Henry “Harry” Knibbs of “Q” Battery was born in Quainton Bucks in May 1868 the youngest of the six sons of Henry Knibb and Mary Cannon. Henry senior's line of the Knibbs family had been in Quainton since the early 1700s. Henry snr and Mary both died before Harry reached the age of ten and in 1881 he was living in Quainton in the care of his oldest brother John who was twenty nine years old and unmarried. In 1891 John was still in Quainton with two of his young sisters but Harry had left home.
On 5th Feb 1889 he had enlisted as a gunner with the Royal Artillery London Division later to become the Royal Horse Artillery. In September of the following year he was posted to India where he served until Feb 1892. After a period of service at home he was transferred to the reserve list in August 1894.
In March 1895 he married Elizabeth Brown Norrie in Guildford and in 1896 their first daughter was born back in Quainton. They returned to Guildford in Surrey and had a son, also Harry, born in 1897. With the outbreak of the Second Boer War in Oct 1899 Harry was recalled to the Royal Horse Artillery and was posted to South Africa on 3rd Nov where he served until 1902.
During that posting Harry was part of the famous 'Q' Battery whose actions at Sanna's Post on 31st March 1900 earned them no less than four Victoria Crosses. Lord Roberts decided on the unusual step of holding a ballot to determine which men were to get the medals. Harry was unfortunately unsuccessful but his heroism on that day should not go unrecognised.
Following his return from South Africa in Jan 1902 he served at home for a further nine years during which time Elizabeth produce two more daughters Winifred and Kathleen. Their births were registered in Woolwich, (1903), and Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland (1906) respectively presumably something to do with Harry's service postings. At the time of the 1911 census they were living in Aldershot as Harry served the last months of his time in the Army. He was discharged on 27th July 1911 after 22 years service.
After Harry left the army they moved to Grantley Road in Guildford where they stayed until the early 1950s. They then retired to Bognor Regis where Elizabeth died in 1954. Harry suffered from senile decay in his later years and died at home in 1956 in the presence of his daughter Winifred.
That's a pleasing medal, Mike, I find it interesting that he was posted to number 14 Battery RFA for just five days, whilst in South Africa, after the war, still I dare say his life then was certainly rather more interesting than life might have been in Dublin.
QSAMIKE wrote: Here is another Q Battery RHA.....
13026 Gunner James McDonnell, “Q” Battery - Royal Horse Artillery
Enlisted: January 3rd, 1896
Age: 18 Years – 0 Months
Parish of: St. Thomas
Town and County of: Dublin
Occupation: Farm Labourer
Previous Service: Micklow Artillery (SDRA) – (Released for Transfer into Regular Army)
Height, Weight, Chest: 5’ 7” – 133 Lbs – 35/37 Inches
Declared Fit for Duty
'An awkward moment: Q Battery charged by the enemy
On June 12 , when General Broadwood's cavalry was attempting to turn the left of Commandant Botha's position, fifteen miles from Pretoria, the fighting was very severe. Broadwood advanced against the kopjes to the front, the Mounted Infantry protecting his left and Gordon's cavalry his right. Preceiving a gap in the enemy's line behind which two guns were firing shrapnel with damaging accuracy, Broadwood determined to attempt to cut this in order to break up the Boers' first line and reduce their artillery fire. Q Battery galloped for the gap an unlimbered. The Boers, seeing an opportunity, did what they have rarely done before. A large mounted body charged in close formation across the open up to within 600 yards of the battery and opened a murderous rifle fire. There was but one way to extricate the guns. The 12th Lancers were ordered into the open in front, where they formed and charged. The enemy did not wait long enough for the squadrons to get really home. They scattered, but ten were left dead or severely wounded, and the guns were saved.'