Samuel McKnight in his Royal Scots uniform, c.1917
Samuel McKnight (1894-1918) was an employee of The Royal Bank of Scotland. He was killed in action in the First World War, while serving as a captain in the Royal Scots.
Background and early life
Samuel McKnight was born in Kilmarnock in 1894, the only son of James McKnight, an engine fitter, and his wife Agnes. He attended Hamilton School until 1906, and then Kilmarnock Academy.
The Royal Bank of Scotland
In November 1909, when he was about 15 years old, Samuel McKnight went to work as an apprentice in The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Kilmarnock branch. In October 1914 he transferred to head office in Edinburgh, where he worked in the inspector’s department.
First World War service and death
In March 1915 Samuel McKnight enlisted, initially in the Cameron Highlanders. Three months later he transferred to the Royal Scots.
In February 1916 he was promoted from the rank of temporary second lieutenant to temporary lieutenant. In the same year he was wounded, and was mentioned in despatches. In 1917 he was promoted to captain.
He was killed in action on 29 September 1918. He had married five weeks earlier.
He is commemorated at Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Belgium, and on war memorials at Kilmarnock Academy (his school); Kilmarnock (town memorial); The Royal Bank of Scotland, 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (his employer); and St Mark’s Church, Harrogate. The library at Grange Academy, as Hamilton School is now called, is named in his honour.