George William KNIBBS, son of Henry KNIBBS and Elizabeth Sarah BISHOP , was born 20 April 1875 in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England. He married Rosa Charlotte MORTON bet. April and June, 1897 in Woodstock District, Oxfordshire, England. He died 07 October 1940 in Ploughley District, Oxfordshire, England. Rosa Charlotte MORTON was born 17 January 1876 in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England. She died bef. 09 June 1952 in Ploughley, Oxfordshire, England.

Children of George William KNIBBS and Rosa Charlotte MORTON are:
1. Ethel Rosina May KNIBBS, b. 15 May 1898
2. Alfred George William KNIBBS, b. 15 January 1902
3. Jane KNIBBS, b. bet. January and March, 1900
4. George KNIBBS, b. bet. January and March, 1900
5. Jack Charles G KNIBBS, b. 04 July 1913 See Jack Charles G KNIBBS & Marjorie HARRIS

Marriage Notes for George William KNIBBS\Rosa Charlotte MORTON:

Notes for George William KNIBBS:

George, his wife Rosa and daughter Ethel appear in the 1901 census for England & Wales living at School Road, Kidlington, Oxfordshire:
George Knibbs Head Mar 26 Grocers Porter Oxon Kidlington
Rosa C Knibbs Wife Mar 25 Oxon Kidlington
Ethel R M Knibbs Daur 2 Oxon Kidlington
George H Margrave Boarder UnM 16 Grovers Clerk & Assistant Staffs Lichfield

We next see them in 1911, living at School Road, Kidlington, Oxfordshire:
George William Knibbs Head 35 Married Grocers Assistant Kidlington Oxfordshire
Rose Charlotte Knibbs Wife 35 Married (13 years) Kidlington Oxfordshire
Alfred G W Knibbs Son 9 Scholar Kidlington Oxfordshire

The census confirms that by 1911, Rosa had had 2 children, both of whome survived.

We see Geortge, Rosa and son Jack living at 99 The Moors, Ploughley, Oxfordshire, at the time of the 1939 Register.

Knibbs George William of 99 The Moors Kidlington Oxfordshire died 7 October 1940 Probate Oxford 2 December to Leonard Newport undertaker and wheelwright, Effects £517 11s. 2d.

Sources for George William KNIBBS:

  1. 1881 British Census,
  2. GRO England & Wales,
  3., England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983 gave Woodstock District 
  4. 1939 Register,
  5. - England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966,
  6. 1901 British Census,
  7. 1891 British Census,
  8. Oxfordshire Parish Register - Kidlington,

Notes for Rosa Charlotte MORTON:

Rose can be seen aged 5, living at High Street Kidlington with her parents and siblings in 1881:
William Morton Head Mar 29 Ag Lab Kidlington Oxford
Jane Morton Wife Mar 25 Kidlington Oxford
Sarah Morton Daur 6 Scholar Kidlington Oxford
Rose Morton Daur 5 Scholar Kidlington Oxford
Henry Morton Son 3 Kidlington Oxford

In 1891, the family were living at Lyne Cottage, Kidlington, Oxfordshire:
William Morton Head Mar 39 Thatcher & Insurance Agent Oxfordshire Kidlington
Jane Morton Wife Mar 34 Oxfordshire Kidlington
Rose Morton Daur UnM 15 Oxfordshire Kidlington
Henry Morton Son 13 Errand Boy Oxfordshire Kidlington
Frederick Morton Son 9 Scholar Oxfordshire Kidlington
Charles Morton Son 7 Scholar Oxfordshire Kidlington
Thomas Morton Son 6 Scholar Oxfordshire Kidlington
Martha Morton Daur 5 Scholar Oxfordshire Kidlington
Alfred Morton Son 4 Scholar Oxfordshire Kidlington
Walter Morton Son 3 Scholar Oxfordshire Kidlington
Lucy Morton Daur 9 mnth Scholar Oxfordshire Kidlington
John East Boarder UnM 30 Farm Labourer Oxfordshire Morton

Rosa married George Knibbs in 1897.

Sources for Rosa Charlotte MORTON:

  1. 1901 British Census,
  2. Oxfordshire Parish Register - Kidlington,
  3. 1939 Register,
  4., England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983 

Notes for Ethel Rosina May KNIBBS:

In 1911, Ethel was living with her aunt Sarah Green at 16 Coldicutt Street, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire:
Arthur Green Head 36 Married Butcher Reading Berkshire
Sarah Green Wife 35 Married (11 years) Oxfordshire Kidlington
Henry Green Son 10 School Buckingham Slough
Earnest Green Son 8 School Oxfordshire Henley
Archible Green Son 6 School Oxfordshire Caversham
Ivy Green Daughter 1 Oxfordshire Caversham
Ethel Knibbs Neice 12 School Oxfordshire Kidlington

I believe these were relatives on Ethel's mother's side of the family.

Ethel died at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford in 1925.

Sources for Ethel Rosina May KNIBBS:

  1. GRO England & Wales, GRO England & Wales gives Woodstock District, 2Qtr1898 
  2. 1901 British Census,
  3. Oxfordshire Parish Register - Kidlington,

Notes for Alfred George William KNIBBS:

Alfred joined the Royal Navy on 27 April 1917 when he was just over 15 years of age. He signed to serve for 12 years from the age of 18. His service number was J70428. He was stationed at HMS Ganges until 1 May 1918 and from there he went to HMS Pembroke in Chatham for 3 weeks until he joined HMS Astraea on 27 May 1918. His Naval Record shows that he died on 11 October 1918 from Influenza.

When he joined, it was recorded that he was 5'9" tall, 36" chest, with light brown hight, blue eyes with a fair and freckled complexion. He had a scar on the right side of his chin. He was of Good Character and Satisfactory Ability throughout his career.

His serice number was J70428.

His drafts through his short career were as follows:
HMS Ganges 27 Apr 1917 to 1 May 1918 (Shotley - Boys' Training Establishment)
HMS Pembroke 1 May 1918 to 26 May 1919 (Chatham - Shore Base)
HMS Astraea 27 May 1918 to 11 Oct 1918 (Cruiser)

See Alfred's Royal Naval Service Record

See image of the ship on which he served.

12 October 1918
9.00am: H.M.S. "Talbot"'s funeral party landed for Burial of A. Knibbs, Boy

See HMS Astraea's Log for the day of 12th October, 1918


In Memory of
J/70428, H.M.S. "Astraea.", Royal Navy
who died on 11 October 1918

(click to enlarge)
Remembered with honour

Cape Town and nearby Simon's Town were the scene of massive shipping movements (including hospital ships) during both World Wars. Simon's Town (Dido Valley) Cemetery contains 77 burials of the First World War and 106 from the Second World War, one of which is unidentified. Most of the burials are of naval personnel.

Sadly, I've been able to find out very little about HMS Astraea (above - click to enlarge). She was a cruiser, built in 1894 by Devonport Dockyard and sailed under the name of Astraea until 1920. She was anchored in Table Bay off Cape Town for some time in 1918. In 1921, she was renamed HMS Vivid and sailed under that name for just one year. From what I can tell, Astraea was part of the Cape Squadron from about 1913 along with HM Ships Hyacinth and Pegasus.

I am indebted to Colyn Brookes, a Volunteer on the British War Memorial Project in South Africa who gave me the photograph of Alfred's grave at the Dido Cemetery in Simonstown. Colyn also told me that there are other graves of seamen from the same vessel, all dying in October 1918 when the Spanish flu epidemic hit South Africa. The 1918 epidemic was responsible for some 20 million deaths world-wide.

Those I've managed to identify from HMS Astraea,who also died from the same epidemic:
Dollar T, Seaman, 8 Oct 1918
Holmes Edmond, Lieutenant, 11 Oct 1918
Keeble A A, Petty Officer Stoker, 14 Oct 1918
Kingaby H S, Petty Officer, 16 Oct 1918
Lauder H, Able Seaman, 9 Oct 1918
Lock J H, Able Seaman, 12 Oct 1918, age 21 from Raith Park, Cardiff, Wales
Mackbeth Leonard Arthur, Stoker 1st Class, 5 Oct 1918, age 19 from Greenwich, London
Perkins E W, Petty Officer, 14 Oct 1918
Wansell A, Leading Stoker, 9 Oct 1918
Washington G, Seaman, 9 Oct 1918

Visit South Africa War Graves Project web site


Alfred was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Our gratitude goes to the members and volunteers at the eGGSA Branch of The Genealogical Society of South African for recording the details on their web site in memory of Alfred.

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

Alfred is commemorated in the book called "MIBISA"- Military Burials in South Africa by Colyn Brookes.

KNIBBS Alfred George William Boy J/70428
HMS Astraea Royal Navy
1-March-1902 11-October-1918
Simonstown, Dido Valley Cemetery,
Simonstown Road Naval Section B.5.

He's also commemorated in the book
"Royal Navy Roll of Honour
World War 1
by Don Kindell

KNIBBS Alfred G.W. Boy, J 70428, Astraea, 11 Oct 1918

Sources for Alfred George William KNIBBS:

  1. 1891 Census for Oxfordshire & North Berkshire,
  2. FreeBMD,
  3. Military Registration Card,
  4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission,

Notes for Jane KNIBBS:

Jane and George were twins who died as infants

Sources for Jane KNIBBS:

  1. FreeBMD,
  2., England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983 

Notes for George KNIBBS:

George and Jane were twins who died as infants

Sources for George KNIBBS:

  1. FreeBMD,
  2., England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983