Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 28, 1889
Place of BirthPortsmouth, Hampshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMary Jane Knight, mother, 28 Sophia Place, Portsmouth
Trade / CallingPainter
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number6062
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionLord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Cavalry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentJune 23, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 4, 1977
Age at Death89

Knight, Charles Morris

Charles Morris Knight was born on 28 August 1889 in Landport, Portsea Island, Hampshire England. Landport is a district located near the centre of Portsea Island and is part of the city of Portsmouth. His mother Mary Jane Lonnon, also from Landport, had married Alfred William Knight in 1867, marriage registered in the district of Portsea Island. From Portsea Island, Alfred was a master coach painter and together the couple had three, possibly four children, Alfred August, Ellen Jane (1870-1872), Harry Christopher, and Ada Annie who was born in 1876, after Alfred’s death during the last quarter of 1875. After the death of Alfred, Mary Jane supported the family by doing laundry and working a mangler. Over the years she gave birth to a number of children, all using the surname of Knight: Frederick Morris, Margaret, John Morris, Mabel Elizabeth, Charles Morris, and Grace. According to Charles’ marriage record his father was Frederick Morris.

By the time of the 1911 census Charles was working as a house decorator. Along with his brother John and sister Margaret, Charles immigrated to Canada shortly after the census was taken, arriving in Quebec aboard the Royal Edward on 10 May. According to the passenger list, Charles, painter, John, labourer, and Margaret, cook, were on their way to Keewatin in northwestern Ontario near Kenora. In time for the 1911 Canada census, Charles and John were listed as lodging with the Fred Parfitt family on Superior Street in Keewatin with both working at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company, Charles as a labourer and John as a packer.

With occupation given as painter and his mother Mary Jane back in England as next of kin, Charles signed his attestation papers on 23 June 1915 at Camp Sewell in Manitoba. He gave his year of birth as 1890 and previous military service as two years with the Hampshire Fortress Royal Engineers. Charles was taken on strength with the Canadian Calvary Depot at Canterbury, England on 10 July and then transferred to Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), joining the unit in the field on 12 December.

In April of 1917 Charles was sentenced to 21 days Field Punishment No 1 for not complying with and order and for insolence to a NCO. In July he was granted a ten day leave. In mid March of 1918 Charles was admitted to the No 50 Casualty Clearing Station (vdg), transferred to No 51 General Hospital in Etaples by the end of the month. In late April he rejoined LSH and was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK in late August.

Battle Honours for LSH: Festubert, 1915, Somme, 1916, ’18, Bezantin, Pozieres, Flers-Courcelette, Cambrai, 1917, ’18, St Quentin, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, St Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Pursuit to Mons, FRANCE AND FLANDERS, 1915-18

With the end of the war, Charles returned to England in mid April of 1919 and embarked for Halifax on 21 May. He was discharged from service on 2 June.

On 10 May 1920, in Kenora, Charles married Dora Ethel Rose. Born in 1893 in Earlsfield, Wandsworth, Surrey, Dora was the daughter of William and Amelia (née Day) Rose who had married in 1889 in Battersea, Wandsworth. Dora had arrived in Canada aboard the Corsican on 5 May. By the time of the 1921 census the couple, along with newborn baby Irene Hilda, were living in Winnipeg where Charles was working as a painter. In June of 1925 Dora and Irene travelled to England for a visit, returning aboard the Montclare that October. Further details of Charles’ life are limited. A 1949 Voters list found Charles and Dora living in Etobicoke, Ontario with Charles working as a operator and by 1962 the couple had retired to Lincoln on the outskirts of St Catharines. It is not known if they had other children.

At some point after retirement Charles and Dora moved back to England. Dora’s death was registered during the 1st quarter of 1970 in the registration district of Battle, Sussex. Charles died on 14 January 1977, also registered in Battle.

Charles’ brother John enlisted with the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve in September of 1914, serving for the duration of the war. Although both were living in Keewatin, his sister Margaret had married Robert McDowall in 1912 in Saint Boniface, Manitoba. Robert served for two and a half years with the Canadian Forestry Corps in England during the war. John died while visiting in Kenora in 1950 while Margaret died in 1965, interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora with Robert.

by Judy Stockham

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