Herbert KNIBBS, son of Henry Theodore BURT and Agnes Ellen BAXTER , was born bet. January and March, 1871 in Homerton, London, Middlesex, England. He married Eliza Burrough PLOWMAN 24 August 1895 in Newington, London, Middlesex, England. He died bet. July and September, 1938 in Rochford District, Essex, England. Eliza Burrough PLOWMAN was born bet. July and September, 1873 in Bermondsey, London, Middlesex, England. She died bet. July and September, 1940 in Rochford District, Essex, England.

Children of Herbert KNIBBS and Eliza Burrough PLOWMAN are:
1. Iris Vera KNIBBS, b. 08 January 1912 See Frank FLAY & Iris Vera KNIBBS
2. Doris Ethel KNIBBS, b. bet. July and September, 1898
3. Ada Edna KNIBBS, b. bet. January and March, 1900 See Vernon Stanley J KIRBY & Ada Edna KNIBBS
4. Edith May KNIBBS, b. bet. July and September, 1901 See Percival H TRUEMAN & Edith May KNIBBS
5. Herbert Henry KNIBBS, b. 05 May 1903
6. Lyle Hilda KNIBBS, b. 27 March 1897
7. Cyril William KNIBBS, b. bet. April and June, 1913 See Cyril William KNIBBS & Rita J GONELLA
8. Madge A KNIBBS, b. bet. April and June, 1917 See Horace CRANE & Madge A KNIBBS
9. Walter Sydney KNIBBS, b. 14 March 1905 See Walter Sydney KNIBBS & Marjorie DONAGHY
10. Phyllis Ida KNIBBS, b. 04 January 1907 See William Louis HOSKINS & Phyllis Ida KNIBBS
11. Leonard Reginald KNIBBS, b. 22 July 1909 See Leonard Reginald KNIBBS & Mabel Irene PETTITT

Marriage Notes for Herbert KNIBBS\Eliza Burrough PLOWMAN:

Notes for Herbert KNIBBS:

Herbert's father, Henry Theodore Knibbs isn't strictly a member of the Knibbs family. His parents were John and Ann BURT so his real name is Henry Theodore BURT. Henry's mother was widowed and then married Francis Knibbs (1793-1856).
Henry married as Henry Theodore BURT but at a later date, he assumed the surname KNIBBS.

We can see Herbert in 1891, aged 20 and unmarried, living in St George, London, Middlesex at the household of his father, Henry Knibbs. The household seems a little mixed and a struggle to understand who is who.
Henry Knibbs Head Widr 63 Beerseller Somersetshire
Sydney Knibbs Son M 26 Manager St George's East
Alice Knibbs Wife M 26 Middlesex
Alice Knibbs Dau 2 Bloomsbury, London
Grace Knibbs Dau 8 Bloomsbury, London
Lizzie Knibbs Wife M 56 Middlesex
Walter Knibbs Son 9 Middlesex
Alice M Dau 6 Bloomsbury, London
Eleanor Knibbs Dau 5 Bloomsbury, London
Frank G Knibbs Son 2 Bloomsbury, London
Herbert Knibbs Son 20 Homerton

Herbert can be seen in 1901 living at Islington, London with his wife and two daughters:
Herbert Knibbs 30 Homerton London London Islington Parcel Sort
Eliza Knibbs 27 Bermondsey London London Islington
Doris Knibbs 2 Islington London London Islington
Ada Knibbs 1 Islington London London Islington

We next see them living at 4 Palace Road, New Southgate, wood Green, London, Middlesex at the 1911 census:
Herbert Knibbs Head 40 Married Postal Sorter (Parcels) St George in the East London
Eliza Burrows Knibbs Wife 37 Married (15years) Bermondsey
Lyall Hilda Knibbs Daughter 14 Gt Corasm(?) Street Russell Square London
Doris Ethel Knibbs Daughter 12 Lavina Grove Caledonian London
Ada Edna Knibbs Daughter 11 Lavina Grove Caledonian London
Edith May Knibbs Daughter 9 Lavina Grove Caledonian London
Herbert Henry Knibbs Son 7 Lavina Grove Caledonian London
Walter Sidney Knibbs Son 6 Kale Grove Finsbury Park Londpn
Phylis Ida Knibbs Daughter 4 Kale Grove Finsbury Park London
Leonard Reginald Knibbs Son 1 Palace Road Bowe London

Eliza had 8 children before 1911, and all survived.

Sources for Herbert KNIBBS:

  1. 1881 British Census,
  2. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983 gave Hackney District 
  3. GRO England & Wales,
  4. 1901 British Census,
  5. Ancestry.com - Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921,

Notes for Eliza Burrough PLOWMAN:

We first see Eliza in 1891, working and probably living at the Churchill Arms, 9 Peel Place, Kensington, London, Middlesex:
Eliza B Plowman Servant UnM 18 Bermondsey

Eliza married Herbert Knibbs in 1895.

Sources for Eliza Burrough PLOWMAN:

  1. 1901 British Census,
  2. FreeBMD, FreeBMD gave St Olave District, London, Middlesex, England 
  3. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983 
  4. GRO England & Wales,

Notes for Doris Ethel KNIBBS:

Doris' grandfather, Henry Theodore Knibbs isn't strictly a member of the Knibbs family. His parents were John and Ann BURT so his real name is Henry Theodore BURT. Henry's mother was widowed and then married Francis Knibbs (1793-1856).
Henry married as Henry Theodore BURT but at a later date, he assumed the surname KNIBBS.

Doris died aged just 13 years.

Sources for Doris Ethel KNIBBS:

  1. 1901 British Census,
  2. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983 
  3. FreeBMD,

Notes for Herbert Henry KNIBBS:

Herbert served in the Merchant Navy during WWII and served on the Dutch passenger ship Dempo, which was requisitioned for Troop Transport and converted in Liverpool. It retained the name Dempo and was used as a Dutch Troop Transport vessel.
The Dempo was sunk whilst travellng in covoy in the Mediterranean off the coast of North Africa by U-731 at 09:42 on 17 March 1944 whilst Herbert was a crew member.

See images of the ships on which he served.

We know that Herbert was unmarried and spent some of his life in the merchant navy. In the early 1960's he worked on the P&O cruise ship, SS Arcadia, which operated on the UK-Australia passenger service.

I understand that he died onboard the Arcadia.

The following is an extract from the Times newspaper of 26 May, 1962:

Before Mr. Justice Wrangham
His Lordship holding that statements made by the deceased while he was a mariner at sea, that if anything happened to him his sister, Iris, should get anything he had, were not entitled to probate as nuncupative will, gave judgment for defendant, Mrs. Edith Mary Trueman, of Higham Road, Tottenham, in this probate action in which the plaintiff, Mrs. Iris Vera Flay. of London Road. Hadleigh, Essex, propounded an a privileged will of the deceased Mr. Herbert Henry Knibbs late of London Road, Hadleigh, a statement made by him on February 17, 1961 in the following terms: "If anything happens to me anything I have got is to go to my sister, Iris." The plaintiff propounded, in the alternative, a statement made in similar terms of April 7, 1960.
Mr. G. W. Cheyne appeared for the plaintiff; Mr. P. C M. Curtis-Bennett for the defendant

His Lordship said that the deceased was a seaman, and unmarried. He had a sister named Iris, to whom be was more attached than to any other member of his family, and whom he had named as his next-of-kin in the records of his employers. In 1960 the deceased was working as a barman In the liner Arcadia. In April 1960 his sister was a passenger in the Arcadia to Melbourne, where she disembarked. On the evening after the Arcadia left Melbourne, the deceased said to the head barman, Mr. Wills, in the course of a conversation on domestic matters, "If anything happens to me Iris will get anything I have got". In February, 1961. when the Arcadia was on another voyage, the deceased had a similar conversation with another barman. Mr. McGee. The deceased died on March 1, 1961, at the age of 57, on shore, from coronary thrombosis. The question arose whether what the deceased had said to either or both of these men was a nuncupative will. The fundamental principle to be applied was that nothing could be admitted to probate which was not intended to be a testament A testamentary act for the purposes of a privileged will did not have to be a document or an act attended by any formalities. It was not even necessary for the speaker to know that he was making a will or that he was capable of making a will when he uttered the words in question. In order to constitute a testamentary act, however, there must be a statement of the deceased’s desires for the disposition of his property which was not merely imparted to his audience as a manor of information but was intended to convey to that audience a request to see that those wishes were acted upon.
His Lordship was satisfied that the deceased had formed a clear and definite intention that his sister, Iris, should have all his property at his death. If it were possible to give effect to that intention, it would be just to do so. But the Court had to administer the law as it was. His Lordship did not think that when the deceased had this not much more than carnal conversation in the bar with Mr. Wills, he was intending to perform a testamentary act. He was merely discussing family matters. If the deceased had told Mr. Wills that he wanted his sister Iris to have all his property after his death, and had asked Mr. Wills to see that she did have it, the situation might have been different. His Lordship was not satisfied that anything had been proved with sufficient clarity in regard to the later conversation with Mr. McGee. In the result, neither of the statements propounded could be admitted to probate, and they would be pronounced against. There would be judgment for the defendant, with costs out of the estate.


Knibbs Herbert Henry of 275 London Toad Hadleigh Essex died 1 March 1961 Administration London 7 December to Iris Vera Flay married woman and Edith May Trueman widow. Effects £1866 10s.
By decree dated 25 May 1962.

Sources for Herbert Henry KNIBBS:

  1. FreeBMD,
  2. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983 
  3. GRO England & Wales, from FindMyPast.com 
  4. Ancestry.com. - England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966,
  5. Personal Contact with Robin Knibbs,

Notes for Lyle Hilda KNIBBS:

Also known as: Hilda

I suspet it's Hilda we see living at 37 Pellat Grove, Wood Green, Middlesex, at the time of the 1939 Register.
Others at the address were:
Selina L Hornfeck, 64, Club Agent
Ellen Beauvale, 88

I understand from Robin Knibbs, the son of Hilda's brother Cyril Knibbs, that Hilda was in domestic service during the 2nd World War. She's been out for the evening with Cyril who'd seen her home, and shortly after, the house received a direct hit by a German bomb and Hilda was killed as a result,

Sources for Lyle Hilda KNIBBS:

  1. 1901 British Census,
  2. 1939 Register,
  3. GRO England & Wales,
  4. Personal Contact with Robin Knibbs,