Robert Henry Knox

Fourth Engineer Officer - Merchant Navy - SS Nairung

Background Information


13th August 1919



Fourth Engineer Officer - Merchant Navy - SS Nairung



18th August 1944 age 25

Robert Henry Knox was born on 13th August 1919 in Glasgow, Scotland. His father was William Robert Knox, a Mechanical Electrical Engineer, and his mother was Jemima Margaret (née Dron). Robert sailed to Shanghai, China in 1920 with his mother, when he was aged 1, possibly arriving back in early 1925. He sailed again in 1925, arriving back in January 1928, his father was possibly working in China while Robert was young.The previous school that Robert attended was Balham Grammar School.
In 1928 he joined The County School for Boys (now known as Gravesend Grammar School) and the Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Street, Gravesend close to the Railway Station. In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Robert’s address as 133 Darnley Road, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Robert was in Hill House.
In 1935 Robert left the School and started work as an Apprentice Engineer in the Merchant Navy. In 1943 he married Helen Lesley Webster.
By 1944 Robert was the Fourth Engineer Officer on the SS Nairung, a Steam Merchant ship. On 18th August 1944, the SS Nairung was on route to Bombay from Durban with government stores and general cargo when she was sunk off the Madagascar coast by a torpedo from U – boat U-862. All 91 crew were lost. Robert Knox was 25 years old. He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial Panel 71.
Two other members of Robert Knox’s Form also died in World War Two – Roy Couves and Horace Mercer.

There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest:

Tower Hill Memorial Panel 71