Alfred Joseph Knight

Alfred Joseph Knight, VC, MBE (24 August 1888 – 4 December 1960) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was the only Post Office Rifleman ever to receive this award.

Alfred Joseph Knight
Alfred Joseph Knight VC.jpg
Born24 August 1888
Birmingham, West Midlands
Died4 December 1960 (aged 72)
Oscott College Road Cemetery, Sutton Coldfield
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1914 - 1919
RankSecond Lieutenant
UnitThe London Regiment
Sherwood Foresters
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsVictoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross
Order of the British Empire

Early lifeEdit

Born at Ladywood in Birmingham on 24 August 1888, he attended St. Philip's School (more correctly St Philip's Grammar School), Edgbaston. He married Mabel Saunderson in May 1915. He joined the Post Office and worked as a Clerical Assistant in the North Midland Engineering District.[1]

World War IEdit

Knight was 29 years old, and a sergeant in the 2/8th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Post Office Rifles), British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 20 September 1917 at Alberta Section, Ypres, Belgium, when his platoon came under very heavy fire from an enemy machine-gun, Sergeant Knight rushed through our own barrage and captured it single-handed. He performed several other acts of conspicuous bravery single-handed, all under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire and without regard to personal safety. All the platoon officers of the company had become casualties before the first objective was reached, and this NCO took command not only of all the men of his own platoon but of the platoons without officers and his energy in consolidating and reorganising was untiring.[2]

He later achieved the rank of second lieutenant.

Later lifeEdit

After the war he was transferred to the Ministry of Labour and was Manager of the Employment Exchange at[1] When he retired in 1951 he was Senior Wages Inspector in the Midlands section of the Ministry of Labour. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1951.[1] Alfred Knight was a member of the Catholic organisation The Catenian Association holding a number of senior offices.

In 2005, Birmingham City Council named a street in his honour on the Park Central development in Ladywood, where Alfred Knight grew up.

In 2017, Royal Mail dedicated a postbox in honour of Knight. The postbox is located at the corner of Islington Row Middleway and Tennant Street, Birmingham, B15 1LA, on the street where Alfred lived when he worked for the GPO (although the same press release states that he was working as a clerk in Nottingham when he enlisted in the 2/8th Battalion of the Post Office Rifles.).[3]

Alfred Knight died at home at the age of 72. He is buried in Oscott Catholic Cemetery, New Oscott, Birmingham.

The MedalEdit

His medal is held by the British Postal Museum & Archive.[4]

Alfred Knight's Victoria Cross.


  1. ^ a b c "British Postal Museum & Archive". Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  2. ^ "No. 30372". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 November 1917. p. 11568.
  3. ^ "Royal Mail honours Post Office Rifles WW1 Victoria Cross recipient". Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  4. ^ "WW1 - Post Office Rifles". Retrieved 17 January 2013.

External linksEdit