William Knowles was the son of William and Jane Knowles of 12 Alma Street, Colley Gate, Cradley and worked at Neal's tea stores. He enlisted, probably in 1917, in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He went to the 14th Battalion which was deeply involved in the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917 in the fight along the Menin Road and for Polderhoek Chateau. In November they had a dramatic change of venue when they were sent to aid the Italian army on the River Piave. When the danger had gone, they returned to the Western Front to reinforce the armies driven back in the Spring Offensive of March 1918. They arrived as the Battle of the Lys started on the 9th April and their sector was the Forest of Nieppe and the village of Thiennes. A fierce battle lasted for three days in mid-April and the enemy attack was blunted. Trench warfare and shelling continued for six weeks and casualties followed. Private William Knowles was killed in action on the 29th May. He was 19 years of age and is buried at Thiennes Cemetery, Morbecque, (A 15) and commemorated on the Cradley and Halesowen Memorials.
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