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Born: 21st February 1881, Saxmundham, Suffolk.

Missing assumed Dead: 26th October 1917; age 36. Posted Missing – Passchendale.

Enlistment Deatils: Location: London, 29th November 1899 – Re-Engaged 2nd June 1911; Occupation: Hotel Porter.


Served on board – H.M.S. ‘Argonaut’: 2nd August 1914 – 13th September 1915; H.M.S. ‘King Alfred’ 14th September 1915 – 5th February 1917 – Embarked R.M. Brigade 17th April 1917.


Rank: Private; Service Number: ply/10040

Regiment: Royal Marine Light Infantry, 1st Royal Marines Battalion. Royal Naval Division.


Medals Awarded: R.N. Long Service & Good Conduct Medal 14th July 1915.


Grave Reference:


Ancre British Cemetery,

Beaumont Hamel,



Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Elizabeth A. Kirby, of 33, Alan Road, Ipswich & the late Charles Kirby.






1881   High Street, Saxmundham, Suffolk.


Caleb was 6 weeks old and living with his parents & siblings.


Charles Kirby, 40, a Coal & Corn Merchant, born Bredfield, Suffolk.

Elizabeth Ann Kirby (nee Jarmy), 25, born Leiston, Suffolk.

William Patrick Kirby, 12, born Great Glemham, Suffolk.

Charles Bernard Kirby, 10, born Great Glemham.

Lucy Ann Louisa Kirby, 8, born Theberton, Suffolk.

Henry Walter Kirby, 7, born Theberton.

Alice Margaret Kirby, 6, born Theberton.

John Alexander Kirby, 5, born Leiston.

Ethel Grace Kirby, 3, born Leiston.

Edith Kirby, 2, born Leiston.

1 general servant.


1891   3, Hamilton Cottages, Walton, Suffolk.


Caleb was 10 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Charles, 50, a Cab Driver – Groom.

Elizabeth, 35.

John, 14.

Edith, 12.

May Kirby, 7, born Averham, Nottinghamshire.

Maude Kirby, 5, born Ipswich.

Randolph Kirby, 2, born Felixstowe, Suffolk.

Ernest Kirby, 2 months, born Walton.


1901   Hamoaze, Devonport.


Caleb was 20 years old, a member of the crew, on board the Royal Navy, Man of War ship ‘Retribution’.


Caleb’s father, Charles Kirby died, 1908, Ipswich.


Royal Marine Light Infantry, 1st Royal Marines Battalion. Royal Naval Division:



On the 1st December 2004, DNW Auctions, sold the Kirby Brothers medals.

Image 1





Lot 1342

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.


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