[Skip to content]



Person Details
Nottinghamshire
Ernest Knowles was born in 1897 and was the son of George, a general dealer, and Sarah Ann Knowles née Wharmby of 8 Mount Pleasant, Nuncargate, Nottinghamshire. His father George was born in 1867 in Sheffield and his mother Sarah Ann Wharmby was born in 1873 in Kirkby in Ashfield. They were married in 1892; the marriage was recorded in the Basford Registration District. They went on to have 7 children all of whom were born in Nuncargate: Wilfred b1895, Haydn b1896, Ernest B1897, Horace b1898, George b1901, Arthur b1905 and Cyril b1908. In the 1911 census the family was living at 8 Mount Pleasant, Nuncargate, Kirkby in Ashfield. and shown as George 42 yrs, a general dealer who was living with his wife Sarah Ann 38 yrs, who was assisting in her husband's business, Wilfred 16 yrs and Haydn 15 yrs who were also assisting in the business, Ernest 14 yrs, Horace 13 yrs, George 10 yrs a schoolboy, Arthur 6 yrs a schoolboy and Cyril 3 yrs. Arthur died accidentally three years later in 1914. Ernest was killed in action in 1916, Haydn and Horace were both killed in action on 21 March 1918 and Wilfred was taken prisoner the same day. Their youngest brother Cyril committed suicide in March 1920; he was 12 years old. (See 'Extra Information').
In 1911 he was assisting in his father's general dealing business.
15 Sep 1916
19
798848 - CWGC Website
19369
Private
2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Private Ernest Knowles enlisted at Sutton in Ashfield and served with the 2nd battalion Sherwood Foresters. He landed in France on 17th August 1915. Ernest was killed in action on 15th September 1916. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Theipval Memorial.
His brother Arthur Knowles, aged 10, died after being hanged accidentally while playing on 26th September 1914. Article published in the Nottingham Daily Express, 29th September 1914 :- “IMITATED “THE PICTURES.” “Boy Accidentally Hangs Himself While Playing “Cowboys” “SAD NUNCARGATE FATALITY. “An instance of the influence cinema pictures have on the juvenile mind was provided at an inquest yesterday afternoon [28th September 1914] by Mr. D. Whittingham, the district coroner. The deceased was a ten-year-old boy named Arthur Knowles, son of George Knowles, Nuncargate, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, who was accidentally hanged on Saturday [26th September 1914] whilst playing in a stable adjoining the house of his parents. “The coroner said that prior to the inquest he had had a conversation with two schoolboys in Nuncargate, and they told him they saw cowboys at “the pictures,” and this led them to play the cowboy game. They used swords of wood and pretended they had a prisoner, and then someone came to the rescue. The coroner told the jury they could only think that this boy had seen such pictures and was so impressed by them as to bring into actual usage a rope with which it was pretended to hang someone. The game was a foolish one, and children should be warned by parents and teachers as to its danger. “Ernest Bettridge, aged 10, said he had been playing with the deceased and his brother Cyril. Cyril came out of the shed and asked witness to go in, and on entering found deceased hanging with a rope round his neck. The feet were near the ground, but not touching it. Cyril lifted the body up, whilst witness got up to the beam and untied the rope. The boy did not speak. “In reply to the coroner witness said they had learned this game from “the pictures,” and had made themselves wooden swords and played “cowboys and Indians.” Witness had never got a rope and pretended hang anyone, but he had seen them trying to hang people in the pictures. Deceased's father said he believed the idea of the game was that the deceased was to tie a rope round his neck, allowing sufficient length for him touch the ground, and no doubt the boy thought the rope was long enough for him to do so. He would then pretend to hang, and the other boys would go to the rescue. Unfortunately, in this case, the rope was not long enough, and that was how he met with his death. “The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.” His brother Pte. Haydn Knowles, 2/6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, was killed in action on 21st March 1918. His name is commemorated on the Arras memorial aged 22 yrs. His brother Pte. Horace Knowles, 2/7th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (Robin Hood Rifles), was killed in action on 21st March 1918 aged 19. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. His brother Pte. Wilfred Knowles, “A” Company, 2/5th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, was taken prisoner on 21st March 1918. He was aged 23 at the time. The youngest brother Cyril committed suicide in March 1920. Mansfield Reporter, 26 March 1920: ‘Suicide of Boy of Twelve. Short Life Crammed with Tragedy. 'An extraordinary case of suicide, that of a boy of 12 years, was investigated by the Notts district Coroner on Saturday. The only witness at the inquest was George Knowles, father of the lad, a general dealer who unfolded a story of the tragedies which had befallen the family. Four sons had served in the Army and only one of them had returned alive after long sufferings in Germany as a prisoner of war. One was killed on the Somme in September 1916, and two others were claimed on the fateful 21st March, 1918. Six years ago another lad was hung accidentally in a loft whilst playing with two other boys – one being a neighbour’s lad who has since been killed in the pit, and the other, his brother Cyril Knowles upon whom the inquest was held. 'Deceased’s Ill-Luck. 'The career of Cyril Knowles, though only of 12 years’ duration, hs been marked with the tragedy, the most outstanding feature being when, a few years ago, he was descending a hill of a ska-cycle he ran full force into a lamp post with his forehead, requiring hospital treatment. He did a lot of reading, said the father, but it was mostly prizes awarded to the family at Sunday schools, and, in reply to the Coroner, said he would not have a ‘penny dreadful’ in the house. On Thursday night Cyril was thought to be in bed, but finding it was not the case, the mother went further in search of him, and found him in the closet [?water closet ie outside toilet]. The witness went out, and on carrying the boy in found found him to be dead, having been hanging from a nail on the wall with a short piece of string. The coroner commented on the extraordinary circumstances of the case, and said he could only return a verdict that the boy committed suicide whilst in a state of unsound mind.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on