October 27, 1942 - August 11, 2016
October 27, 1942 - August 11, 2016
Errol Bruce Knapp - A Brief Biography by his brother Wesley…
Errol was conceived and born in war - a 'love-child'.
Mum's name was Virginia Artemis Iouannou. She was a child of a 10th generation Greek cotton merchant family from Benha near Alexandria, Egypt. She was Greek Orthodox and she taught French in a Convent school. She eventually raised three other children besides Errol - Wesley, Bill and Helen.
Dad was Bruce Hardiman Knapp - a Methodist and 7th generation Canadian 'United Empah Loyalist' from Toronto. He was in the British army for 22 years, ultimately with Middle East Intelligence Headquarters, after service in Egypt, Cyprus, Gibraltar & Malta. Upon retirement he became the first - [and only to our knowledge] - Canadian 'Beef-Eater', as Her Majesty's Yeoman Warders were popularly known, in the history of the Tower of London. He was a well-known social & political activist in Peterborough, where Errol eventually died.
They met in Egypt during the Second World War after the British had captured Egypt from the Germans - which technically made mum, as a resident, an 'enemy alien'. The only way a British soldier could marry such a 'local' was if she was pregnant, which is what happened. So the family spent the early years in the Middle East.
Errol went to the British Army Apprentice School in Harrogate where he was a drum major and later joined the Royal Signal Corps. Early on he was 'seconded' to the Canadian Forces European Broadcasting Unit in Germany - where he developed his 'professional Canadian Radio Voice' and skills as a disc jockey.
He was then transferred to North Africa, where he formed a 'skiffle band trio' - a very early and 'low-tech' form of rock-n-roll featuring; a plywood tea-chest for a sound-box & broom-stick with a rope chord 'base', a snare-drum and an acoustic guitar. He toured army bases in North Africa with this wildly popular 'Rock Band' travelling by day and performing the early rock classics at night - which led him to successfully engineer a 'stress-related medical' retirement from the Army.
At this time he also married Ann Baker, daughter of the colonel of dad's regiment. They had a son called Richard who, many years after Errol & Ann were divorced, died in tragic circumstances, aged 21.
After he left the army Errol worked as the 'all-night jock' on 'Radio Caroline', which was a Pirate Radio Station on a fishing trawler with a transmitter, which was moored outside British Territorial waters in the North Sea. He helped to make bands such as the Beatles, the Animals & the Stones etc famous. When the British Govt. made it illegal to buy advertising on Pirate radio ships - effectively 'torpedoing' them - after a brief fling as the owner of a Rock-n-Roll club on England's South coast at Portsmouth, he came to Canada in '67.
He worked in Toronto Radio on 'CKFH 1430AM', 'CHUM 1050FM' and 'CFRB 1010FM. He was involved with several TV shows as well, the most famous being the appropriately named 'The All-Night show' - certainly Toronto's and probably Canada's first live all-night TV show. Errol directed the show, operated the cameras and was the unseen, on-air host with the 'Scottish' voice, named 'Ryerson'. He also worked several years for 'Aniforms', a company, which used the electronic puppets for Promotions at commercial and industrial conventions.
All along Errol was cultivating one of his major passions in life, 'U.F.O.'s'. When others were still using Atari computers for gaming he established what was probably one of the very first 'bulletin-boards' for UFO researchers. He continually evolved with Microsoft, eventually establishing a Facebook group called 'UFO Updates' with nearly 6,000 active members.
He was also the Saturday & Sunday night 'prime-time' host of a show he created on CFRB-1010 called 'Strange Days Indeed'. At its peak this was one of the most popular week-end prime-time radio talk-shows in the 'Golden Horseshoe' of Southern Ontario, with over 2,000,000 regular listeners. He was one of Canada's most respected and popular pioneers of all-things 'Strange & UFO' and continued this activity after retirement until his unfortunate demise.
It is probably not so well-known that he also audio & video recorded the first public transmissions of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism in Canada by His Holiness Sakya Trizin - Head of the Sakya Lineage - the senior Lama of Tibet after His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He digitised hundreds of these and other recordings by Namgyal Rinpoche as the tech. co-founder of the Namgyal.ca Archive.
He was the family's 'tech. wizard', archivist and 'cool uncle', with a love of gadgetry in general and electronics in particular. He could be very generous, had a great sense of humour, loved to party and, as I am discovering, was much more popular than I ever realised.
He was my first 'how to be a child' guru - and protector - he always took the blame and punishment for whatever trouble the other three of us caused. He shared his friends with me too - so much so that all my life most of my friends have been more his age than mine.
His heart surgeries went well according to the doctors but he experienced a stroke and a number of other complications and ultimately succumbed peacefully and rapidly to a lung infection.
Errol is much-loved and sorely missed. He is survived by myself; brother William, sister Helen, nieces Juniper, Yeshe & Eartha and nephews Micah, Radhi & Virgil.
May he be happy on his next great adventure now that he is released from the sufferings of his worn-out body. May he swiftly attain an auspicious re-birth…
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