Frederick (Fred) Knight (pictured below standing) was born in June 1894 probably at Tantaraboo west of Kilmore, the fifth child of Nehemiah Knights and Alicia Jane Ann Johnston. Sometimes their surname is recorded as Knights but in his army records Fred’s name is recorded as Knight. Fred served 3 years in B Company, 15th Light Horse before volunteering in the Great War.
Fred probably worked on his father’s farm and others at Tantaraboo as a labourer before enlisting on 19 November 1915 at Melbourne. After training at Royal Park, Melbourne, Fred joined the 21st Battalion in March 1917. His brothers Albert (4453) and Ralph (4455) also enlisted about the same time and joined the 21st Battalion. Fred’s cousin Arthur Harrington (pictured below seated) enlisted later.
The 21st Battalion, 11th Reinforcements, including Fred and his brothers, left Melbourne, on the RMS Orontes on 29 March 1916 for Egypt where he first served with the Anzac Police before joining his Battalion for France. During the Second Battle of Bullecourt Fred suffered trench fever and was transferred to England. His parents were advised on 10 July 1917. After recovering Fred rejoined his battalion in Belgium in November 1917.
In April 1918 Fred took part in defending the German Spring Offensive and later in the battles of Hamel, Amiens and Mont St Quentin. The 21st Battalion took part in the final Australian operation of the war at Montbrehain in October 1918 and was the last Australian battalion to be withdrawn.
The 21st was then disbanded and Fred was transferred to the 5th and later took leave in England. After returning to Melbourne on the Soudan on 29 June 1919, Fred immediately travelled home the next day. He was discharged on 13 August 1919 after serving 1361 days.
Fred received the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star. His name is recorded on the Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll, Kilmore Church of England Honour Roll and the Tantaraboo State School Honour Roll.
After the war Fred continued working as a labourer, married Frances Alice Jamieson in 1919 and later became a milkman. He died at Rosebud in 1966.
Reproduced in the North Central Review, 27 January 2015, p9