Sydney Ernest KNIBBS, son of James KNIBBS and Matilda WILKINS , was born 22 September 1892 in Old Windsor, Berkshire, England. He married Isabel Constance M HAWKINS bet. October and December, 1923 in Windsor District, Berkshire, England. He died 18 February 1963 in Edgware, London, Middlesex, England. Isabel Constance M HAWKINS was born 25 April 1902 in Eton District, Buckinghamshire, England. She died May 1987 in Harrow District, London, England.

Children of Sydney Ernest KNIBBS and Isabel Constance M HAWKINS are:
1. Iris M KNIBBS, b. Private See Alexander HEWITT & Iris M KNIBBS
2. George Arthur KNIBBS, b. 09 November 1924 See George Arthur KNIBBS & Gwen Isabel JONES
3. Joan KNIBBS, b. Private

Notes for Sydney Ernest KNIBBS:

Click on the above to see a larger photograph of the entire crew of HM Submarine J6.

Windsor and Eton Express - 02 December 1911:
SIX SONS IN THE NAVY.—Though only a small village. Old Windsor can certainly boast of patriotic pretensions. Quite a number of young men and youths have during the past few years joined one of his Majesty's forces. Four entered the naval service on Monday last, and of these one is the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Knibbs, whose six sons are now serving in the Royal Navy. Mr. J. Knibbs has for many years worked in the Royal Gardens, Windsor.


Sydney joined the Royal Navy on 24 Nov 1911. He was recorded at 5'4.5", with a 40" chest, brown hair, blue eyes and fair complexion when he joined. He also had a smallpox scar on his left eye. He was a Chatham based rating and undertook his initial training at HMS Pembroke at Chatham. His draft record is as follows:
HMS Pembroke 24 Nov 1911 to 17 Apr 1912 (Chatham - Shore Base)
HMS Russell 18 Apr 1912 to 6 Mar 1916 (Battleship) [1]
HMS Dolphin 7 Mar 1916 to 15 Aug 1916 [2]
HMS Titania (Sub L6) 16 Aug 1916 to 20 Oct 1918 [3]
HMS Dolphin 21 Oct 1918 to 4 Mar 1919
HMS Crescent (SC) 5 Mar 1919 to 2 Apr 1919
HMS Dolphin 3 Apr 1919 to 14 Apr 1919
HMS Vulcan (R10) 15 Apr 1919 to 9 Jun 1919
HMS Lancia(?) 10 Jun 1919 to 20 Feb 1920
HMS Dolphin 21 Feb 1920 to 26 May 1921
HMS Pembroke II 27 Mat 1921 to 6 Oct 1921
HMS Tiger 7 Oct 1921 to 6 Apr 1922
HMS Pembroke 7 Apr 1922 to 7 Jun 1922
HMS Ramillies 8 Jun 1922 to 14 Jun 1923
HMS Pembroke 15 June 1923 to 22 Sep 1925
HMS Cleopatra 23 Sep 1925 to 8 Nov 1925
HMS Pembroke 9 Nov 1925 to 27 Nov 1925
HMS Yarmouth 28 Nov 1925 to 31 Jan 1926
HMS Hawkins 1 Feb 1926 to 12 Feb 1928
HMS Pembroke 13 Feb 1928
HMS Canterbury 1 May 1929 to 29 April 1930
HMS York 30 April 1930 to 3 Jan 1932
HMS Pembroke II 4 Jan 1932 to 21 Jan 1932
HMS Cambrian 22 Jan 1932 to 14 Jul 1933
HMS Cardiff 15 Jul 1933 to 26 Nov 1933

He left the navy in 1933, but rejoined in August 1939.
HMS Pembroke 27 Aug 1939 to 4 Sep 1939
HMS Lynx 5 Sep 1939 to 31 Dec 1940
HMS Lynx (Sandhuirst) 1 Jan 1940 to 30 Sep 1940
HMS Lynx 1 Oct 1940 to 11 Nov 1940
HMS Pembroke 12 Nov 1940

See images of the ships on which he served.

He was promoted to 1st Class Stoker on 1 Apr 1913, and Acting Leading Stoker on 1 Feb 1921. On 26 Aug 1922 he was promoted to Petty Officer Stoker.

[1] Sydney's is first ship seagoing ship was the battleship HMS Russell between April 1912 and March 1916. In 1913, the Russell joined the 2nd Fleet at Nore. She later became flagship with the Grand Fleet in the North Sea in 1914 with the 6th Battle Squadron and then moved to the 3rd battle squadron to take part in northern patrols. In 1915, she sailed for the Dardanelles for the final part of the Gallipoli campaign, stayed on at Mudros, a small Greek port on the Mediterranean island of Lemnos, and then took part in the eventual evacuation of troops from Gallipoli in December 1915. Shortly after Sydney left her, on 27 April 1916, HMS Russell was mined 1916 just off the coast of Malta with the loss of over 100 lives.

[2] In March 1916, Sydney was drafted to HMS Dolphin, so I am assuming it was at about this time he decided to transfer to submarines.

[3] In August that year he was drafted to the submarine depot ship HMS Titania and served on the submarine J6. The J Class submarines were built under an emergency war program based by an erroneous report that the German Navy had U-Boats under construction capable of speeds of 18-20 knots. At that time the British Navy was experimenting with steam driven turbine powered submarines and as the J Class were only experimental, they were forced to design a fast submarine using existing technology. The J Class submarines suffered very few casualties during the war. However, one of the most tragic incidences of the war occurred when Sydney was one of it's crew. At 4.30 pm on the 15th October 1918, the Royal Navy Decoy ship Cymric mistakenly attacked and sunk the J6 off Blyth on the North east coast of England, with the loss of 16 men. It had mistakenly identified the J6 as the German U-Boat U16.

I believe Sydney transferred from submarines to surface ships in 1921 and served on the battle cruiser HMS Tiger, torpedo boat depot ship HMS Vulcan, battleship HMS Ramillies, the cruisers HMS Cleopatra, HMS Yarmouth and finally HMS Hawkins.

The 1939 Register shows Sydney living at 62 East Cliff, Dover, and appears to be one of six lodgers living at the household of a James L Price and his wife. Sydney was isted as a Mechanician. His wife Isable wasn't with him at the time.

Knibbs Sidney Ernest of 113 Masons Avenue Wealdstone Harrow Middlesex died 18 February 1963 at The General Hospital Edgware Middlesex Probate Peterborough 10 April to Isable Constance Mary Knibbs widow. Effects £3002 0s. 3d.

Sources for Sydney Ernest KNIBBS:

  1. 1901 British Census,
  2. FreeBMD,
  3. 1911 British Census,
  4. GRO England & Wales, from 1837 On Line 
  5. - England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966,
  6. National Archives for England, gave DOB 
  7. 1939 Register,

Notes for Isabel Constance M HAWKINS:

Also known as: Comstance Isabel

We see Isabel and children George and Iris living at 113 Mason Avenue Harrow, Middlesex, at the time of the 1939 Register.

Sources for Isabel Constance M HAWKINS:

  1. GRO England & Wales, from 
  2. FreeBMD, gave location 

Notes for Joan KNIBBS: