Tom KIRK
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Number:
Unit: 1/10th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 4 June 1915
Age: 25
Cemetery: Helles Memorial, Turkey

Tom was the elder of the two Kirk brothers who died during the War. Joe had been wounded in an attack on 7 August 1915 and was recovering well back in Blighty when he was killed in a motor cycle accident. Their parents were George and Jane who originated from Chapel en le Frith but had emigrated to Seattle in America, where both boys were born. By 1901, they had returned to Britain and were living at 19 Arkburn Road in the Heaton Lane area of Stockport. George earned his living as a book-keeper.

Tom was educated at Stockport Grammar School. His father was now in business in Manchester as a wadding manufacturer, trading as Joseph Lingard Ltd, and Tom worked for the firm as a salesman. The Company's factory appears to have been in Audenshaw and it continued trading until about 1960.

Much of Tom's social life revolved round his membership of the Heaton Moor Conservative Club and his varied sporting interests. He was a member of the West Heaton and Northern Tennis Club and had played for Lancashire. In the winter, he played lacrosse for Heaton Mersey as a wing attack but had also played some games in goal. By now, the family was living at Prince's Road, Heaton Moor.

Tom's service file still exists at the National Archives. It has been "weeded" over the years and many of the original documents are no longer there. There are conflicting indications about whether he was a pre-War member of the 6th (Territorial) Battalion of the Regiment or whether he joined a few days after the declaration of War. Certainly, by the middle of September, 2107 Private Thomas Kirk was aboard a ship bound for Egypt where he spent the next seven months.

Towards the end of April 1915, Tom and Joe both received commissions as 2nd Lieutenants and were transferred to the 1/10th Battalion. On 6 May, the Battalion left the safety of Egypt to go into action at Gallipoli.

The attack on 4 June was later officially designated as the Third Battle of Krithia. Battalions were expected to maintain a daily record of activities known as the War Diary. These are now also held at the National Archives. However, the 10th Battalion's does not appear to start until the middle of August. It's not known if it has simply been lost or was never kept. It does mean that official details of the day are very sketchy at best.  However, Private Charles Eyre was Tom's orderly in "A" Company and wrote to his parents from hospital in Malta, describing what happened:

"Having been orderly to your son, Lieut. Tom Kirk, it is my painful duty to give you all particulars as to how he met his death on June 4th. On that date a general advance and charge was ordered; certain men received orders to charge and others were told to remain behind in the trenches, so that if the former were successful the latter could dig a communication trench between the old and captured ones. Your brave son was placed in charge of a party to remain in the trenches and afterwards dig a communication trench. About half an hour after the charge, i.e. 12.30pm, a message came to our trench asking for reinforcements, as the attacking party had suffered. Mr Kirk at once called to a number of men in the trench, "Follow me, lads" and jumped over the parapet. Before he got to the enemy's trench a bullet struck him in the head and without speaking Mr Kirk dropped. I bandaged his head the best way I could and then carried him out of danger, until we reached a few yards near our trench. Then a bullet struck me in the chest and I fell into the trench and told the officer that Mr Kirk was hit and he sent someone to look after him and ordered me to hospital. Mr Kirk was living when I left him but I believe he died soon afterwards.

Mr Kirk had always given me orders that if ever he got killed I should get all his property together so it could be sent home, but I am sorry to say that on account of being wounded that duty was impossible. No doubt the news of his death will be a severe blow but I hope you will be consoled to think that among the heroes who helped to win the glorious victory on June 4th, there was none greater than Lieut. Tom Kirk."

   
           
   
     
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