Leonard Knowles, Private 205140, 12th Bn. Tank Corps
Killed in action 2nd September 1918 in France, aged 25
Son of Frederick William and Mary Hannah Knowles, of 251 Hurdsfield Rd, Macclesfield.
Before joining the Army, Leonard worked as a Weighbridgeman for the London and North Western Railway at Oldham.
An entry for Private Knowles was printed in volume 5 of De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1918:
KNOWLES, LEONARD, Gunner, No 205140, Tank Corps, son of Frederick William Knowles, of 251 Hurdsfield Road, Macclesfield, Gardener, by his wife, Mary Hannah, dau. of Thomas Brownson; b. Droylsden, Lancashire, 15 June 1893; educ. Tabley park and North Road schools; was a clerk on the L. and N. W. Railway; joined the Cheshire Yeomanry 15 Oct 1914; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 2 Jan to 2 Sept 1918; was transferred to the Tank Corps 15 Jun 1917, and was killed in action 2 Sept 1918. Buried south-east of Mory and north-north-east of Bapaume. Unmarried.
The death of Private Knowles was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 20 September 1918:
Mr and Mrs Knowles, 251, Hurdsfield Road, Macclesfield, have been informed that their son, Gunner Leonard Knowles, Tank Corps, has been killed in France. He enlisted in the Earl of Chester’s Yeomanry and was afterwards transferred to the Tank Corps. A letter from the captain states that Gunner Knowles was killed on September 2nd. Second-Lieut. Lowe also wrote: “… your son went into action with me on August 2nd and Sept 2nd. We went out at 5.15am. On Sept 2nd we had a terrible time. I had two men killed out of the seven, and the rest were all bleeding with splinters and badly gassed. Immediately they called out that your son had been hit. I went up to him but he was dead. Death in his case was instantaneous. It is a great loss to me to lose such a splendid fellow.” Gunner Knowles… attended Hurdsfield Church. He was 25 years of age and prior to enlistment was employed as a clerk on the London and North-Western Railway at Oldham.
Private Leonard Knowles is buried at the Mory Abbey Military Cemetery, France, in grave ref. IV. C. 1. His mother asked for the inscription “KEEP HIM O LORD” to be added to his headstone. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Leonard Knowles, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
National Railway Museum, Fallen Railwaymen database
London & North Western Railway Roll of Honour
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1918 (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 20 September 1918