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The Channel Islands and the Great War
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Knapp, S S

Dozinghem Military Cemetery

Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium

The Rev Simon Stock Knapp


NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Monday 13 August 1917

That's My Call - How a Jersey Padre Died in Flanders. DSO Laid on his Coffin. "He won the VC every time he went ministering to the lads in our advance" so wrote a Presbyterian Chaplain with the Forces in France of Father Simon Knapp, who was killed during the push on 31 July. Father Simon Knapp was perhaps the best known Padre in the British Army, he had served through the Boer War and won the Medal with seven clasps. In the present war he had already won the Military Cross, with which he was decorated by the King, and the Distinguished Service Order, but he had not yet been invested with the DSO when he died and Lord de Vesci, Adjutant of the Irish Guards, laid the decoration on his coffin on Friday. The Army's tribute to his devotion was manifest on Friday when a solemn Requiem was sung in the Carmelite Church in Kensington. A party of Irish Guards, to which Regiment he was attached as Chaplain from the commencement of the war, formed a Guard of Honour with arms reversed around the catafalque "Father Knapp is a great loss to us" said the Father Prior to the Daily Sketch on Friday "we have received letters from Ministers of every denomination and from all ranks from Privates to Generals". From the Father Prior the Daily Sketch learned of the hero's last hours. A fearless man he scorned bullets and always went with an advance to administer to the fallen, the manner in which he escaped death scores of times has been the sole topic in the trenches of the Irish Guards and others on many occasions. In this last advance he was not permitted to go with the boys, his insistence was unavailing but he did the next best thing, he just followed. He quickly came upon a fallen Guardsman and was tending him when he himself was badly wounded in the head. The only words he uttered after being struck were "That's my call", he died a few minutes later. Father Knapp was born in Jersey, his mother was Irish and his father French, he was educated at St Edmunds College and was, in his student days, a brilliant cricketer.


Rev Simon Stock Knapp
(Picture courtesy of St Edmund’s Catholic College, Ware)

Chaplain 3rd Class (RC) The Rev Simon Stock Knapp, ODC, DSO, MC
Royal Army Chaplains' Department. Attached 2nd Battalion Irish Guards

Mentioned in Dispatches

Military Cross
Distinguished Service Order
1914 Star

A pupil of St Edmund's College, Hertfordshire.

Killed in action, aged 59 years

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Thursday 16 August 1917

The Reverend Father Knapp. About 200 officers and men of the Irish Guards attended a Solemn Requiem at Whalley Catholic Church on Tuesday morning for the repose of the soul of the Reverend Father Knapp, DSC, MC. Father Knapp had acted as Chaplain to the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards since the beginning of the war and recently died of wounds received while attending the wounded. A number of guardsmen were stationed around the catafalque upon which had been placed the Chaplain's regimental cap, stole and decorations. Father Knapp was awarded the Military Cross last year and the Distinguished Service Order a little later. He was a member of the Carmelite Community and a representative from the Carmelite church at Kensington attended the service.


n.b. These Jersey Evening Post reports contain a number of inaccuracies



Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record


"A Very Gallant Padre"
Barrie Bertram