Frederick Elliot Knight




Frederick Elliot Knight – Diane Horsfield’s Granddad


My grandad Frederick was born on the 15th January 1891 in Nottingham. He was a regular soldier when the First World War broke out having joined the 1st battalion The Grenadier Guards on 31st December 1907. His seven year term of service was due to expire on 31st December 1914; he didn’t leave the Grenadier Guards until 31st December 1919 and at this point he was transferred to the Army Reserve Class B.

Grandad & his three eldest sons during WW2, my dad is on the far right

Grandad & his three eldest sons during WW2,
my dad is on the far right

Frederick was part of the British Expeditionary Force, allegedly referred to by the Kaiser as that “contemptible little army” and arrived in France on 4th October 1914. He was wounded for the first time on 9th November 1914 during the first battle of Ypres. At First Ypres all but four officers and two hundred men of the 1st Battalion fell in action, so you could say that he was fortunate to have been wounded. Frederick was shipped back to England to recover from his wounds and did not return to France until January 1917. He was wounded again in April 1918 and again on 19th October 1918. Like many men who fought in the war, Frederick never spoke about his experiences but I was told by my father that the scars from the shrapnel wounds he sustained were clearly visible on his back and legs. Grandad served in the Home Guard during the Second World War and died in 1961.

I was four when my grandad died so I don’t really remember him. When my sister and I were clearing out my dad’s house I was thrilled to find the little brass tin issued to soldiers by Princess Mary at Christmas 1914 that must have belonged to grandad.

Princess Mary Tin

Princess Mary Tin

It is very battered and tarnished and the chocolate and cigarettes are gone but inside I found the dog tag that my dad wore during the Second World War. This little box is now one of my most treasured possessions.

The original exhibition display: Frederick Elliot Knight