Richard KNIBBS, son of George BRYAN and Frances KNIBBS , was born 05 September 1869 in Mile End, London, Middlesex, England. He married Sarah Agnes LAWS 04 June 1900 in Bromley, London, Middlesex, England. He died bet. April and June, 1901 in Dartford, Kent, England. Sarah Agnes LAWS was born bet. April and June, 1862 in Marylebone District, London, Middlesex, England. She died UNKNOWN.

Notes for Richard KNIBBS:

Richard joined the Royal Navy as a boy in August 1885 and signed to serve 12 years from the age of 18. When he joined, he was 5'2" with brown hair and hazel eyes and a fair complexion. He was a Chatham based Rating and I believe he was invalided out in Apr 1900.

His drafts were as follows:
HMS (?) from 12 Aug 1885 to 21 Aug 1885
HMS Lion from 22 Aug 1885 to 9 Sep 1887 (Training Ship)
HMS Adelaide from 10 Sep 1887 to 7 Nov 1887 (Devonport Accommodation Ship)
HMS Dover from 8 Nov 1887 to 17 Apr 1888 (?)
HMS Duncan from 18 Apr 1888 to 3 Dec 1888 (Ship of the Line at Pembroke)
HMS Champion from 4 Dec 1888 to 4 Dec 1891 (Light Cruiser) [1]
HMS Victory I from 5 Dec 1891 to 11 Apr 1892 (Portsmouth Shore base)
HMS Excellent from 12 Apr 1892 to 3 Nov 1892 (Portsmouth Shore base)
HMS Pembroke from 4 Nov 1892 to 15 May 1893 (Chatham Shore Base)
HMS Hawke from 16 May 1893 to 24 May 1893 (Cruiser)
HMS Pembroke from 25 May 1893 to 31 May 1893 (Chatham Shore Base)
HMS Hood from 1 Jun 1893 to 7 Sep 1896 (Battleship) [2]
HMS Pembroke from 8 Sep 1896 to 2 Feb 1897 (Chatham Shore Base)
HMS Sans Pareil from 3 Feb 1897 to 7 Jun 1897 (Battleship)
HMS Victorious from 8 Jun 1897 to 31 Aug 1899 (Battleship) [3]
HMS Powerful from 1 Sep 1899 to 22 Feb 1900 (Battleship) [3]
HMS Duke of Wellington from 23 Feb 1900 to 18 Apr 1900 (Portsmouth Flag Ship)

See images of the ships on which he served.

Richard was promoted from Boy to Ordinary Seaman on 5 Sep 1887, and from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman on 19 Nov 1890.
His character throughout his Naval career varied between Fair, Good or Very Good and he endured a couple of periods in cells, once for 14 days and another shorter period of just 3 days. Being confined to cells sounds like the punishment given for a very serious offence, but that wasn't necessarily the case. Such punishment was often issued simply for having a few too many to drink or being late back from shore leave - ok - quite a few too many and probably more than just a few hours adrift from shore leave.

[1]From what I can see, Richard joined HMS Champion on the day it was first commissioned at Sheerness, on 4th December 1888. the Champion was a Light Cruiser made of steel and iron and cased in wood. In 1890, she served in the Pacific. I haven't yet got to grips with what happened to her whilst Richard was part of the crew, but on 25 Dec 1891, a ship called the Tyne arrived at Plymouth, from Halifax, bringing home the crew of the Champion, from the Pacific Station. They apparently left Vancouver on 5 Dec., crossing Canada by the Railway, reaching Halifax on 12 Dec. The Tyne sailed them to Portsmouth from where they proceeded on leave.

[2]Richard also joined HMS Hood when it was first commissioned in 1893. She departed Sheerness for the Mediterranean on 18 June 1893, stopping at Gibraltar for coal, arriving in Malta on 3 July 1893 to take up her Mediterranean Fleet duties. The Hood served as part of the International Squadron blockading Crete and maintaining order during the Greco-Turkish uprising there. She returned to the UK in April 1900 and was placed in reserve. I think Richard must have transferred to another ship to return to the UK in 1896.

[3]On 8 June 1897, Richard joined the battleship HMS Victorious as she sailed from England for service in the Mediterranean Fleet. Before leaving the United Kingdom, she was present at the Fleet Review at Spithead for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria on 26 June 1897.
In February 1898, the Victorious detached from the Mediterranean Fleet for service on the China Station.
I believe Richard was transferred from Victorious to HMS Powerful whilst both ships were attached to the China Station. During it's return journey to the UK, the Powerful was diverted to Durban, South Africa at an important point of the Boer War. Knowing that the British forces at Ladysmith urgently needed more powerful guns, carriages to transport naval cannon were devised, and a Naval Brigade was despatched from Powerful to the rescue with four twelve-pounders and two other guns. The journey to Ladysmith from Durban was 189 miles. They began by special train then with oxen pulling the guns but when the oxen died the sailors took over pulling the guns themselves. In this endeavor they manhandled the guns "through the wild and broken country" of the South African veldt and "arrived in the nick of time" to play "a most important role in the defence of the town" Although the Boer attackers were kept at bay unfortunately the Naval brigade became besieged themselves. A second Naval brigade from HMS Terrible left Durban for Ladysmith and joined with the relief column led by General Buller and assisted in the lifting of the siege.

The field gun competition that still takes place in the Royal Navy today (and in which I personally participated in 1966) commemorates the participation of HMS Terrible and HMS Powerful in the relief of Ladysmith.

Richard's naval record shows that he was invalided out of the navy, and sadly, he died just over a year later, aged just 31 years.

Sources for Richard KNIBBS:

  1. 1881 British Census,
  2. FreeBMD, gave Poplar District 
  3. National Archives for England,

Notes for Sarah Agnes LAWS:

In 1871, Sarah was living weith her parents at Wilesden Lane, Wilesden, Middlesex:
Samuel Head Mar 38 Coachman Kent Holingbourne
Mary A Laws Wife Mar 38 Kent Maidstone
Sarah A Laws Daur 9 Middlesex Manda Hill Gd (?)
Rose C Laws Daur 3 Middlesex Hilburn

In 1881, she was living with her mother at 58 Alexander Road, Hampstread, Middlesex:
Ann Mary Laws Head Mar 64 Dom Serv Middlesex London
Sarah Agnes Laws Serv UnM 18 Dom Serv Middlesex Paddington
Esther Spiers Serv Wid 53 Dom Serv Hants Rickmansworth

Sarah married Richard Knibbs in 1900.

We see Sarah in 1935, living at 34 Tidey Street, Bromley, London:
Alfred Fisher
Alice fisher
Doris Caroline Fisher
Sarah Agnes Knibbs
Harriet Laws

She was at the same address in 1937, 1938 and 1939.

Sources for Sarah Agnes LAWS:

  1. FreeBMD,