked for active service with his battalion on the 13th August, 1914, and fell at Mons on Sunday, the 23rd August, 1914, while cheering and encouraging his men with great bravery. He fell with brother officer and Freemason Capt Kenneth James ROY of Albert Victor Lodge 2328. An account tell us that the attack on the Middlesex position began about 10.30 in the morning of Sunday, August 23, with a heavy artillery fire, which had lasted some while before the German infantry began to advance, disregarding all cover and firing erratically from the hip. Our men were well placed and protected, and offered a stubborn defence against desperate odds. Major Davy's company on the left was hard pressed, and its commander was wounded early in the day. As Major Abell with his company came up to its support he was shot down, as also were Captain Knowles and 2nd Lieut. Henstock. A third of this company fell in the advance ; but the rest reached their comrades in the firing-line, and for the time made the trenches in this part secure. The centre of the Middlesex line was held by Captain Oliver's company, who from a well-concealed trench took a heavy toll from the enemy, peppering away for all they were worth as if at manoeuvres. Here, also, as the day wore on, the pressure became severe, and two companies of the Royal Irish were brought up in support. On the right, at Obourg bridge, Captain Roy had been killed, and Captain Glass was wounded.

Captain Knowles was a very keen sportsman, a very good shot with the rifle, obtaining many good heads in India and Burma and was also keen on regimental sports. He married Viva Brabazon Bagot, granddaughter of the late Colonel Charles Oldfield and left three children: Nina Mary, born 1910; Viva Joan, born 1912: and Jonathan Maynard, born 1913.

His death is reported in the Shipley Times and Express on the 11th of September 1914 and the Army & Navy Gazette on the 12th September 1914. The details of his estate amounting to £115,135 was also recorded in the Liverpool Daily Post on the 30th November 1914.

He is commemorated in by a stained glass window, left light behind the altar in the chancel of St John the Evangelist Church, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

[Unknown Source:]" “A” Company, 4th Battalion, The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment)
Born at Sandgate in Queensland on 21 May 1882, Captain Knowles had begun his military career with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, The Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) before joining the 4th Militia Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry and seeing active service in South Africa in 1902 during the closing months of the Boer War, for which he later received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with three clasps. Knowles was commissioned as a Second-Lieutenant with The Middlesex Regiment on 4 July 1903 and served with the 1st Battalion in India, Burma and Aden. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 14 January 1906 and after attaining his Captaincy was posted to the 4th Battalion at Raglan Barracks in Devonport on 1 February 1914. He embarked for France with “A” Company of the 4th Middlesex on 13 August 1914 and landed at Boulogne the following day.

On 23 August Knowles was with his Company in positions close to the railway line that ran between Obourg and Nimy and came into action in support of the forward companies of the 4th Middlesex as they tried to stem the German assault. It is frequently recounted that Captain Knowles was killed beside the Officer Commanding “A” Company, Major William Henry Abell that day, but the facts are rather different.

Captain Knowles was in actuality mortally wounded on 23 August and was taken from the battlefield at Obourg across the canal to Feldlazarett No. 3 IX Armee-Korps at Maisieres, where he died of his wounds two days later. The correct date of his death is recorded on German burial records (now preserved in the Archives of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission), which confirm that he died on 25 August 1914.

Originally buried in Plot I, Row A, Grave 3 of Maisieres Communal Cemetery, the remains of Captain Knowles were exhumed in January 1957 and moved to Cement House Cemetery near Langemark, where he was reinterred at Plot XVIII, Row D, Grave 16.

While it is technically correct that Captain Knowles is remembered as one of the first British officer battle casualties of the Great War, as he was mortally wounded, the date currently recorded on his headstone of 23 August 1914 is incorrect, as confirmed from the German records for those soldiers of both sides who had died at Feldlazarett No. 3 at Maisieres and had been buried in the Communal Cemetery. This also provides the explanation for a question which is frequently asked – if Captain Knowles had been killed beside Major Abell, why wasn’t he buried at St Symphorien Military Cemetery? The answer lies in the evidence recorded in the German burial records and explains why he is now buried at Cement House Cemetery."

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Pentalpha No. 974 E.C.Yorkshire (West Riding)

7th February 1899
2nd May 1899
4th July 1899

Source :

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Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2021-08-14 15:15:52