Harold George Knibbs, 1913-1998 -
Last updated March
George Knibbs, my father, was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire,
Nov 1913. Whilst not known other than locally for his musical talent, he was
instrumental in forming the first orchestra at the Fairfields Boys' School in
Basingstoke. He went on to play for the Basingstoke Methodist Chapel Orchestra
and was amongst the first members of the Basingstoke
Orchestral Society (BSO) when it was formed in 1930. To quote from the BSO's
web pages, "in analysing the present status of
the Orchestra one has to realise that it is the pioneers who have gone before,
both players and conductors, who have paved the way".
Harold was one of those pioneers and would be proud to know that it is
still performing successfully today.
Harold was a keen violinist from a very young age. His first violin cost him
7s.6d (37.5 pence or 50 US cents in today's money). He spotted it in a second-hand shop and
saved his pocket money over many months but still couldn't quite afford it. His
older sister Winifred, who was working at that time, helped out and gave him the
rest towards it.
At Christmas 1927, his music teacher, Mrs Atwell, at the
School in Basingstoke wrote to Harold expressing her appreciation for his
help "so quickly and kindly given" in forming the new school
orchestra, and presented him with a brand new music stand as a reward.
During his teens, Harold played violin in the Methodist Chapel Orchestra in
1930, at the age of 17, he joined the newly formed Basingstoke
1932, he played 1st Violin in their Concert at the Town
During the war years, especially whist he was a prisoner of war in Germany
and Italy between 1941 and 1945, he continued to play his violin at camp
concerts. Sadly, for whatever reason, after the war was over, he never ever
played his violin again. Harold's first violin remains as one of my family
Harold enlisted in the army at the outset of World War II. He volunteered for
service in the Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Tank Regiment as a Driver/Mechanic,
driving mainly Churchill and Matilda Tanks. He enlisted on 27 Jun 1940 at
Farnborough, Hampshire. Please visit Harold's
Military Service page.