William Knollys (British Army officer)

General Sir William Thomas Knollys KCB PC (1 August 1797 – 23 June 1883) was a British Army officer who reached high office in the 1860s.

Sir William Knollys
Gen. Sir William Knollys
Born1 August 1797
Died23 June 1883 (1883-06-24) (aged 85)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Commands heldGuernsey
Aldershot Division
Battles/warsPeninsular War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knollys caricatured by Ape in Vanity Fair, 1877

Military careerEdit

Born into the Knollys family, he was the son of General William Woods Knollys and Charlotte Martha Blackwell.[1] He was educated at Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was styled Viscount Wallingford until 1813, when his father's claim to the Earldom of Banbury was rejected.[1]

Knollys was commissioned into the 3rd Foot Guards in 1813 and fought in the Peninsular War later that year.[1] In 1854 he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey and then in 1855 he became the first General Officer Commanding Aldershot Division and was allocated the task of organising his troops into Divisions and Brigades.[1] Having achieved this task he was made President of the Council of Military Education in 1861.[1]

He held the colonelcy of the 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot from 1858 until its amalgamation into the Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) in 1881, after which he was Colonel of the 1st Battalion of the new Regiment. He transferred as Colonel to the Scots Guards in 1883 but died later the same year.[2]

In 1862 he was appointed Treasurer and Comptroller to the Household of Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.[1] He was sworn in as Privy Counsellor in 1872 and in 1877 made Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.[1]

He was promoted full general on 17 June 1866 and made KCB in 1867.[1]

After his death in 1883 at the House of Lords he was buried at Highgate Cemetery.[3]


In 1830 he married Elizabeth St Aubyn, daughter of Sir John St Aubyn, 5th Baronet, and together they went on to have five sons and three daughters.[1] One of his sons, Francis Knollys, 1st Viscount Knollys (1837–1924), was private secretary to Edward VII and George V and created Baron Knollys in 1902 and Viscount Knollys in 1911.[4] Another son, Sir Henry Knollys (1840–1930), became private secretary to King Edward's daughter Maud, Queen of Norway.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sir William Knollys at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ "Regiments and Corps..." regiments.ord. Archived from the original on 12 December 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Sir William Knollys" . Dictionary of National Biography – via Wikisource.
  4. ^ Roderick R. McLean. "Knollys, Francis, first Viscount Knollys (1837–1924)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34351. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ KNOLLYS, Colonel Sir Henry’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Bell
Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey
Succeeded by
Sir George Harding
Military offices
New title
New Post
GOC-in-C Aldershot Division
Succeeded by
Sir John Pennefather
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Augustus Clifford
Black Rod
Succeeded by
Sir James Drummond
Military offices
Preceded by
The Lord Rokeby
Colonel of the Scots Guards
Succeeded by
The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Preceded by
New Regiment
Colonel of the 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment
Succeeded by
Sir John Alexander Ewart
Preceded by
Thomas Lightfoot
Colonel of the 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Amalgamated into the Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire) Regiment