Frederick Knights

Date of birth: 1899
Place of birth: Bitterne Park, Southampton
Regiment: Royal Irish Fusiliers
Battalion: 1st
Rank / Service No: Private, 49913
Died: 26th May 1918, aged 18 years
Buried: Track “X” Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium (B.25)


Frederick was the second of 5 siblings born to James and Lydia Knights (nee Francis), who married in Portswood in 1897.

The family moved around in Southampton, being in Bitterne Park after the wedding before moving to 143 Osborne Road, Portswood around the 1911 Census.


Latterly they lived at 160 Broadlands Road, Highfield.


James was born in Suffolk in 1862. Interestingly, he died in Woodbridge in 1921….was he visiting or had the relationship with Lydia finished ??

Lydia was born in Southampton on 9 October 1871; she was 91 when she passed away in the city in 1963.


Frederick’s four sisters were all spinsters at the 1939 mini census.



Edith Rose   b. 8 October 1897 St Denys   d. 1985 Southampton at 87 years old.


Florence   b. 29 May 1902 Bitterne Park   d. 1991 Southampton at 89 years old.

Winifred Ethel   b. 27 February 1904 Bitterne Park   d. 1983 Southampton at 79 years old.

Margaret Lydia   b. 8 November 1906 Portswood   d. 1995 Southampton at 88 years old.



As can be taken from Frederick’s age, he would only have fought in the last few months of the war.

His battalion were in the 10th Brigade in the 4th Division when they landed at Boulogne on 23 August 1914.


In August 1917 they transferred to the 107th Brigade in the 36th (Ulster) Division and to the 108th Brigade on 8 February 1918.


Winston Churchill issued a note congratulating the 36th Ulster Division……


“ The record of the Thirty-Sixth Disivion will ever be the pride of Ulster. At Thiepval in the battle of the Somme on July 1st 1916; at Wytschaete on June 17th 1917, in the storming of the Messines Ridge; on the Canal Du Nord, in the attack on the Hindenburg Line of November 20th the same year; on March 21, 1918, near Fontaine-les-Clercs, defending their positions long after they isolated and surrounded by the enemy; and later in the month at Andechy in the days of ‘backs to the walls’, they acquired a reputation for conduct and devotion deathless in military history of the UK, and repeatedly signalized in the dispatches of the Commander-in-Chief.”


The site of the cemetery was between Allied and German lines in June 1917. It was begun by the 39th and 48th (south Midland) Divisions at the end of July 1917, when Commonwealth forces advanced on this front.


The cemetery was closed on 9 November 1917, except for the burial of Frederick and his battalion colleague Private Patrick Gray….it is not known why they were buried here.


Frederick’s headstone reads: “His life was given for others”



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 6th October 2016


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