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Thread: Knocker and Hardy 2 close calls

  1. #11
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    Default Wing Commander Roddy Knocker.....

    Hallo David Cullen, Paul Macmillan et al...

    Thank you for your interest in my dad, WRK Knocker, who you seem to know more about than I!1

    It is very curious indeed that I googled him yesterday (something I have NOT done before!) & came up with your conversation!

    As you know my father was in 264 Squardon ( by God that did "defy" in those awful Defiants!) in the BoB.

    He then went into spitfires & was a test pilot in North Africa in the early 40's & ended up Wing Commander commanding the island of Vis in Yugoslavia in 1945 before demobilisation...at the age of 25!!!

    As you know he was awarded the Military OBE for his bravery (see below...)

    Dad was the son of a country solicitor from Sevenoaks in Kent (Knocker & Foskett: still exists, but no Knockers now!) but he decided to go to Kenya as a soldier settler in 1946.
    He took up a farm in Moiben (near Eldoret Kenya) & married my Mum, Jean Knight, daughter of the famous naturalist & film maker Capt. CWR Knight. They had 5 children of whom I am the 4th...
    Dad was a very succcessful farmer (mixed farm: dairy, wheat & maize) & loved Kenya. He was Resident Magistrate in Eldoret owing to his one year studying Law at Oxford.....independent Kenya had few trained lawyers in the 60's....
    My parents bought a place at Watamu Kenya & Dad died there of a heart attack in 199o.
    He never spoke of the war & never flew again, bar gliding.......& theirwe had a super up bringing on a Kenya farm & gave us all a great education....
    Incidentally, my uncle (Roddy's elder brother) was Clive Anthony Knocker "Bunny", who went into the Fleet Air Arm just at the time of the first Aircraft Carriers. He was sadly killed in an accident flying into the side of a carrier in 1937....we can imagine my Grandparents horror when war broke out in 1939 & their second son was in the Oxford University Air Squadron.....Roddy was in the first intake at RAF Cranwell......
    Best regards from Kenya.........Will Knocker (very proud of my Dad!)



    Quote Originally Posted by david cullen View Post
    These old posts were all my endeavours since I raised the query/ies in previous years but as I've now done some 'ironing' I can now see what is what (I think).The succesive 2 Knocker incidents I've posted here however are also I think a red Herring (not my fault as the sources are vague).

    From those discussions re.17/4/41 edit/discard..
    Tokarczyk (Alec Bew)

    & also
    A 2nd 'Knocker' crash at Henfield the 'following day' the 18th (Saunders)

    Well intended contibutions I'm sure but it is why I have brought up this incident again.
    I'd like to know if Roddy is still Knocking about (pls excuse the pun).
    Dave

  2. #12
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    Will

    Thanks for your infomation. I don't suppose you have access to your dad log book do you ? It would clear up the mystery of his crash date in 1941

    Thanks

    Paul

  3. #13
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    Default the internet is a remarkable thing!

    Gosh. What a pleasure to meet you, Will (on here of all places).
    I'd actually been wondering if in fact the Solicitors in Sevenoaks was at all linked (how odd).
    I walked past there the other day, as I live in nearby (abt 7 miles S) Tunbridge Wells.

    264S had a number of Defiants go down around here of which 38N3369 was one.
    It crashed at Redbridge Farm, Crowborough.
    Little is know about precisely where this was but there is a guy who says he located the site some years ago.

    I have documented 2 other Defiants so far within 5 miles of Tunbridge Wells.
    These are:
    1) TL Taylor (injured), Wadhurst 6/9/42
    2) AJ Lauder (injured) Tunbridge Wells 7/9/41

    Anyway I have the AM1180 form, which if you'd ike I can send you (if you pass me your Email) a copy Will.
    It is a brief description of the crash.

    Its a great pleasure to hear from you, I'm sure the other researchers on here will agree.
    I'm sure any details would be willingly passed your way if and when they become available.

    My email I think is linked to the forum when you click on my name.
    All the best.
    Dave Cullen
    Last edited by david cullen; 23rd September 2011 at 11:34.

  4. #14
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    Paul the date was the 17th April 1941 that this Defiant crashed at Redbridge Farm Crowboro.
    I got the 1180 Air Ministry form sent me in the post in relation to this crash from RAF Hendon.

    I dont know why you continue this debate, as I say it was a Red Herring.

    Pilots Log books, are really interesting on the other hand, and shed further light upon the circumstances surrounding such incidents.

    Thanks, Dave
    Last edited by david cullen; 23rd September 2011 at 11:05.

  5. #15
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    Default The other one

    I will try the private message option (Will).
    The 'other' BP Defiant crash Andy Saunders was (previously) refering to was also in a wooded area and possibly at a similar time (was this the next day?) but it was in West Sussex Paul, at a place called Slaugham.
    I have no further details, but if anyone has a copy of Alex Brew's 'Defiant File' (Air Britain) it may be in there.
    Dave

  6. #16
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    Default Defiant Survivor, WRA Knocker!

    WRA Knocker's first Defiant scrape was in N1547 caused by hitting tree at Rochford on 15th November 1940 (as above).

    The next 'close call' on Defiants occured the following April on a Night Patrol.
    The confusion about this accident date at Crowborough in E.Sussex stems from the fact that the 264Sqn ORB has the 15th and 16th for the accident date. This may be I suggest because it was qte close to midnight. Anyway The AM1180(courtesy RAF Hendon) has the 17th April 1941 on the other hand.
    So take your pick, but its definately one and the same incident. The aircraft was Defiant 3N3369 btw, on a Night Patrol & take off was 2230hrs. So Paul apologies you are indeed correct to raise the matter of the log book date (Matt?). Both bailed out OK after on-board generator power failure due to friendly AA fire accident.

    The final time that WRA Knocker bailed out of a 'Defiant' was with also with Sgt Hardy but on the 31st of August of same year 3 miles SE of Cuckfield, W.Sussex, in Defiant N3453. It was during a searchlight co-op. This crash was listed as at 'Slaugham' in the book 'Blitz over Sussex'.
    The 264 ORB (at Kew) states:
    'F/O Knocker and F/S Hardy bailed out at approximately 0130hrs. Both suffered from leg fractures though their condition is not serious. F/S Hardy was particularly fortunate as he bailed out from only 800ft.'
    The 'Defiant File' by Alec Brew lists this incident in connection with N3453 but states incorrectly that they were both killed.
    Its also the one Andy Saunders found pieces of he says in 1972 (Hello Andy? Do you have his contact please Paul?).

    Thanks Matt for the rest of this fascinating story. So far away!
    These are the 'Defiant' accidents I have details of so far, in connection with your Dad.
    Perhaps you already have some of these details.
    If not hope it helps.

    Dave
    Last edited by david cullen; 8th October 2011 at 13:45.

  7. #17
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    Hi Will

    I am trying to find out more about your dad and the rest of the family

    My mother and your dad were cousins

    Can I contact you directly?

    Regards
    Chris Parker

  8. #18
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    Mr Knocker has not logged in in 6 years. You will need to send him at least a PM or contact direct via his profile. It may ping him if using same email address.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis_burke View Post
    W R A Knocker OBE, had a son born in Kenya, in 1952 per index cards on Ancestry.com

    Commishion 1939
    754282 Sergeant William Rodney Alexander KNOCKER (74333).

    MiD during 1945

    OBE in 1945:
    To be an Additional Officer of the Military Division
    of the Most Excellent Order of the British
    Empire:
    Acting Wing Commander William Rodney Alexander
    KNOCKER (74333), Royal Air Force Volunteer
    Reserve.
    On 2ist March, 1945, a light bomber crashed and burst into flames while attempting to take off.
    Wing Commander Knocker immediately rushed to the scene and on arrival found that the pilot of the aircraft was trapped in the blazing wreckage.
    Heedless of warnings, Wing Commander Knocker crawled under the burning aircraft and twisted the entangling metal away from the pilot's legs, and ' then helped to remove him to safety. This officer displayed gallantry, and a complete disregard for his own safety in the face of the possibility of bombs -exploding.
    Hello,

    The incident involving A/W/C Knocker's rescue, possibly - No.1435 Sqn Spitfire IX MA790, which had a tyre burst on take-off at Vis, Jugoslavia, on 21 March, 1945. Aircraft was classified as, Cat 'E'.

    Col.

  10. #20
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    MA790 - Spitfire F.IX, Merlin 61 No 333687 - 1435.Sqn (op/MACAF/MAAF/AO), crashed cat.E2 at Vis, Yugoslavia on 21.3.1945 (11:30h), W/O E J SKELTON:
    Bombing mission - Take-off, tyre burst, a/c swung off runway and overturned, Engine broke loose and caught fire;

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