(Service number 50703)
|First Rank||Sergeant||Last Rank||Trooper|
|Date||3 November 1891||Place of Birth||Malham, Yorkshire, England|
|Date||3 April 1917||Age||25 years|
|Address at Enlistment||Geraldine, Canterbury|
|Previous Military Experience||8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles - still serving|
|Next of Kin||R. KNOWLES (father), Geraldine|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||35th Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles Brigade|
|Date||21 February 1918|
|Embarked From||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||9 October 1961||Age||69 years|
|Place of Death||"The Downs", Geraldine|
|Notices||Press, 10 October 1961|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Christchurch Crematorium|
|New Zealand Memorials|
George Knowles was born on 3 November 1891 at Malham, Yorkshire, the youngest of the three sons of Richard and Mary Ann (née Brennand) Knowles. In 1899 the family came out to New Zealand and took a farm on the Geraldine Downs. After four years, Mr Knowles purchased a sheep run in the Four Peaks district, and there the family lived for many years. Both George and his brother William competed for the Geraldine Morris Tube Shooting Club. George enlisted on 3 April 1917 at Ashburton. By this time his two older brothers, John and William, were already at the front. He was farming on his account at Geraldine. Both George and his brother William named their father as next-of-kin – R. Knowles, Geraldine.
He was already serving with the 8th South Canterbury Rifles. The Temuka and Geraldine soldiers of the 30th Reinforcements were given an enthusiastic farewell at Temuka. The soldiers and their relations were entertained at luncheon in the Drill Hall by the ladies of the Temuka Patriotic Entertainment Committee. The Mayor of Geraldine said that “the men who were going that day were well up to the standard of previous reinforcements, strong, active fellows, and he was and all were sure they would live up to the traditions set by those who had gone before. He wished the men God speed and a safe return.” Of the 618 men who had already gone from the Temuka and Geraldine districts, 63 had made the supreme sacrifice. Headed by the Brass Band, the men marched to the railway station, where a large crowd had assembled. Further short speeches were delivered and a number of Maori women sang farewell songs. As the train steamed out three hearty cheers were given for the soldiers. Among those forming the draft was G. Knowles.
Sergeant G. Knowles actually embarked with the Mounted Rifles Brigade of the 35th Reinforcements on 21 February 1918, headed for Suez, Egypt. Mr R. Knowles of Geraldine Downs received word that his son, Trooper George Knowes, was admitted to the 27th General Hospital in Egypt on 18 October 1918, suffering from a slight attack of malaria. George had been transferred to a convalescent camp wneh word came through in early November that his brother William had been wounded in the face. G. Knowles, of Geraldine, returned home with the Egyptian draft by the “Kaikoura” (Draft 230) which was due on 17 April 1919. “Troopers George Knowles and J. Kelliher arrived home from Egypt on Sunday [late August 1919] afternoon by special troop train. The Mayor at Geraldine received no notice of the expected arrival of the soldiers; in fact, the first he heard of it was from one of the parents, who told him of his son’s arrival. This accounts for no official welcome home being arranged for.” Mr G. Knowles, Mr W. Knowles, Mr and Mrs Knowles, and Miss Knowles were all invited to the Soldiers’ Peace Ball hosted by the Geraldine Home and Empire League in October 1919.
After the war George farmed with his father at Four Peaks. Mr George Knowles, of “Four Peaks”, had the honour of being best man at an Ashburton wedding in May 1923. In April 1930 he left to attend another wedding, this time in Christchurch. He married Felicia Dorothea MacGibbon in 1939. He then moved to a farm management position at Temuka, before retiring to The Downs, Geraldine. George Knowles died on 9 October 1961 at his residence, “The Downs”, Geraldine, aged 69. He was cremated at the Christchurch Crematorium. George was survived by his wife and his only sister, Elizabeth, who died unmarried in 1971. Of his two brothers who both served in the war, John died of pneumonia in December 1918 in England and William died in April 1961 in Queensland, Australia, where he gone after the war. Mrs Mary Ann Knowles died on Christmas Day 1927 at the family home, “Airedale”, Four Peaks; and Mr Richard Knowles died there on 20 October 1937.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [06 October 2021]; Timaru Herald, 26 March 1917, 29 May 1917, 2 April 1919, 27 December 1927, 10 April 1930, Temuka Leader, 29 May 1917, 26 October 1918, 3 & 24 April 1919, 28 October 1919, 2 August 1923, 31 December 1927, Press, 8 November 1918, 19 May 1923, 21 October 1937, 10 October 1961 (Papers Past) [04, 05, 11 & 12 October 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [12 October 2021]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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