The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Frederick William Laurence Knuckey

KNUCKEY, Frederick William Laurence

Frederick William Laurence Knuckey was born in 1880 in Eaglehawk, a suburb of Bendigo, the gold-mining town of Victoria. His father, Joseph Knuckey, had been born in Cornwall and brought to Australia when he was two. He had married Mary Ann Fardy in 1874 and Frederick was the fourth of nine children. Joseph Knuckey owned the California Hotel in the nearby suburb of California Gully and the family later lived in Barnard Street, in the centre of Bendigo.

Frederick Knuckey was working as Manager in the State Savings Bank, where two of his brothers also worked, when he enlisted in February 1916. Described in the Bendigo Advertiser as “another good week at the Bendigo recruiting depot”, twenty one young men passed out on 14th February. Frederick Knuckey was thirty-five years of age. Attached to the Signal School of the Australian Infantry Force he arrived in England in August and was sent to France in November. A year later, still in France, he was gassed while in action and withdrawn to hospital. His younger brother, Albert Moses, who was also in the Signals Corps, was also gassed around the same time.

Frederick rejoined his unit in France in February 1918 but by May he was back in hospital until October, much of it in Sutton Veny, the Australian hospital in Wiltshire.

Presumably Frederick Knuckey was on leave in Ireland and returning to England when he travelled on RMS Leinster on 10 October 1918. He did not survive the sinking, nor was his body recovered. His name is inscribed on the Hollybank Memorial in Southampton and on the Bendigo War Memorial, and there is a headstone to his memory beside his parents’ grave in the Eaglehawk Cemetery, Bendigo.




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