David William KNOWLES
Rank: Gunner
Number: 294472
Unit: 145th Heavy Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 8 May 1918
Age: 38
Cemetery: Louvencourt Military Cemetery, Somme, France

Nothing is known of David’s early life, other than he was born in Stockport. He was a blacksmith by trade and, in the late autumn of 1898, he married Elizabeth Hamnett, also aged 18, at St Mary’s Church. The next year, they had a son who they called Samuel and, in the early months of 1901, William was born. They lived at 35 Lord Street on Gorsey Bank.

By the time of the Great War, David was engineer at the hospital at Shaw Heath belonging to the Stockport Union (workhouse) – later St Thomas’ Hospital. The family was now living at 77 Celtic Street. David was a regular visitor to Hall Street Conservative Club. When War was declared on 4 August 1914, David was amongst the first to enlist – joining up on the 9th. He originally joined the local 6th (Territorial) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment but, whilst still in the UK, he transferred to the artillery in September 1915 (and was given the service number 4104).

145th Battery was also a Territorial Unit. Unfortunately, no records remain of its day-to-day activities and the circumstances of David’s death cannot now be established. The units of the Garrison Artillery fired the heaviest weapons in the arsenal of the British Army and were based some considerable way behind the front line. They would, of course, become targets for the Germans’ own heavy guns and most artillerymen who died had become victims of enemy shelling.

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