Wilfred Sidney Knox


Wilfred Sidney Knox Sub Lieutenant (a) RAF whose war service closely resembled that of my father’s in that he trained in Canada and later relocated to the UK by which time there were more pilots than required for the closing stages of the war.

Volunteer pilots were required for glider missions that were extremely dangerous; through antiaircraft flack-filled skies with treacherous landings in war-torn fields strewn with debris. It would have taken immense courage and unfailing resolve to maintain focus under the circumstance; testimony to Mr. Knox’s mental fortitude.

Mr. Knox flew a Hamilcar glider, landing near the German village of Hamminkeln as part of Operation Varsity. Landing successfully, (44 of his unit’s 100 glider pilots were killed during the battle) he scampered into a ditch under a hail of gunfire from Germans in a nearby farmhouse. A paratrooper huddled in the ditch beside him was shot between the eyes trying to see where the enemy was. Eventually an American soldier appeared and neutralized the German opposition with a machine gun. After 3 or 4 days in active battle zones, he managed to get to Holland and from there back to England. After some down time he was asked to volunteer for a second mission but politely declined.

I had hoped to visit Trinidad in early 2023 (post travel restricted covid) to finally have a face to face conversation with Mr. Sidney Knox. Sadly that opportunity is now lost.

Fortunately his was one of the Project’s first signatures back when I had basically nothing of a track record or much idea of just how amazing this journey would turn out.

His simple minute signature is an ironic understatement of the giant impact his life has had on millions in the Caribbean through the businesses he built.

His WWII service – one mission only – as a glider pilot into an active battlefield in Europe defied all odds of survival. It is no exaggeration to describe it as a suicide mission and I marvel every time I read the insanity of what glider pilots volunteered to do. The training was inexplicably dangerous, far less the actual mission. No doubt his nickname “Bullmoose” was well earned.

The business group he established is steadily expanding into an international conglomerate. The energy of his ambitious spirit lives on in their strategic direction. The Knox family graciously provided some of their late father’s logbook records and we hope to share more details of his service in due course. Of immediate note is Knox’s brief spell at Wethersfield Airfield Base between October and November 1945. (The base holds special significance in TLBP’s formation and has been in the news lately.)

Sidney Knox passed away in February 2023 aged 98. Rest in perfect peace Sir, we are honored to carry a tiny part of your legacy.


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