A fighter until his last breath
A former Baldivis “schoolboy turned war hero” has been remembered 78 years after he went down with his ship in the Timor Sea during the World War II.
Arthur Peter Knight, pictured on page one, was killed when Japanese aircraft attacked and sank HMAS Armidale on December 1, 1942.
The sailor was remembered at Kings Park last Tuesday with a plaque to mark the 78th anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Armidale. Crewmate Teddy Sheean was last week posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for defending his comrades as the ship went down.
Stoker Knight, who was commonly known as Peter, was just seven when he and his family moved from Worcester, England to Baldivis, in 1923 to take up land in the Group 67 Settlement Scheme
Stoker Knight’s family were one of the first settlers in the area and he was one the first students to attend Baldivis State School, later Baldivis Primary School.
Stoker Knight then enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy on June 15, 1935, at the age of 19. In June 1942, amid WWII, he was assigned to the corvette HMAS Armidale.
In December that year HMAS Armidale was on a mission off Timor when it was attacked and sunk by 13 Japanese aircraft.
As many of the crew leapt into the water, the enemy aircraft began firing them. About 100 men including Stoker Knight were killed.
Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby said it was a story that should be known by every Baldivis school student. “We’re a navy community and now we discover that one of our earliest pioneer residents was also a sailor who gave his life in the battle for Australia in the Pacific,” he said. Mr Whitby is calling for the creation of a permanent memorial in Baldivis to honour Stoker Knight.
Stoker Knight’s nephews Peter and David Savill supported their uncle being remembered in the place he grew up.
He said Mr Knight and his family’s story was one of an immigrant family, who committed themselves to the land of their adoption.
“And in one case giving the ultimate sacrifice in one of World War II’s worst maritime disasters off the north-west Australian coast,” David said.
“It's a story worth knowing as representative of so many like it.
“It about ordinary people. . . these are often the ones that need to be told.”
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