Leonard Reginald KNIBBS, son of Herbert KNIBBS and Eliza Burrough PLOWMAN , was born 22 July 1909 in Edmonton, Middlesex, England. He married Mabel Irene PETTITT bet. October and December, 1936 in East Elloe District, Lincolnshire, England. He died bet. April and June, 1981 in Lambeth District, London, England. Mabel Irene PETTITT was born bet. October and December, 1914 in Holbeach District, Lincolnshire, England. She died December 2000 in Worthing District, Sussex, England.


Children of Leonard Reginald KNIBBS and Mabel Irene PETTITT are:
1. Alwyn Leonard KNIBBS, b. bet. October and December, 1936 See Alwyn Leonard KNIBBS & Elizabeth TRIGWELL
2. Robin Keith KNIBBS, b. bet. January and March, 1939 See Robin Keith KNIBBS & Daphne O GOULD OR Robin Keith KNIBBS & Pamela F BILNEY

Notes for Leonard Reginald KNIBBS:

I understand from Leonard's nephew, that Leonard suffered a head injury aboard ship whilst serving in the Royal Navy. In later life, he became a tramp and was last seen in about 1961.
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I've been unable to find full details of his naval service except that he joined on 18 Nov 1924 at the age of 15 years. At the time he was recorded as 5'1" tall with brown hair and eyes, and had a scar flexure on his right elbow. By the age of 18, he'd grown to 5'6".
He signed up for 12 years from the age of 18. He was promoted to Able Seaman on 22 Nov 1928.
I can see no entry on his records after 1929. Unfortunately the stamp with that date on it is incomplete.
What I can see is that he served on the following ships/shore bases during his service:
HMS Ganges 18 Nov 1924-17 Sep 1925
HMS Ajax 18 Sep 1925-12 Oct 1925
HMS Delhi 13 Oct 1925-23 Jun 1927
HMS Caradoc 24 Jun 1927-1 Sep 1927
HMS Pembroke 2 Sep1927-14 Dec 1927
HMS Cumberland 15 Dec 1927-1929

The last entry is for HMS Cuberland, so I presume it was on the Cumberland that he suffered the head injury and, perhaps discharged from the service.

See images of the ships on which he served.
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From the Middlesex County Times - 27 September 1941:
Won't Work While War Continues
"I haven't worked for the past six years. and I won't work again for anyone while this war is on," said Leonard Reginald Knibbs, an electrician, aged 32, of no fixed abode, when charged at Ealing, Police Court on Saturday with being a suspected person found loitering with intent to commit a felony Knibbs added that he had been discharged from the Royal Navy in 1932. and that he would not join the Navy or the Army again. P.C. T. Willis said that while on duty in the Uxbridge-road, West Ealing, during the previous day, he saw Knibbs examining a bicycle standing outside No. 183. He then proceeded up the road," said witness. "and tried the door of a car which was standing outside the Chantry Motors Garage. When he got to the forecourt of the Town Hall, he examined a car parked there, tried the door handle, and then went on up the Broadway. On being stopped and questioned he said. "I haven't pinched anything." When asked for his identity card, he produced a green Ministry of Labour employment card, bearing the name of another person. When charged at Ealing Police Station he said "All right, get on with it." Knibbs was remanded in custody for a week.

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From the Middlesex County Times - 18 October 1941:
Leonard Reginald Knibbs, of no fixed abode, failed in his appeal against sentence of six months' imprisonment passed upon him at Ealing Police Court, on September 27 for being a suspected person loitering with intent to steal.

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The following rather touching article appeared surprisingly in the Schenectady Gazzette in New York on Monday, 25th April, 1966, and almost certainly refers to our Leonard Knibbs. Just how it came to be in came to be an international news item I don't know.
COIN FISHING CRIME - LONDON (AP):
"It may sound silly to you but it's a crime." Magistrate Edward Robey told the defendant. "I was destitute," pleaded Leonard Reginald Knibbs. "This was my only means of getting a cup of tea." The court then explained coins tossed into the fountain at Marble Arch immediately become crown property and the monthly haul averaging $4.20 goes toward reduction of property taxes.
Knibbs was nabbed after fishing out one halfpenny on a long stick tipped with chewing gum. The sentence: the night he spent in jail awaiting hearing.


On the positive side, I would hope that Leonard at least got his cup of tea, a dinner and even a breakfast, courtesy of the Metropolitan police in London.
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I found it fascinating to discover that the above story feature in the following US newspapers:
El Dorado Daily News, Friday, April 29, 1966
Frederick, Maryland News, Monday, April 25, 1966
Madison Wisconsin State Journal, Monday, April 25
Florence Morning News, Monday, April 25, 1966
Hutchinson News, Monday, April 25, 1966
Joplin Globe, Monday, April 25, 1966
Racine Journal Times, Thursday, June 16, 1966
Oil City Derrick, Thursday, April 28, 1966
Glens Falls Post Star, Monday, April 25, 1966
Arizona Republic, Monday, April 25, 1966
plus, in Canada:
Winnipeg Free Press, Monday, May 9

Leonard would have been tickled pink I'm sure!

Sources for Leonard Reginald KNIBBS:

  1. FreeBMD,
  2. Family Search - England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007,
  3. Military Record,

Notes for Mabel Irene PETTITT:

Sources for Mabel Irene PETTITT:

  1. GRO England & Wales,