Lance Corporal Stanley McClure Kirk


Stanley McClure Kirk was born on 4 February 1892 in Ravenhill Road, Belfast, the fourth of six children of tile and metal merchant Robert Kirk and his wife Jessie Harvey Kirk (née Alister). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballydollaghan, Newtownbreda, County Down, with his parents and four surviving siblings, and studying medicine at the Queen's University.

Kirk enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 16 November 1914 (No.1349 – later Corps of Hussars No.71347). On 2 June 1915 he embarked for France with a reinforcement draft – he was probably posted to A or D Squadron.

In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Kirk remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 11 January 1919 he was discharged as surplus to military requirements (paragraph 392 (xvi)(a) or (xxv)(a), King's Regulations).

After the war Kirk returned to university and qualified as a medical practitioner. He died of pneumonia at Broad Street, Montgomery, Wales, on 19 February 1924. He was buried in the Knockbreda Cemetery, as reported in the Northern Whig and Belfast Post:

The funeral of Dr. Stanley Kirk, third son of Mrs. Kirk and the late Mr. Robert Kirk, The Pines, Newtownbreda, took place at Knockbreda yesterday afternoon. ... Dr. Kirk was educated at the Royal Academical Institution and Campbell College. He later qualified at the Queen's University. During the war he joined the North Irish Horse early in 1914 and served with that regiment. He later gained experience with Dr. Tate, of the Infirmary, Downpatrick, and subsequently joined his uncle, Dr. T. D. Kirk, at Montgomery, Wales. The respect in which he was held was evinced as the remains were being removed from Montgomery, a special service held there being attended by the Corporation. A large number of wreaths were sent by his friends and former patients ...


At least one of Kirk's brothers also served in the war. Walter Alister Kirk, a motor engineer, was wounded at Gallipoli on 19 May 1915 while serving with the 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment (see article below). In July 1916 he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the 1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron, and the following year transferred to the Australian Flying Corps, serving as an observer in Bristol Fighters in the Egyptian theatre. He often flew with the famous Australian aviator Captain Ross Smith (Smith and his brother later completed the first flight from England to Australia), and was credited with shooting down seven enemy aircraft. In July 1918 he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross. (See also Joe Gleeson, Irish Aces of the RFC and RAF in the First World War.)


Stanley's brother Walter Alister Kirk, No.1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps


Report of Stanley's brother Walter Alister at Gallipoli, Belfast News-Letter, 10 June 1915