Harold George KNIBBS, son of George Levi KNIBBS and Eveline BUTLER , was born 21 November 1913 in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. He married Pearl Louisa Alice NASH 12 August 1939 in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. He died 10 July 1998 in Bramshott, Hampshire, England. Pearl Louisa Alice NASH, daughter of William Henry Aquilla NASH and Lily May FUTCHER , was born 04 February 1917 in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. She died 15 May 1986 in Newport, Isle of Wight, England.

Children of Harold George KNIBBS and Pearl Louisa Alice NASH are:
1. Donald George KNIBBS, b. Private See Donald George KNIBBS & Shirley Ann BEARD
2. Janet Sandra KNIBBS, b. Private See Brian George DUFFIN & Janet Sandra KNIBBS
3. Elizabeth Joy KNIBBS, b. 04 August 1950 See Nigel John SHELDON & Elizabeth Joy KNIBBS

Marriage Notes for Harold George KNIBBS\Pearl Louisa Alice NASH:

See Harold and Pearl's Marriage Certificate

Harold and Pearl were married at St. Michaels Church, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.

The marriage of Pearl and Harold was witnessed by E W Wells and L M Nash (Pearl's uncle Eddy and her mother).

This picture was taken in the grounds of St Michael's Church, Basingstoke. Pearl's father died when she was in her teens so she was given away by her uncle Eddy Wells. The best man was Pearl's brother Don, and the bridesmaid was her sister Dorrie.
Back Row, left to right:
George Levi KNIBBS, Harold George KNIBBS, Donald William Henry NASH, Edward WELLS
Front Row, left to right:
Lily May NASH, Pearl Louisa Alice (Nash) KNIBBS, Dorothea NASH, Evelyn KNIBBS
Click image to see larger version.

I just had to add this photograph. It was sent to Harold by Pearl after he was taken prisoner of war and was hand painted by one of his fellow POW's in Italy for the price of 10 cigarettes. Click to see the larger image.

Notes for Harold George KNIBBS:

See Harold's Birth Certificate

See Harold's Death Certificate

Please visit my Notable KNIBBS Page for Harold

Harold was a keen violinist in his teens. He helped to establish the school orchestra at Fairfields school in Basingstoke as well as playing first violin for the Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra until the outbreak of WWII. On leaving school he worked in a shoe shop in Basingstoke for a short time and then for Scutter's bakery in Basingstoke. In the photo below he can be seen sitting on the bonnet of the Scutter's delivery van (click to enlarge)

He was also a keen motorcyclist and claims that there was nothing like mixing dough by hand to remove oil from his hands after a weekend overhauling the motorbike!.

Despite this, when he left the employ of George Scutter, he still received
a glowing reference

Harold was a very keen cricketer and played cricket for the Co-op Bakery where he worked for some time. One of his claims to fame was that he knew and grew up with John Arlott, the world famous cricket commentator. My wife had the pleasure of meeting John Arlott in the 1970's. She mentioned Harold to him and he remembered him well from their days growing up in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Harold was over the moon to think that John Arlott remembered him after all those years.

We see Harold and Pearl, living at Glenville Kempshott Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, at the time of the 1939 Register.
Harold G Knibbs 21 Nov 1913 Van Driver ? & Grocery Married

Glenville was in fact No. 302. For some reason, Harold was identified as a Visitor. The Register was taken on 29 September, 1939. They married on 12 August 1939. I wonder if perhaps they hadn't moved into the house at the time the Register was taken.

Harold volunteered to join the army at the outset of WWII and served overseas as a Tank Driver Mechanic, driving Churchill tanks in the Royal Armored Corps and the Reconnaissance Corps. (Click image for larger version)

He enlisted at Farnborough, Hampshire, England on 27th June 1940, and it is recorded in has papers that he was 5' 11¾", 142 lbs, 35" chest, with Fresh Complexion, Auburn Hair and Grey Eyes. His service number was 7912314

Please visit Harold's Military service page

He was captured in Tripoli in about June 1941 and despite several escape attempts, remained a prisoner in Germany and Italy for the remainder of the war.

Records show that he was reported as Missing inAction on 17 June, 1941 when he was serving in the 7th Rioyal Tank Regiment, as part of the Expeditionary Forces in the Western Desert.

It was reported in The Times Newspaper on Monday 29th September 1941 that the following members of the Royal Armoured Corps (Royal Tank Regiment) has been made Prisoners of War:
Greenwell, w.s./Lieut. W.N.
Johnstone, T/Capt. R.S.V.
Kempton, Sec. Lt. J.A.
Caselton, Tpr. E.A.
Collins, Tpr. E.C.
Goddard, Tpr. F.
Knibbs, Tpr. H.G.
Mitchell, Tpr. A.J.
Kennison, Cpl. F.
Snelgrove, Tpr. J.H.
Templeman, Tpr. H.G.
Watson, Tpr. R.B.
Whenday, Tpr. R.J.

See Copy of Times Article

The War Diaries for the Royal Tank Regiment identify that Lt W N Greenwell and Tpr. E A Castelton were reported "Missing Presumed Killed" on 15/16 Jun 1941.

Whilst I understand from his sister Winifred that he suffered quite badly as a prisoner of war, if he ever talked of his experiences it was to laugh at some of the lighter moments he encountered. One such occasion was once, during an escape attempt at night, he dived into what he believed to be a haystack to avoid a German patrol. He quickly discovered that instead of the haystack he was expecting, he had dived into a manure heap. That was one occasion when he was more than pleased to be recaptured.

In a second escape attempt, this time by tunnelling under the perimeter fence, he and his colleagues misjudged the direction they were digging. Instead of ending up in open fields, they tunnelled into the cellar of a large building that was nearby. On discovering a large stock of good wine and family treasures, they quickly forgot about the escape attempt, looted the treasures, had a huge party and then went back along the tunnel into the camp. Harold came away with two silver knives, forks and spoons and a large hand embroidered linen tablecloth. He smuggled these back into England when he was repatriated and I remember him using the cutlery when I was a child. Unfortunately, he sold the cutlery when he was in his 80's, but the tablecloth is now with his daughter Janet.

Life in the prison camps was very hard but Harold always said that compared with life in the Russian quarters at some of the German camps where he was imprisoned, life for the British prisoners was easy.

Initially he was held captive in two Italian camps at Campo Concentramento Prigionieri di Guerra No.'s 59 at Savigliano and PG.73. After about September 1943, he was transferred to Stalag IVB at Mühlberg, Germany which was the biggest of the prison camps. He was Prisoner of War No.267237 in Stalag IVB. Jack Stoneley's novel "Jenny's War" is based around Stalag IVB. The novel is based on the true story of Florence Barrington, the English wife of a Luftwaffe pilot who managed to smuggle herself into Stalag IVB where her son (an RAF pilot) was imprisoned after being shot down over Germany. Whilst Harold had no first hand knowledge of this at the time, reading the novel brought back memories of events at the camp which he then realised may well have been related to Florence being hidden there amongst the prisoners.

Harold was also held at Stalag IVG which wasn't a camp in the usual sense, but a series of Arbeitslager Kommandos (labour camps) scattered throughout the state of Saxony, administered from a central office on Lutherstraße in Oschatz, a small town situated between Leipzig and Dresden.
He was located in Arbeits Kommandos (abbreviated as Arb. Kdo) 247, but I haven't yet figured out where it was.

After the war, he worked for Fred Smith's in Basingstoke as an Agricultural Engineer and then Services Manager until December 1961 when the Company was taken over by the Southern Counties Agricultural Trading Society (SCATS). SCATS then moved him to Newport on the Isle of Wight where he became the Sales and Services Manager at their Newport Depot. Harold's heart remained in Basingstoke and he never really settled on the Island.

The above appeared in the SCATS internal newsletter when they took over Fred Smith (Basingstoke) Ltd at the end of 1961.

From the Isle of Wight County Press, 26 September, 1964:
S.C.A.T.S. Management Reorganisation
The Southern Counties Agricultural Trading Society, Ltd., announce managerial changes affecting the Island in connection with reorganisation covering the whole society. They are withdrawing their area manager. Mr. J. Bessant, for more important duties on the mainland. His place will be taken by a permanent and full time appointment of a regional manager to take charge of all their trading interests in this area. These will include the operations of the grain and merchanting departments at Sea Street and Blackhouse, the retail shops at Newport, Shanklin and Sandown, and the machinery and engineering department in Pyle Street, Newport. Mr. Rex Humphrey. who has been managing one of the society's larger branches in Sussex, will take up this appointment on Thursday at the Sea Street. Newport, office. He will be supported by four main under-managers: Regional sales managers—Corn. feedingstuffs, etc.. Mr. C. W. du Feu; machinery and engineering. Mr. Frank Callaway.. Machinery service manager — Mr. H. G. Knibbs. Administrative supervisor — Mr. H. E. Haley. The retail shops will continue under their existing management, within Mr. ; Humphrey's jurisdiction.


From the Isle of Wight County Press, 24 May, 1969:
Herbert Arthur Farrants, grocer, of 14 Cypress Road, Newport, pleaded not guilty to driving a motor car in a manner dangerous to the public and failing to conform to red traffic lights. He was represented by Mr. P. Gill. Michael John Porter, of 6 West-ways, Newbridge, said he was driving his lorry along Town Lane on April 12th. intending to go towards Shank-lin. The lights were green and so he proceeded across. When he was about half way across the car belonging to Mr. Farrants struck his front left wheel. George Bristow, of 21 Clatterford Road, Caristrrooke, said he was driving along Town Lane. A lorry was on his left just a little way ahead. He took the right lane and as the lights were green turned right. As he did so he saw the car hit the lorry. Harold George Knibbs. of 11 Avondale Road. Newport. said on April 12th he was walking from Church Litten toward Town Lane. He saw Mr. Farrants car coming up South Street. As the lights were green in favour of can coming from Church Litten and Town Lane he crossed the road, in front of Mr. Farrants. Farrants said he had been driving since 1934 with a clean licence. On April 12th he was coming up South Street intending to go to the bus station car park. He stopped at the lights as Mr. Knibbs crossed. The lights then changed to amber and so he put the car into first gear. When they changed to green he moved off. He had six yards to go to the junction and was still on the studs when the collision occurred. The first case was dismissed. Farrants was fined £10 with an endorsement and ordered to pay £5 9s. 2d. witness's fees on the second case.


From the Isle of Wight County Press, 7 August, 1971:
We offer the following items for sale at tender. Items are affered "as seen" and "in situ" and maybe inspected at our premises in Newport by arrangement with Mr. Haley (Tel. Newport 2816) or Mr. Banner or Mr. Knibbs (Tel. Newport 3998).
6 Pairs Platform Scales
1 Avery Division Scale
9 Pairs Sack Trucks
1 Spenstead Vacuum
2 Sack Lifts
1 Miracle Mill
1 Thames Portable Bag Stitcher
1 Ton Reffold Qukkmix Meal and Mash Mixer
1 Ton Mixer
1 Porteous Cleaner
1 Booth & Son Crusher
1 Old type Dressing Machine
1 Sack Hoist
1 Workshop Lathe
1 Pillar Drill
1 Airwood 2 ton Batch Grain Tray Drier (direct oil-fired, 3 phase motor)
1 Ransomes 30 cwt. Grain Drier
1 Perry 30 cwt. Grain Cleaner


Harold moved to Liphook in Hampshire due to ill health in September 1998 and died ten months later at his son's home in Bramshott, Hampshire.

His funeral service was held at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Bramshott, Hampshire, England.

He was well known and will be remembered by those who knew him for his wicked sense of humor.

Harold can be seen in the World Book of Knibbs from the 1980's, living above at 11 Avondale Road,
Newport, Isle of Wight, England. (Click image for a larger version).
When he moved to the Isle of Wight, SCATS provided temporary accommodation at 20 Cypress Road, Newport (which was the road running parallel to Avondale Road) until he could find somewhere to live. His wife Pearl fell in love with this house as soon as she saw it.

Our gratitude goes to the members and volunteers at Find A Grave web site for recording the details, in memory of Harold.

Sources for Harold George KNIBBS:

  1. Living memory of me, Don Knibbs,
  2. 1939 Register,

Notes for Pearl Louisa Alice NASH:

Pearl aged about 2 years in 1919 (click to enlarge)

See Pearl's Birth Certificate

See Pearl's Death Certificate

From the Book of Remembrance, Whippingham Crematorium, Isle of Wight


The top picture shows Pearl aged 23 years on 18th July, 1940. The bottom one is Pearl aged about 60. Click images for larger version.

Pearl's father died in a tragic accident when she was just 15 years old. She worked as a shop assistant for Lanhams in Basingstoke, and for a while, Pearl's income from Lanham's was the only income into the family of her mother, two brothers and a younger sister.

At some point before she married, Pearl was a Sunday School teacher in Basingstoke.

During the war years, she worked at Smith's in Basingstoke painting the luminous dials onto the equipment used in military aircraft. She once told me that when walking home from Smith's in the dark, her eyelids would flash in front of her eyes as a result of the luminous dust from the dials settling on her lashes. No doubt the Health & Safety experts of today would be horrified especially so now that it's known that the luminous paint used in those days is carcinogenic.

Pearl took time out from work whilst her three children were young. When they reached their teens she started work again as a shop assistant and for a short while as a canteen assistant for Marks & Spencer in Basingstoke. After she and Harold moved to the Isle of Wight, she took a job as a shop assistant working for Duke's Hardware store in Newport. She later took a job working for the Inland Revenue at their Newport offices.

Shortly after her retirement, she was diagnosed as having breast cancer which, despite treatment, was the cause of her death some four years later.

Pearl was artistic and spent a great deal of her time knitting or sewing. In her younger years she was a very good seamstress and did much knitting and sewing for friends and neighbours to earn a little extra cash. After her retirement her knitting and sewing skills were put to good use making toys and knick-knacks for charity sales, despite being seriously ill with cancer.

Our gratitude goes to the members and volunteers at Find A Grave web site for recording the details, in memory of Pearl.