Corporal Frank Howard Kirby

Royal Engineers

2nd June 1900
Corporal Frank Howard Kirby VC

    On June 2, 1900, Kirby was one of a party who had been sent out to cut the Delagoa Bay Railway. While retiring, they were hard pressed by a large number of Boers, both mounted and on foot, and several small rearguard actions were fought. During one of these, one of the men had his horse shot under him, and he commenced to try and catch up his troop, running after them on foot, under a full fire of the enemy. Kirby turned and rode back to him and succeeded in getting him on to his horse, all the time under a heavy fire at quite close range, after which he rode back with him, over the rising ground to where the rearguard had taken up a fresh position.

    Frank Howard Kirby, born at Thane, Oxfordshire, November 12, 1871, son of Mr. W. H. Kirby of that town, was educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich, and entered the Royal Engineers at St. George's Barracks, London, on August 8, 1892.  He embarked for South Africa, upon his first active service, on October 29, 1899, gaining, almost at once, the Medal for Distinguished Conductóblowing up the railway near Bloemfontein, March, 1900. During the campaign he gained, under the immediate command of Colonel A. Hunter-Weston, D.S.O., the King's and Queen's Medal and six clasps. The Gazette states that the occasion described above was the third upon which Kirby displayed great gallantry in the face of the enemy. He was frequently named in despatches, was promoted Sergeant-Major in the field by Lord Roberts (July, 1900), being presented with the Victoria Cross by H.R.H. the Duke of Cornwall and York at Cape Town, on August 19, 1901.


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