Archive for August 2015

Early Triumph motorcycle reminiscent of Grandpa's WW1 service

Category: Ancestors Corner

Harvey and I visited the Shuttleworth Collection in June at the Old Warden Aerodrome near Biggleswade in Bedfordshire where they keep a wonderful collection of historic aircraft and vehicles dating from the first half of the 20th century. It's a fascinating place and well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area and have an interest in early aviation.

Amongst the collection of motorcycles there, I spotted an early Triumph which looked familiar to me. Pictured below you'll see it was a 1924 5.5hp Triumph S.D. (spring drive) which used the same basic engine that gave excellent service for despatch riders during the Great War.

1924 5.5hp Triumph S.D
1924 5.5hp Triumph S.D

My Grandpa Hibbitt was a despatch rider during the First World War and this reminded me of the motorcycle he was sitting on in a photograph dating from this period.

Charles George Hibbitt as a Motorcycle Despatch Rider in WW1
Charles George Hibbitt as a Motorcycle Despatch Rider in WW1

In the photo, he is seated on a Triumph Model H which was the first Triumph not to be fitted with pedals, so was a true motorcycle. The Triumph Engineering Co Ltd had been using the advertising slogan Trusty Triumph since 1910 and the Model H became known as 'The Trusty' as it proved reliable in wartime conditions, despite a weakness in the front fork spring. This was prone to break on rough ground, so despatch riders would strap a leather belt around it as a precaution. The picture shows that my Grandpa did this very thing.

More than 30,000 Triumph Model H motorcycles had been produced by the end of the war in 1918 and by the time it was discontinued in 1923 a total of 57,000 had been produced.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Site Updates - Surnames: Edwards, Bishop, Jones, Geake

Category: What's New at

Hibbitt Family Tree section

FindMyPast have recently released the 'British Army, Casualty Index War of 1812' collection. I knew of an ancestor who was in the army around the time of the Napoleonic Wars so I thought I'd look him up to see if he featured in these records.

Angel Edwards was the son of my 5 x great-grandparents, Nathaniel & Grace Edwards. I knew he was born in Hatherleigh, North Devon, in around 1783 but I hadn't been able to find out what had eventually become of him after he'd enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1803 and, at some point, become a regular soldier in the 8th (King's) Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion. It turns out that Angel died of wounds in 1814 after the Battle of Lundy's Lane (also known as the Battle of Niagara Falls). He'd have been about 31 years old.

The Battle of Lundy's Lane, which took place during the 'War of 1812', was fought between American troops and British regulars assisted by Canadians defending their homeland and militia on the evening of 25 July 1814, almost within sight of Niagara Falls. You can read more about it at the War of 1812 website.


I've added a few more details for Thomas Bishop & Elizabeth Jones. Thomas was a coal miner and the family lived in the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil.

Thomas' father was Joseph Bishop but not much is known about him as yet.

Elizabeth's parents were Thomas Jones and Hannah (maiden name unknown). Thomas' occupation was a Railman and the couple had nine children.

My grandparents, Phyl & Bill Geake
My grandparents, Phyl & Bill Geake

Lastly, I've added some additional information for my grandpa, William Hellyer Geake, but there'll be more to come when I have the time.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]