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Major-General Sir Alfred William Fortescue Knox (30 October 1870 – 9 March 1964) was a career British military officer and later a Conservative Party politician.

Born in Ulster, he joined the British Army and was posted to India.

In 1911 General Knox was appointed the British Military Attaché in Russia, where he served as a spy.[1] Anti-Semitic[citation needed] and a fluent speaker of Russian, he became a liaison officer to the Imperial Russian Army during First World War. During the October Revolution in Russia he observed the Bolsheviks taking the Winter Palace on 25 October (7 November)[when?] 1917:

"The garrison of the Winter Palace originally consisted of about 2,000 all told, including detachments from yunker and ensign schools, three squadrons of Cossacks, a company of volunteers and a company from the Women's Battalion.
The garrison had dwindled owing to desertions, for there were no provisions and it had been practically starved for two days. There was no strong man to take command and to enforce discipline. No one had any stomach for fighting; and some of the ensigns even borrowed great coats of soldier pattern from the women to enable them to escape unobserved.
The greater part of the yunkers of the Mikhail Artillery School returned to their school, taking with them four out of their six guns. Then the Cossacks left, declaring themselves opposed to bloodshed! At 10 p.m. a large part of the ensigns left, leaving few defenders except the ensigns of the Engineering School and the company of women."[citation needed]

In 1921 Knox published his memoirs, With the Russian Army: 1914-1917. In this book he also tells the story of heroine Elsa Brändström.


At the 1924 general election, he was elected as a Tory Member of Parliament (MP) for Wycombe, defeating the sitting Liberal MP Lady Terrington. He held his seat during the 1929 general election[2] and through subsequent general elections, serving in the House of Commons until the 1945 general election.


  1. Neal Ascherson, "After Seven Hundred Years," London Review of Books (May 24, 2012), p. 8.
  2. "No. 33508". 21 June 1929. 

External links


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lady Terrington
Member of Parliament for Wycombe
Succeeded by
John Haire

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