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.
I always keep a look out for these Civilian Memorials because it is very easy to find the military graves in a cemetery, but not as simple to find the graves of those who were killed during the bombing of the cities. Surprisingly there are not too many of them around, but I am hoping to expand on the few that I already have and to add them into this page too. This particular memorial is in Portsmouth Kingston Cemetery.
Portsmouth, because of its extensive naval dockyard was a target for the Luftwaffe during World War 2, and it was inevitable that bombs would fall on civilian areas.
There is no real way to know whether the people named here are buried in individual graves, there is however a large space behind the memorial, and it is possible that there is a mass grave there, or elsewhere in this sprawling cemetery. Sadly, many of those killed were not identified.
Probably one of the more frustrating War Memorials I have photographed in ages. I was in the area for a job interview so did not have my camera, but used my phone instead, but the sun was just in the wrong place, and each time I wanted to shoot the pic a car/pedestrian/van/dog and everything inbetween would come between me an my lens.
St Faith’s Church, Havant
The memorial has plaques for both World Wars on it, and I do have images of them. Because Portsmouth and Gosport are “Naval Towns” there is a predominance of naval casualties to be found in places like Havant which is not too far from the two cities.
The memorial may be found at Google Earth Co-ordinates: 50.851348°, -0.981641°
“For their gallant conduct during an engagement with the Boers at Elandsfontein on the 16th January, 1881, in advancing for 500 yards, under a very heavy fire from a party of about 60 Boers, to bring out of action a private of the 21st Foot who had been severely wounded; in attempting which Lance-Corporal Murray was himself severely wounded.”