Richard John Knowlton AM

Richard John Knowlton (11/05/1899 – 24/08/1981) was awarded the Albert medal for participating in the events of 14/09/1917 at Horsea Island, Portsmouth.

“He was 18 years old and serving in the Royal Navy when a seaplane collided with a Poulsen mast and remained wedged in it. The pilot, Acting Flight Commander E.A. De Ville, was thrown on to the aircraft wing and rendered unconscious. Knowlton, with Deckhand George Abbott GC and Seaman Nicholas Ruth AM at once climbed 100ft up the mast, where Ruth, making use of a boatswain’s chair, which moves up and down the inside of the mast, was hoisted up another 200ft to where the aircraft was lodged. He then climbed out on to the plane and secured De Ville with a masthead gantline until the other men arrived, then they lowered him to the ground.
The three men were well aware of the damaged and insecure condition of the mast which was bent at an angle where the seaplane was wedged. One of the three supports of the mast was fractured, and, so far as the men knew the mast or seaplane might at anytime have collapsed”

All three were awarded the Albert Medal, but Ruth died before he could exchange it for a GC. Knowlton declined to exchange his AM for a GC.

He is buried in London Road Cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire. 

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