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Born: 1883 Sandgate, Queensland, Australia
Died: 23 August 1914, Mons
Buried: Maisieres Communal Cemetery then moved to Cement House Cemetery
Address: Underwood Villa, Greengates
Parents: Edward Sugden Knowles & Frances Mary
Spouse: Viva Brabazon
Siblings: Rupert
Occupation: Soldier
Organisations/clubs: Trustee Greengates Church
Rank: Capt
Rolls of Honour: Greengates
Children: Three
Regiment: Middlesex
Jonathan Edward Knowles
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Jonathan Edward Knowles was one of the first British officers killed in WW1. Born in Queensland, Australia in 1883, his father was from Bradford and his mother from New South Wales. At some stage they must have returned to England because Jonathan was educated at Sedbergh and Bradford Grammar School. By 1901 his father had died and Jonathan, along with his mother and brother Rupert were living at Woodcliffe, Rawdon. Ten years later he was a serving officer and appears in a census of soldiers in India, marked as ‘absent in England.’ He appears together with his wife, Viva Brabazon, and 11 month old daughter Mina Mary, who had been born in India, again staying with his mother at Underwood Villa. We learn more about his life from the reports in the Shipley Times & Express that followed his death. Capt Jonathan Edward Knowles, who has been killed in action, was serving with the 4th Battalion of the famous ‘Die Hards’ Duke of Cambridge’s Own Middlesex Regt, into which he had only recently been promoted from Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion of the old 37th. The battalion is one of the new ones raised by Lord Middleton during the Boer War and this is the first time the unit has been abroad. Capt Knowles has, however, had considerable experience of foreign service and only came home early this year after having served with the 37th in Burmah, Madras, Bengal, Aden etc. He was commissioned to the line in July 1900. He was in South Africa in 1902 on active service with the 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. He got a commission in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Prince of Wales’ Own West Yorkshire Regt (Bradford Rifles) in July 1901 and transferred to the ‘Faithful Durhams’ Militian in the following January.
He was a member of a well-well known family in this neighbourhood, his widowed mother living at Rawdon 11 September 1914 page 4 Capt Jonathan Knowles, a representative of a well-known local family, has been killed in action whilst serving with the British Expeditionary Force. Though Greengates mourns today the loss of a gallant officer, she has reason to feel proud. A man has fallen who, had he wished, could have lived the life of indolence and
ease, but be it said to his honour, he preferred the nobler path. Some will remember him as a youth at Rawdon indulging in boyish pranks with friends who also are now serving their country. Others will remember him as a student at the Grammar School, Bradford, endeavouring to inspire enthusiasm for cricket and football. Sedbergh, too, the nursery of some of Yorkshire’s best, will do honour to his memory. On the occasion of the Boer War, though it had been his intention to proceed to Oxford, the call of his country prevailed and he went through the South African campaign with the 4th Durham Light Infantry. He then applied for a commission in the regular army, obtained a high position on the examination list and was drafted into the 1st Middlesex Regiment, then in India. Returning in the early part of this year to Woolwich, he received his captaincy in the 4th Middlesex Regt Whilst he was in India, cholera broke out amongst the troops and he, along with several other officers of his regiment, was foremost in
joining in games with his men to prevent what is known as ‘cholera panic.’ In memory of his sister, Nellie Power, the late wife of the present vicar of Greengates, together with other members of his family he provided for a endowment of £300 a year for the parish of which he was a patron. He was a soldier, a Christian and a man. Greengates is proud of its first contribution to the parish’s Roll of Honour. Telegrams with expressions of sympathy have been sent by the King and Queen and also by Lord Kitchener to the deceased captain’s widow, who with three children are left to mourn their loss. 11 September 1914 page 8 Capt J E Knowles, 4th Battalion Middlesex Regt, of Whitehall Chase, Bordon, Hants, and of Rawdon, who was killed in action on23rd August last at Mons, eldest son of the late Mr E Knowles of Rawdon, left estate of the gross value of £115,136 (worth £12.9m in 2018), of which the not personality has been sworn as £14,623 4 December 1914
Greengates RoH Greengates RoH Greengates RoH
The Vicar of Bradford, Dr Guy Warman, on Saturday conducted the dedication ceremony of a frontal, hangings , burse, chalice veil, bookmarkers and two stained glass windows at Greengates Parish Church, one in memory of Capt Jonathan E Knowles, of the 4th Middlesex Regt, who was kill on 23rd August 1914 at Mons and who was one of the trustees of the living, and the other in memory of the late Rev W H Power, MA, the first vicar of the parish. The windows, beautiful specimens of stained glass artistry, were by Jones & Willis, London, the one being entitled ‘Adoration’ and the other ‘Annunciation.’ The Church was well filled by a reverent congregation. In his address after unveiling the windows the vicar said the gifts were for lives laid down, in the one case by one who had made the supreme sacrifice in giving his life for King and country, a man well known to him and the friend of those who attended that church… So to their brothers who had made the great sacrifice, the one in the service of the country, the other in the service of God – and he was not sure that they were not the same sacrifice – they sang the song there. They had crossed ‘the great divide’ yet one day we should, with them, sing the song together. Till then let us worship here and they there, doing all we could here to keep their memory green by loyal service. 1 June 1917
Thanks to Keith Roberts for the photo of the Knowles window