Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lance Corporal John Luther Knight, 4th East Surrey Regt

In October 1918, Chailey Parish Magazine records a Corporal J L Knight serving with the 4th East Surrey Regiment.  This information is repeated up to and including July 1919. 

J L Knight is probably John Luther Knight who appears on the 1901 census England and Wales, living with his parents at Chailey.  The household at Longridge Farm, North  Chailey comprised William Knight (head, a farmer/employer aged 29) and his wife Naomi Mary (aged 31).  Children living with them are noted as: William Phelps Knight (aged five), John Luther (aged two), Naomi Mary (aged one) and Edward Jesse (aged two months). 

There is no medal index card that I found for John Luther Knight but there are a number of East Surrey men by the name of John Knight and this avenue requires further research.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Private D Knight, 2/1st Sussex Yeomanry

Little is known about this man and no matches have been on the 1901 Census of England & Wales or medal index cards. 

In December 1916, Chailey Parish Magazine notes: Knight, Private D, 3/1st Sussex Yeomanry and in January 1918 this information is updated with the information that he is now serving with the 2/1st Sussex Yeomanry.  He continued with this unit until the end of the war. 

The 3/1st Sussex Yeomanry was formed in Brighton in July 1915 and was affiliated to the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Canterbury.  It was disbanded in January 1917 and the personnel transferred to the 2/1st Yeomanry of the 4th (Reserve) Royal Sussex Regiment.  It seems likely therefore, that D Knight transferred to the 2/1st at this point.

The 2/1st Sussex Yeomanry had been formed in September 1914 and by January 1917 it had become the 8th (Surrey and Sussex) Yeomanry Cyclist Regiment. It remained in Britain until April 1918 when it was sent to Ireland with the 3rd Cyclist Brigade.

207058 Corporal Mechanic Stephen King, RAF

Stephen King was born at Plumpton on 4th February 1889 (although his surviving naval papers state Lewes as the place of birth).  He appears on the 1901 census as a twelve year old living at The Swan Inn, Chailey..  Alfred King (aged 48) was the inn keeper (and a farmer) and he and his wife (Ellen King, aged 49), had three children living with them at the time the census was taken: Jesse King (aged 18, working as a carpenter’s apprentice), Kate King (aged 15 and noted as a “mother’s help”) and 12 year old Stephen.

He joined the Royal Naval Air Service at Portsmouth on 29th July 1915 for the duration of hostilities.  He was five feet, eight and a half inches tall, had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.  It was noted that he has a scar on right buttock.  He gave his occupation as carpenter (although later, when transferring to the RAF, he would give his occupation as carpenter and joiner. 

He was given the rating of air mechanic 1st class and the service number F7058 and joined HMS President II at Polegate, Sussex where he remained until 22nd September 1916.  Chailey Parish Magazine first notes him serving his King and Country in September 1915 and the following month, on the 30th October, he married Daisy Annie (maiden name unknown) at Oxted, Surrey.  The couple would settle at Oakglen Street, Lewes and a daughter, Cecily, would be born to them on 9th December 1916. 

Between 23rd September and 20th October 1916, Stephen was at HMS Daedalus, the Fleet Air Arm Headquarters at Lee on Solent, before moving back to HMS President II at Polegate where he remained until New Year’s Eve 1917. 

On 1st April 1918, on the formation of the Royal Air Force, Stephen King transferred to the RAF.  He was based back at HMS Daedalus and by the end of the year had the rating of corporal mechanic and the new number 207058.  His trade classification was airship rigger. 

He was sent to the discharged centre at Crystal Palace on 21st January 1919, the medical board there classifying him as category A.  On 20th February 1919 he was transferred to Class G, RAF Reserve, his character noted as very good and his ability as satisfactory.  The address he gave on discharge was 21 Devonport Road, St Annes, Lewes.

Jesse King

Little is known about this man.  He is possibly the 18 year old Jesse King who, in 1901 is living at The Swan Inn and working as a carpenter’s apprentice.  Alfred King (aged 48) was the inn keeper and farmer and he and his wife (Ellen King, aged 49), had three children living with them at the time the census was taken: Jesse, Kate King (aged 15 and noted as a “mother’s help”) and 12 year old Stephen King. 

Jesse appears only briefly in Chailey’s Parish Magazine and does not appear to have served.  He is noted in January 1916 as having attested and appears again in the same list in March and April 1916. 

Mick Pateman remembers Jesse King in later life: “He used to build the coffins and that.  He had a carpenter’s shop on Chailey Green when I went to school.  There was a carpenter’s shop, blacksmith’s shop, post office, butcher’s shop.  Durrant’s had the butcher’s shop.  The Post Office was in what they called the Reading Room.  Beard’s shop was on the Green.  There was a tailor there sitting up there cross-legged, sewing.  Chailey Green was the centre, everything was there and that seemed to keep South and North Chailey away [apart].”

2nd Lieutenant Brian Charles Hannan Kimmins, Royal Field Artillery (att RHA)

Brian Charles Hannan Kimmins was born in north London in 1899, his birth registered at Hendon, in September of that year.  He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales as the only son of Charles W Kimmins (aged 44) and Grace Kimmins (aged 30).  The family was living at what appears to be lodgings within Part of London University at Bermondsey.  Charles’ profession is noted as “Inspector of Sciences and Secretary of London University Extension [possibly] Society.”  The address, shared with a number of other academics and medical professionals, is noted as Bermondsey Settlement, Institution. 

Grace Kimmins, (later Dame Grace Kimmins), co-founded Chailey Heritage Hospital (previously the Chailey Union Workhouse) with Alice Rennie the following year.  The following information is taken from East Sussex County Council’s page on Chailey Heritage Hospital: 

“It is world-famous for its ground-breaking approach to orthopaedics. Originally it offered hospital treatment, education and training in craftwork to children with severe physical disabilities. Much of the philosophy of care derived from Grace Kimmins' husband, Dr C W Kimmins, who was an educational psychologist for the London County Council. Chailey Heritage was initially a private institution and relied heavily on donations for its survival. Grace Kimmins tirelessly and inventively raised funds for the hospital. She was well-connected and used her contacts to secure the patronage and support of royalty, the aristocracy, affluent businessmen and the press.”  

Brian Kimmins first appears in Chailey’s parish magazine in April 1917 as a cadet at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.  In December he is noted as a second lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery, attached to the Royal Horse Artillery and this information is then repeated monthly up to and including the final published roll call in July 1919. 

Brian Kimmins continued his military career after the First World War and during the Second World War, as lieutenant colonel (temporary brigadier) commanded the Home Counties District for a time.  As major general, he was latterly attached to the headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia and has the distinction of being the signatory on a loan document for carpets used in the Municipal Council Chamber at Singapore on 12th September 1945 for taking the Japanese surrender. Brian's younger brother Anthony Kimmins also served his King and Country during the First World War.