KNOWLES, William Edward

Display Number:  0805  
Name:  Knowles  William Edward
Rank:  Able Seaman Service Number:  NZ663
Date Joined:   Date Discharged:  ca. 8th February 1915

William Knowles a resident of Lyttelton, was a merchant seaman who made several trips to the Antarctic in the Morning and Terra Nova. He joined the Naval Reserve prior to the outbreak of the First World War; including annual training cruises on the cruisers Pioneer and Pyramus, part of the then Australian Squadron. On the outbreak of the war he was mobilised and joined the ship's company of HMS Philomel. In February 1915, as a member of a landing party from Philomel, then operating in the Red Sea, he was shot in a skirmish with Turkish troops and later died of his wounds. It is believed he was the first New Zealander killed in action.


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Medal Description (Left to Right):  
  • 1914-15 Star - Awarded to servicemen and servicewomen who served between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915 in any "theatre of war", provided they had not qualified for the 1914 Star. Those eligible for the medal must have 'served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war' during the relevant dates of operations in that area. This included service in Gallipoli (25 April 1915 - 31 December 1915), Egypt (5 November 1914 - 31 December 1915) and service during the capture of German Samoa on 29 August 1914.
  • British War Medal - Recognises the successful conclusion of the First World War. Its coverage was later extended to recognise service until 1920, recognising mine clearing operations at sea, and participation in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea and the Caspian.
  • Victory Medal - Was issued to all those who had already qualified for the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star, and to most persons who had already qualified for the British War Medal. It was awarded to all New Zealand troops serving overseas, except for those who arrived in Samoa after 30 August 1914 and those serving in Great Britain only. It is also sometimes referred to as the "Allied War Medal", because the same basic design and double rainbow ribbon were adopted by 13 other allied nations.