A Canadian ace buried in the Douchy lès Ayette cemetery

Captain Arthur Gerald Knight, DSO , MC.
(30 july 1895- 20 december 1916)

A British flying ace from Toronto and credited with eight air victories, he was attacked by Oswald Boelcke and Erwin Böhme, when they suddenly collided, resulting in Boelcke’s death. Two months later, Knight was to be shot down by the « red Baron » Manfred von Richthofen, who also had taken part in the dogfight in which Boelcke had been killed.

Knight had been posted under the command of Major Lanoe Hawker. He began his series of victories on June 22, 1916, on an Airco DH.2  of the RFC 42th squadron, on which he destroyed a german LVGC reconnaissance plane above Courcelette.

His next two kills were of the « driven down out of control » type, but in his fourth triumph, he helped Stanley Cockerell set a Fokker fighter on fire. The next day he hit another German fighter. A month later a Roland C.II  was driven down out of control by Knight.  On November 19, 1916, he shared the destruction of an enemy fighter with Alfred Edwin McKay  and Eric Pashley. Five days later he was awarded the Military Cross.

On October 28, Knight had just been attacked by Boelcke and Böhme when McKay, pursued by Richtofen, cut between Knicht and his assailants.

During the dodging maneuvers and subsequent swerves, the landing gear wheels of Böhme’s plane damaged Boelcke’s upper wing, causing him to crash. Knight was then transferred as Captain to the 29th Squadron, B Flight, still flying a DH 2.

On December 11, 1916, he was awarded the DSO. He scored his eighth victory five days later, shooting down  an enemy fighter northeast of Arras. On December 20, he was leading his last patrol when he was shot down. He had become the Red Baron’s 13th kill.

The only known description of Knight’s death comes from the victor’s combat report : « I attacked him at close quarters. I saw immediately that I had hit the enemy. First he fell in the turns, then he crashed. I chased him up to hundred meters from the ground. »

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