Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Henry's father Walter had, by 1911 worked for the Rail Companies as a Carman and Carrier for over 20 years. He probably moved to Portsmouth around the time he started work on the railways. He married his wife Esther in 1885 and by 1891 they were living at 3 Rope Walk in the Greetham Street area with three daughters, Esther, Jessie and Mabel.
By the 1901 Census the family had grown by the birth of three boys, Walter, Percy (later Henry Percy) and William and they had moved to 6 Salem Street, between Commercial Road and Russell Street. The Swan Street School was only two doors away from them so it's quite likely some or all of the children attended there. Unlike many families who had multiple addresses in the same period the Knotts remained at Salem Street until after the 1911 Census when the only children left at home were Mabel, Henry Percy (as he was then called) and William.
Henry Knott was 19 years old at the outbreak of war, quite old enough to enlist, but he did not do so until December 1916 when he joined the Coldstream Guards. He was not posted to France until October 1917 but he was there for barely six weeks before he was killed on 27th November, during the Cambrai operations, when fighting was concentrated around Bourlon Wood.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Private Henry Percy Knott (20953), 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, died 27/11/1917, aged 23. He has no known grave. Remembered on Cambrai Memorial, Louverval.
Henry Knott is remembered on the All Saints Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph (as Knott P). He is listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War' Section X, p. 131, which described his rank as 'Guardsman' and gave his address as 37 Wingfield Street, Portsmouth.
Tim Backhouse
January 2014