Image from 1917 Chronicle Newspaper.
Born: 1893, Walton, Suffolk.
Died: 8th August 1917; age: 24; Died of Wounds – 53 Casualty Clearing Station. Served 6 years.
Enlistment Details: Location: Ipswich; Date: 16th November 1911; Age: 18 years & 7 months; Religion: Congregationalist. Height: 5ft 7 3/4ins, grey eyes, brown hair.
Date of Entry Therein: March 1915 – Egypt.
Frank returned from India at the outbreak of war, and after serving with the 29th Division in the Dardanelles, joined the British Expeditionary Force in France, and was wounded on the 31st July 1916.
Embarked at Avonmouth with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force – 20th March 1915.
22nd January 1916 – Embarked H.T. ‘Caledonia’ Gallipoli – Disembarked – Port Suez 20th January 1916.
By train to Alexandria 21st January 1916. Embarked Alexandria 8th April 1916 – Disembarked Marseilles 15th April 1916.
Granted 8 days leave to UK from 1st May 1916.
Slightly wounded 31st July 1916.
Appointed paid Acting Bombardier – Gallipoli Peninsula – 30th June 1915.
Rank: Sergeant; Service Number: 36083
Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery, 90th Heavy Battery.
Medals Awarded: Victory & British War & 1915 Star.
1901 33, Alan Road, Ipswich.
Frank was 8 years old & living with his parents & siblings.
Charles Kirby, 60, a Cab driver, born Bredfield, Suffolk.
Elizabeth Ann Kirby, 45, born Leiston, Suffolk.
Maud Kirby, 16, born Ipswich.
Randolph Kirby, 12, born Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Ernest Kirby, 10, born Walton, Suffolk.
Reginald Kirby, 6, born Walton, Suffolk.
1911 33, Alan Road, Ipswich.
Frank was 18 years old, a Moulder – Iron Foundry. He was living with his widowed mother & siblings.
Maud, 26, a Waitress – Cafe.
Randolph, 22, a Printer – General Printer.
Ernest, 20, a Moulder – Iron Foundry.
Reginald, 16, a Printer Machinist – General Printer.
Frank’s father, Charles Kirby died, 1908, Ipswich.
Frank played football for several seasons with the St. Clement’s Institute Club, and was in the 90th Heavy Battery, R.G.A. team that won the cup at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on Christmas Day, 1915. The beaten finalists were ‘B’ Battery, of the Royal Horse Artillery.
On the 4th January 1918, Mrs Elizabeth Kirby received at her home, 33, Alan Road, Ipswich the personal property of her late son Frank:
Disc, letters, photos, pocket book, wrist watch (damaged) & strap, cigarette case, pair of scissors, 1 case, leather purse, pocket knife, leather wallet, 7 coins, 2 notebooks, Bible, 4 hankies & small mirror (broken).
On the 19th January 1921, Elizabeth Kirby received her late son Frank’s British War medal.
On the 21st June 1922, Elizabeth received Frank’s Victory medal.
Soldiers’ Effects to Elizabeth A. Kirby – mother.
Frank is also remembered on the war memorial at Christ Church United Reformed Church, Tacket Street, Ipswich – formerly from the Crown Street Congregational Church, Ipswich and at St. Clement’s Congregational Church, Ipswich,the Orwell Works Memorial Ransomes Sims & Jefferies Ipswich
CALEB, FRANK & ROBERT KIRBY
On the 1st December 2004, DNW Auctions, sold the Kirby Brothers medals.
Date of Auction: 1st December 2004
Sold for £1,500
Estimate: £1,200 – £1,500
A very poignant family group:
A Great War M.M. group of four awarded to Company Sergeant-Major R. G. Kirby, Bedfordshire Regiment, who was killed in action on 26 July 1917
Military Medal, G.V.R. (9517 Sjt. R. G. Kirby, 2/Bedf. R.); 1914 Star, with clasp (9517 L. Cpl., Bedf. R.); British War and Victory Medals (9517 W.O. Cl. 2, Bedf. R.), with original campaign award card forwarding boxes, extremely fine
Three: Acting Sergeant F. Kirby, Royal Artillery, who died of wounds on 8 August 1917
1914-15 Star (36083 Gnr., R.G.A.); British War and Victory Medals (36083 A. Sjt., R.A.), with original campaign award card forwarding boxes, extremely fine
Four: Private C. Kirby, Royal Marine Light Infantry, who was killed in action while serving in the 1st Royal Marine Battalion, R.N.D., on 26 October 1917
1914-15 Star (PLY. 10040 Pte., R.M.L.I.); British War and Victory Medals (PLY. 10040 Pte., R.M.L.I.); Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., 1st issue (PLY. 10040 Private, R.M.L.I.), with original campaign award card forwarding boxes, extremely fine
Four: Major R. Kirby, Bedfordshire Home Guard, late Suffolk Regiment
1914-15 Star (2458 Pte., Suff. R.); British War and Victory Medals (2458 Sjt., Suff. R.); Defence Medal 1939-45, privately engraved ‘Major R. Kirby, 6th Bedfs. H.G.’, mounted as worn, one or two edge bruises but otherwise good very fine (15)
In The Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury of 14 January 1916, a special feature was published to mark the extraordinary case of the Kirby brothers, no less than seven of whom were serving with the Colours at that time. Their story had come to the attention of King George V in the previous year, and, via the offices of the Keeper of the Privy Purse, their mother, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Kirby of No. 33 (previously No. 57) Alan Road, Ipswich, received a letter in December 1915, in which the King’s gratitude for her family’s shining example of patriotism, loyalty and ‘devotion to the Empire’ was duly acknowledged. Inevitably, this example was not without cost, and within a shockingly short period of time in 1917 – just 12 weeks – three of them died as a result of enemy action.
Robert Gladstone Kirby was employed out in South Africa prior to the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, but had returned home in time to enlist in the Bedfordshire Regiment and join the B.E.F. out in France by early October 1914. A member of the 2nd Battalion, he was wounded at Neuve Chapelle in March 1915, but later rejoined his unit and was awarded the M.M., almost certainly as a result of bravery on the Somme in July 1916 (London Gazette 16 November 1916). Robert was killed in action on 26 July 1917, when his party, en route to Chateau Segard, was knocked out by a shell near “Bedford House”. He was 30 years of age and was interred in the Bedford House Cemetery.
Frank Kirby had witnessed active service in the Dardanelles prior to his death from wounds on 8 August 1917, while serving in France with the 90th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. He was interred in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension (Nord).
Caleb Kirby was born at Saxmundham, Ipswich, Suffolk in February 1881, and entered the Royal Marines in November 1899. Posted to the Plymouth Division, he had a number of seagoing appointments in the period leading upto the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, but none of them of an active service nature, and he was awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal in July 1915, by which stage he was serving in the Royal Naval Division. Caleb was killed in action on 26 October 1917, while serving in the 1st R.M. Battalion of the R.N.D., and was interred in the Ancre British Cemetery at Beaumont-Hamel. He was 36 years of age.
Reginald Kirby served as a Sergeant in the 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment during the Great War and was commissioned into the Home Guard in the 1939-45 War.