Robert Sinclair Knox

Robert Sinclair Knox, DSO & Three Bars (2 March 1881 – 25 January 1963) was an officer in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in the First World War. He was one of seven British officers to be awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) four times during the conflict.

Robert Sinclair Knox
Born2 March 1881
Coleraine, Ireland
Died25 January 1963 (aged 81)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
RankLieutenant Colonel
Commands held9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (1918)
10th (Service) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (1917)
Battles/warsFirst World War Second World War
AwardsDistinguished Service Order & Three Bars
Mentioned in Despatches
Croix de guerre (France)

Early life

Knox was born near Coleraine, County Antrim, the son of William John Knox and Nancy MacAfee. After being educated in Ballymoney, he worked in Coleraine. He was an Ulsterman associated with the North Derry Regiment of the Ulster Volunteers.

Knox married Ivy Lynch.

First World War

When the First World War broke out, Knox volunteered to serve in the 10th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (the Derry Volunteers), formed with other Irish volunteers into the 109th (Inniskilling) Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. He arrived in France in October 1915 and Knox became major in June 1916

Knox's Distinguished Service Order (DSO) was gazetted on 1 January 1917.[1] He was also wounded, and Mentioned in Despatches. He saw action at the Third Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Cambrai. He was awarded the first Bar to his DSO on 18 February 1918.[2] with the citation published on 16 July 1918[3]

Knox commanded the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1917, and then the 9th Battalion in 1918. The 10th (Derry) and 11th (Donegal and Fermanagh) Battalions of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were disbanded in February 1918 and the officers and men were absorbed into the 1st and 2nd Battalions. Both joined the 9th (Tyrone) Battalion in the 109th Brigade. The Brigade faced the German Spring Offensive near St Quentin on 21 March 1918, suffering heavy casualties, and was subsequently formed into a composite battalion commanded by Major Knox. He received a second Bar to his DSO, gazetted on 13 September 1918.[4]

Knox took command of the 9th Battalion in April 1918, and a third Bar to his DSO was gazetted on 7 March 1919. Two other officers were awarded a third bar at the same time, Archibald Walter Buckle and W.R.A. Dawson.[5]

Knox was demobilised in February 1919, retaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. An award of the French Croix de guerre was gazetted on 23 June 1919.[6]

Later life

Knox became Deputy Lieutenant for County Londonderry in August 1938. He was also chairman of the Coleraine harbour commissioners, and a director at Hugh T Barrie, a business which sold and exported potatoes and other produce. He served as a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Engineers in Second World War,[7] finally retiring in 1949.

Knox's medal group was sold at Spink and Son in December 1997.


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External links

1917 New Year Honours

The 1917 New Year Honours were appointments by King George V to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were published in several editions of The London Gazette in January and February.The 1 January list contained only military honours earned during the ongoing war, particularly for the Battle of the Somme, while political honours were delayed. The announcement was celebrated by The Times in its New Year's Day reporting:

"It is a welcome change to publish a list of New Year's Honours which have been earned altogether in the honourable service of the State. What are sometimes called 'political honours' – the results too often of personal and party manoeuvres – seem indescribably repellent in these days of national strain. We cannot, unfortunately, congratulate ourselves that their omission to-day is anything more than a postponement; but for the moment at all events we have a list confined entirely to sailors and soldiers and to civilians whose claim to distinction rests wholly on public service. We rejoice especially in the well-timed promptness with which the official report of the greatest battle in English history is followed by a large recognition of the men responsible for its success."

The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

Distinguished Service Order

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. Since 1993 all ranks have been eligible.

Robert Knox (disambiguation)

Robert Knox (1791–1862) was a Scottish surgeon, anatomist and zoologist.

Robert Knox or Rob Knox may also refer to:

Robert Knox (bishop) (1808–1893), Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore and Archbishop of Armagh

Robert Knox (politician) (fl. 1966), mayor of Berwick-upon-Tweed

Robert Knox (sailor) (1641–1720), English sea captain in the service of the British East India Company

Robert Knox (private equity investor) (born 1952)

Robert Sinclair Knox (1881–c. 1963), British Army officer

Sir Robert King, 1st Baronet (died 1707), Anglo-Irish politician

Rob Knox (1989–2008), English actor

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