Page 163 - Wykehamist-War-Service-Record-and-Roll-of-Honour-1939-1945

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these words show his spirit and his happiness: l'I have now been on operations three months
and am thoroughly enjoying it. I am flying one of the fastest aircraft of the day, and find it far
more fun than a good day's shooting." His mother has had a heavy cross to bear in the two wars.
JOHN KNAPP (Major, temp. Lieut.-Colonel, R.A.)
(F,
1925-30), born May 25, 1912, son of
Brigadier-General K. K. Knapp,
C.B., C.M.G.,
came to Southgate House in May 1925 from Bram–
cote. He did very well at Winchester, becoming a Co. Prae. in 1930, playing in XV's two years
and one year in VI's: in the match against Commoners he excelled himself, and one experienced
judge called him the best player on the field. He was also a good long distance runner, and a
useful Soccer player and cricketer. He was a sergeant in the O.T.C., and helped to win Drill
Cup for his House. He was that rare type of man who when called upon in a crisis can put forth
not merely his full strength, but something above it. Above all this, he was marked by a simplicity
and depth of character and a brightness of personality that set him apart.
In 1930 he left for the R.M.A. Commissioned to the R.A. in 1932, he became a Captain in 1940.
Meanwhile he had gone to Esthonia in 1937 to study Russian, and qualified next year as an Inter–
preter, 1st Class. In 1939 he was sent to India and saw active service in Waziristan. In 1940,
with the acting rank of Major, he took an Anti-Tank Battery to Iraq. He passed the Staff College
at Quetta in 1943, and became Staff Officer R.A. in Ceylon. Next year he joined the Staff of the
Chindit Division with the temporary rank of Lieut.-Colone1. He served on the Arakan front in
Burma, and was killed on March 13, 1945, when his command post received a direct hit. He was
a good linguist, proficient in Urdu and Pushtu as well as Russian. He was a fine horseman, a
good squash racquets player, distinguished in Army competitions. His Brigadier writes of the
tact and power of mind which made him a first-rate Staff Officer. "I know," he says, " that he
achieved his ambition as a soldier when he went to serve in Arakan. I know too that he did his
job faultlessly until the end, and willingly gave up his life." His Colonel writes that when they
landed at Ru-Ywa they were somewhat stale from previous operations. "By sheer personality
John infused into the regiment new life, vigour and will to win. He, and he alone, maintained
this spirit throughout the advance by his never-failing cheerfulness and courage." Both at Win–
chester and in the Army he was loved and admired. He was not merely, in the hackneyed phrase,
" one of the best," he was one of the finest men Winchester has produced in recent years-or any
school could produce.
PETER AUSTEN KNIGHT
(H,
1929-35), born August 29, 1916, son of G. B. Knight, formerly
of Chawton House, near Alton, came in September 1929 from Horris Hill to Culver's Close
(Mr. Robinson), where he rose to be Head of the House and a leader in many spheres of School life.
He was a boy of outstanding gifts-a great lover of literature and the arts, a not unskilful draughts–
man, a pianist of real feeling and a leading spirit in dramatic productions. His highly sensitive
nature was balanced by an equal sense of discipline and duty; and a military career had always
made a strong appeal to him. In 1935 he passed on to Sandhurst with a Cadet Scholarship; and
in 1937 he joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Promoted in due course to be Lieutenant, he took
part in the advance into Belgium, and there lost his life near Hollebeke on May 28, 1940. Not
many months before he had married Miss Vivien Struan Robertson. His life was deeply rooted
in the best traditions of the English countryside; and he was passionately devoted to his Chawton
home where his great-great-aunt, Jane Austen, wrote some of her novels. His loyal, enthusiastic
and essentially gentle character will be mourned not merely by Wykehamical friends, but by many
countryfolk in whose company some of his happiest days were spent.
JAMES ALEXANDER BERTRAM LAWSON
(E,
1937-41) was born on October 10, 1923, the
son of Sir Digby Lawson, Bart.
(E,
1895-97). When he arrived at \X-1inchester he was one of the
smallest boys ever to come to the School, but what he lacked in size he made up for by his sense of
humour and sturdy independence of character. One of his chief interests lay in shooting, at which
he captained his House for his last year here.
He left in 1941 to join the Navy under the Y scheme, and being selected for the Fleet Air Arm,
he went to Canada for his flying training, and qualified as a Pilot in 1944. He was killed while
serving with the Fleet
Air
Arm in the Pacific on July 20, 1946.
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