"God will link the broken chain as one by one we meet again"
See also
John GRIBBLE's other family: with Rosanna RICHARDSON (1867- )

Family of John GRIBBLE and Grace Caroline BENNETT

Husband: John GRIBBLE (1852-1928)
Wife: Grace Caroline BENNETT (1857-1922)
Children: William M GRIBBLE (1895- )
Marriage 23 Oct 1890 Nanaimo, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Husband: John GRIBBLE

Name: John GRIBBLE
Sex: Male
Father: Henry GRIBBLE (1825?- )
Mother: Mary GRIBBLE (1825?- )
Birth 23 Nov 1852 St Helier, Jersey
Occupation farmer
Religion Church of England
Death Jun 1928 (age 75)

Wife: Grace Caroline BENNETT

Name: Grace Caroline BENNETT
Sex: Female
Father: John William BENNETT (1815-aft1871)
Mother: Grace CORAM (1817-bef1871)
Birth 21 Mar 1857 North Brentor, Devon
Baptism 19 Apr 1857 (age 0)
Death 10 May 1922 (age 65) East Wellington, B.C., Canada
Religion Church of England

Additional Information

Death Cause: carcinoma of the uterus

Child 1: William M GRIBBLE

Name: William M GRIBBLE
Sex: Male
Birth Oct 1895

Note on Marriage

1891 census

Vancouver Island, Mountain & South Wellington, Vancouver

Building Wood House, 1 floors, 2 rooms

Gribble John, M, 38, M, Farmer - employee, Head, b England, C of E

Gribble Grace C, F, 34, M, Homemaker, Wife, b England, C of E

Axelson John, M, 28, Single, Woodsman, Boarder, b Norway, Presbyterian


1901 census


Gribble John M Head M Nov 23 1852 Age 48

Gribble C. Grace F Wife M Mar 21 1857 Age 44


1911 census

British Columbia Nanaimo 19 Mountain

Gribble John M Head M Nov 1852 Age 58

Gribble Grace C. F Wife M Mar 1857 Age 54

Gambell Jane F Sis-in-law W Mar 1838 Age 72

Gribble William M Adopted S Oct 1895 Age 15

Note on Husband: John GRIBBLE

One contact told me that John (Jack) Gribble was John Ethorn Gribble's grandson born in 1852 St Helier CI to John's son Henry Gribble and John's first cousin Mary Gribble who married in Lamerton in 1848. Mary was John Ethorn's brother William's daughter.


She also had the following notes:


"...went down with the ship ''Captain'' in 1870, but was saved, one of only a few survivors. The ship was launched May 7 1870 and went down on Spt 7 1870 in the Bay of Biscay. 18 were saved out of a crew of 524. He was presented with a bible by Baroness Burdett-Coutts on his return.


He went on a trip around the world on board ''Volage'', but ran away at Rio de Janiero. Became a fireman and policeman and sailed merchant vessels before joining a whaling ship, after which he went to America/Canada. He is said to have advertised in Plymouth for a wife, who sent her photo out to Canada and was accepted. She had a draper's shop in the Barbican and was called Grace Catherine Bennett. They were married at Nanamio and lived at ''Grbblesley'' in British Colombia, Canada, and John returned to England after the death of his wife and remarried."


According to his grand-niece Wilma Rookus:


John (“Uncle Jack”) Gribble was born on the 23rd November 1852 in St Helier, Jersey, The Channel Islands (off the coast of France, but part of the UK).


He enlisted in the navy aged 16, without his parents’ consent. and with false papers (he was underage). He trained for eighteen months as a gunner on a training ship at Jersey, and was then transferred to Portsmouth where he received six months training on the gunnery training ship HMS Excellent.


Because of his progress, John Gribble was not posted to another ship as his turn came, but was held back and given special training to serve on a new ship, HMS Captain.


Fortunate to be working on deck on the fateful night, John survived the capsizing, and eventually returned to England.


Further information from www.hmscaptain.co.uk:


Gunner John Gribble, who died in June 1928, was thought to be the last survivor of the sinking of HMS Captain. Announcing his death in Romford, Essex, a local newspaper went on to describe his “Adventurous Career”, quoting from his “faithfully kept” diary, including how he survived the Captain’s sinking.


“Mr Gribble said that he was helping to haul in on the weather fore-top sail brace at the time when the ship heeled over. He immediately sprang and clutched the hammock netting, but the sea tore him from his hold. He had a frightful struggle to save himself as the ship went down, but he eventually managed to cling to a spar.


Another man was clinging to this spar and when they were giving up hope, owing to the buffeting of the waves and the tremendous strain on their muscles, they sighted a boat and were able to swim to it and to get in it.


After great privations and after being passed in the dark by two ships, they drifted ashore at Finisterre where they were supplied with food, etc. by the Spaniards. Later they were returned to England, but were very badly treated by the Naval Authorities.


In his efforts to rise in the Service, he was transferred several times, but some months later, sick of the poor treatment meted out to him, he deserted in Brazil.


After a time he was arrested by the Brazilians for joining in a mutiny, and to escape their punishment, he revealed himself as a deserter to the British consul, and was given 90 days hard labour on a ship to which he had been turned over.


In the years that followed he had many adventures in different merchantmen, in all parts of the world, from the tropics to whaling in the frozen Arctic.”


One of his adventures included a spell on a merchantman, Glory of the Seas, which, when rounding Cape Horn in a storm, nearly came to grief. When others refused, John Gribble fought his way along a sea-pounded deck to clear wreckage and take down a sail. Having cleared this and with no-one else volunteering, he was then asked to go below to clear the pumps, which had been blocked by some of the cargo of wheat. With about four feet of water and grain in the hold, John nevertheless cleared the blockage. By his actions alone, the ship was saved.


In the late 1880s, John retired from the sea to become a settler in Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada. This very hard life was perhaps alleviated a bit when, using a “Bride Ship” for her passage, he was joined by Grace Catherine Bennett, aged 33 (John was 38), from Devon. John and Jane were married on 23rd October 1890, in Nanaimo, British Columbia.


Grace died on 10th May 1922, without children.


Two years later, John, then aged 72, returned to England, and married Rose at Romford. John died in June 1928, and was buried in Romford.



More info from Wilma Rookus:


Trained as a gunner, John did so well that he

was assigned to the navy’s newest and finest ironclad, HMS CAPTAIN.


Now I quote from a series of three articles written about Uncle Jack in

the Nanaimo, Vancouver Is., British Columbia “STAR”, Oct and Nov, 2002.

“The CAPTAIN of 1870 was the latest word in naval design, even

revolutionary, with her revolving gun turrets, heavy armour plating,

steam propulsion and--like a man with suspenders and a belt--a full rig

of sails.


“Designed by Capt. Cowper Phipps Coles, she was intended to show the

world the enlightened spirit of naval progress in warship design. What

HMS CAPTAIN wasn’t was seaworthy.


“As luck would have it, he (Gribble) was off-watch four months later

when the fleet was caught in a squall and while coming about with all

sails set, the CAPTAIN--yet on her maiden voyage--turned turtle.”


Of the CAPTAIN’s 583-man company, only 18 survived, mainly because they were above deck at the time....and John Gribble was one of these. It was a black night, and tho several ships of the fleet sailed by, the few who had climbed into one floating lifeboat were not spotted and the weary men finally floated ashore at Cape Finisterre, Bay of Biscay, where Spanish fishermen found them, more dead than alive. A most interesting book, “Black Night off Finisterre” by Arthur Hawkey, details this “adventure”, and tells of the plaques later placed in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London with the mariners’ names.


According to John’s later account, he understood why “heads rolled”

because of the political aspects of the ship’s design, but he could not

understand why the survivors were treated so badly. There are a few

memories and letters available to read on the internet.... <http://www.hmscaptain.co.uk>...as some tried to resume

their naval and merchant marine careers. John’s last cruise, after

some time in the British Navy, later aboard a whaler, brought him to

Victoria, Vancouver Is., Canada.


His life was one hardship after another as prosperity was always just

around the corner. Farming was hard work because it included first

clearing the land and building a cabin, while usually working for

someone else for the needed cash. Many of his efforts failed, but he

heard of the Bride Ships, which were bringing marriageable women from England, and contacted a relative in the Old Country. Soon he had a Devon girl’s answer and Grace Catherine Bennett, age 33, and John, 38, were married on October 23, 1890 in Nanaimo.


They had no childen, and Grace died on 10 May 1922. She is buried in the well-maintained Nanaimo Cemetery. In about 1924 John, age 72, returned to England and married again, to Rose unknown, and they lived at Romford, where he named his home “Nanaimo”. In June 1928 he died there and is buried in the Romford Cemetery. His widow and her two daughters were listed as survivors in his Obituary.


The person responsible for much of this research is Al Green (“Cousin

of my Cousin”, Norm Morris) who recently moved from eastern British

Columbia to a small town just north of Nanaimo, BC. The unusual fate

of the HMS CAPTAIN caught his interest and he combined newspaper

articles, land and census records and family information to form a

story worth telling. At just the time when he was moving onto

Vancouver Island the local newspaper was printing three Feature stories about Uncle Jack Gribble and his adventures, supposedly based on John Gribble’s own journal! When Al tried to connect with the author and/or the present owner of the journal, he was told that it had been sold along with other articles which had been left on the doorstep to someone in Washington State! We will still try to unearth that Journal, but don’t hold much hope of holding it in our hands.


It is time well spent to read the Internet stories of HMS CAPTAIN

written by or about the survivors and including their memories of this

tragic event. It would appear that John did not keep in touch very

regularly with the relatives he left behind when he joined the British


Note on Wife: Grace Caroline BENNETT

She cannot be found in the England census in 1871, but had returned by 1881 when she was unmarried and working as a servant. Some time after this she emigrated to Canada where she died.


Married by the Presbeterian Church.