Captain H Knight (159776) Cyprus Regiment - British Military Mission Greece

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by ClankyPencil, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Captain H Knight (159776) - Cyprus Regiment - E British Instructional Team - British Military Mission Greece

    I was wondering if anyone has information regarding any of the above or know if they were linked to the SOE in any way.

    The reason i ask is that my grandad was a L. Cpl in the RAOC with the 8 Ordnance Beach Detachment (North Africa and Italy)and also later with 140 Ordnance Depot in Greece, responsible mainly for ammunition and movements.

    For some reason he has this Officers address in a diary of his from 1946 (see attachment), and i am trying to work out what the connection is between the 2 of them.

    My Grandad also has a list of dates & locations in this diary with one noting he went to Greece on 10 September 1944 which is before the Germans pulled out, and a number of weeks before the regular allied troops arrived.

    I've had some help already off one member of the forum, who noted there were a number of irregular forces at work in the area at this time, and that the BMMG trained the Greek resistance in sabotage and insurgency between 1942 and 1944 in the hope they would disrupt the German supply lines.

    He suggested also that both Captain Knight and the Cyprus Regiment were probably selected for their ability to speak Greek fluently, and that my grandad possibly went to support the BMMG for a while.

    The only other information i have about the officer is that he was demobbed from the Cyprus Regiment in 17 June 1948 with the honorary rank of Major.

    I am still waiting to receive my grandads service records which may shed some more light on the matter, but in the meantime would appreciate any information or pointers regarding the above



    Attached Files:

  2. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    He was a member of D/H Section of SOE - though his Personal File is still closed - Captain Knights date of birth were known it would help in getting the file opened.

    Many of the Cyprus Regiment were expert mule handlers in addition to being Greek speakers.

    I will look at the Greek Section History to see if I can identify which mission they were attached to

    ClankyPencil likes this.
  3. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Thanks Steven

    I appreciate the help.

    What was the D/H Section of SOE? and any ideas how i would find out his date of birth?


  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    D/H Section was the SOE Cairo Section that worked into the Balkans.

    His Christian name Hereward is a rare one someone with an Ancestry.Com account may be able to find a record of his birth or death.
  5. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

  6. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    I can't find anything on ancestry unfortunately but, there might have been a few hits on his father.

    He was a Rifleman during WW1 in the London Regt before being commissioned into the Lincs Regt as a Lt. Just before the war, 18 YO Hereward had gone to Canada on board the SS Teutonic as part of a touring company of actors. So his father would have been born around 1896.The 1919 London electoral register has Hereward Knight residing in 165 East Ealing, Kensington & Chelsea.

    I doubt his helps much but at least we know the area we are looking at now.

    There is another thought...this is the right man and Hereward re-joined the army at the somewhat elderly age of 45!

  7. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Hi Gus

    Lol. Just spent the afternoon probably doing exactly what you have.
    i didn't find the stuff about travelling to Canada but did find he was in a number of plays by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1923.

    Also found the electoral role and WW1 references as you did, but also turned up these couple of gems off find my past.

    There was an army marriage between 1914 and 1925 between a Hereward Knight and Mery E Hovnanian in Constantinople.

    There was British Consular Marriage 1931-1935 in Athens between a Hereward Knight and Renee A Parrazi (or Morton?).

    Also Hereward Knight's death in 1969 was also registered to the British Consul in Athens with his Age as being 74 at time of death. This would mean his year of birth being 1895.

    I think this is one and the same guy and as you said, he rejoined the army at 45.

    Attached Files:

  8. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Great stuff Scott.

    So why isn't this chap popping up on either the 1901 or 1911 census in England? Unless of course his parents worked overseas too.

  9. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    I did an FOI request for Hereward Knight at the TNA today his file should be opened within 28days.

  10. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Thanks Steven

    I really appreciate it.


  11. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    I've turned up a bit more additional info.

    Hereward Knight was born 30th June 1895 in London but was originally known as Hereward Yorke. (Hence no hits via ancestry originally).

    He died on 9th August 1969 in the 'Red Cross' Hospital in Athens aged 74.

    He is recorded as being a 'Teacher of English' and lived No 31 Solonos St, Athens.

    On ancestry Hereward Yorke brings up a few likely hits, with 1911 census showing him living with his grandmother in London and his profession being an actor (at 15 years of age).

    His father Richard looks to have been an actor during his career also.

    There is a family tree on there which indicates one of his grandparents was possibly Martha Knight, but other than that i can't a reason why he changed his name between 1911 and 1915 (unless it was just his stage name)
  12. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Nice one Scott

    Why don't you PM DIMBO. He is a resident of Athens and has been absolutely invaluable in my own research. He has helped me with translations and has found pictures and maps that I thought were long gone. He may be able to give you some more local information about both Rouf Barracks and the elusive Mr Knight.

  13. Badger2

    Badger2 Member

    I can tell you he was with the 210 British Military Mission attached 1st Greek Brigade MEF between March 12th '43 & Sept 4th '43, as an English teacher.
  14. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    I've just found that on 1st Jan 1945, Captain Hareward Knight (159776) of the Cyprus Regt. was recommended for the Greek Military Decoration the 'Silver Cross of the Order of the Pheonix', along with 5 SNCOs of the AEC (Army Education Corps?)

    "For the interest they have shown and the satisfactory results obtained while being employed as teachers of the ENGLISH language at General Training Centre (S?) and GROTCI" (??)

    He was also one of ten recommended, on 25th August 1947, for the Greek Distinguished Conduct (or it might be Distinguished service) Medal (I cannot read text) for:

    "their hard work, energy, devotion to duty and valuable services for their organisation of the Greek Army and their help for preserving the order after the liberation of Greece"

  15. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Hereward Knight was first employed by Section D of SIS (one of the Organizations that merged with MI(R) and Electra House to form SOE) in 1940. He was therefore on of the first British SOE representatives in Greece.
  16. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    I received Hereward Knight's PF with a whole lot of information regarding the SOE in Greece from Jedburgh22. (Thanks Steven)

    Initial reading of the PF indicates Hereward's involvement with SOE appears minimal.

    I'm no expert but my summary would be as follows:-

    1. A person codenamed 'Caesar' was primarily in charge of staff & operations for that area.

    2. Main operative in Athens, Greece at the time was 'DH15'.
    'DH15' was legitamely employed by Ingersoll Rand, and appears to travel a lot between Belgrade, Turkey and Athens while on Ingersoll Rand Business.

    3. Around 15th January 1940 'DH15' arrived back from his 'first' trip to Athens, where he had successfully acquired resident permits for himself and family.

    4. While on that trip, 'DH15' made provisional arrangements for Hereward Knight to become his assistant. Hereward had resided in Greece for the previous 15years and was a long standing personal friend of 'DH15's.

    5.'DH15' suggested to D/H Section a payment to Hereward of £20 per month 'as he is rather badly off'.

    6. D/H Section & Caesar make assessment of Hereward (now allocated DH16).
    Known information noted as:-
    Occupation - Teacher of English
    Representative of the 'British United Press'
    'DH 15' claims to have known him 10 years and considers him suitable for the job
    Fair working knowledge of Greek and moderately good local connections.

    More checks requested and in the meantime a recommendation to pay Hereward £10 per month with a promise of an increase should they become more active in Greece.

    7. Suggestion by 'DH15' to make use of a Greek Sleeping Car conductor on the Athens-Milan route as an unofficial courier. 'DH15' had previously used him to smuggle money during his time when he was representing Ingersoll Rand in Greece.

    8. 12/02/1940 D/H Section agrees to the suggestion of the £10 per month payment.

    9. Further checks reveal that Hereward gave the name of 'Denne' as a reference on applying for a commission in the Reserve.
    Denne relates to the D/H Section he was not prepared to recommend Hereward 'as he did not think him suitable, and was therefore going to ignore the letter'.

    Also there is hint that the Section received information that other lecturers were actively interested in Intelligence work, and that Hereward may be 'possibly not so discreet as could of been desired for such a job', which may have also raised a question mark, over working for D/H Section.

    10. March 1940 - Partly on the basis of the above (and also that a second man in Greece at this time would be unecessary) Caesar & D/H Section take up the matter with 'DH15', to suggest the disposal of Hereward's services at the earliest opportunity (to cause the least unplesantness).

    The PF finishes there so it looks likely Hereward was sidelined until he was recommisioned into the Cyprus Rgt on 01/09/1940, and then used through the war as a 'Teacher of English', until he become involved again with the BMM in Greece in 1944/45 when the Allies regained control there, after the Germans left.
  17. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Caesar was Julius Hanau who was one of the early 'movers and shakers' of SOE in the Middle East, Balkans and Africa - Hanau died in 1943
  18. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Fascinating Stuff


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