History

Arthur Knight: Portsmouth Charity Tells Serviceman And Sportsman's Story

The talented footballer and cricketer served in both world wars, played international sport and twice competed at the Olympic Games.

A charity in Portsmouth is telling the story of a remarkable sportsman and serviceman.

Arthur Knight not only served in both the First and Second World Wars, but also played international sport and twice competed at the Olympic Games.

The Pompey Pals Charity is aiming to ensure his tale is not forgotten at its museum in Fort Widley, Portsmouth.

The charity’s Chris Pennycook told Forces News: "Nobody knows about him, and it's so many lives into a relatively short period of time.

"International footballer, county-class cricketer, First World War, Second World War, it just ticks every box."

From 1909, AE Knight, as he was known through his career, captained the majority of the around-130 matches he played for Portsmouth Football Club.

Mr Pennycook explained how his sporting career became even more decorated as time went on: "In 1912, he was part of the [Great Britain football] team that won the gold medal at the 1912 Olympics and they beat Denmark 4-1 in the final.

"In 1913, he was awarded his Hampshire County Cricket cap, so if you go to the Ageas Bowl, look on their honours board – A.E. Knight, 1913, opening batsman."

Arthur Egerton Knight's life was anything but typical or ordinary.

With the onset of the First World War, he joined the British Army, spent time in India, commissioned as an officer and was sent to the western front.

Not even that, however, stopped his sporting success.

Mr Pennycook continued: "He actually represented the Army at rugby, so we got an international footballer, a county-class cricketer and he must have been pretty good at rugby as well."

Post-war, he continued playing football at Fratton Park, the home of Portsmouth Football Club, before a move to Corinthian FC and a trip to the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.

He was not finished with the military, either, however, as Mr Pennycook explains: "During the 1930s, he reached the rank of Major in the Territorial Army.

"Then, of course, we’ve got the Second World War on the horizon, there was a lack of people with officer experience, so he actually moved across to the RAF and became a squadron leader and actually commanded a barrage balloon section at Fort Gomer over in Gosport."

Pompey Pals' Gareth Lewis said: "We need to keep the stories alive; we need to keep the memories alive. In the museum that we have here today and the research centre that we’ve got, we’ve got a number of artefacts, but behind each artefact there’s a story, there’s a story of the individual."

AE Knight is just one story, albeit a remarkable one, of the hundreds of thousands who have served.