It always been a bit unclear about whatever happened to my great grandfather George Henry Kirby. According to the 1881 census he was born about 1876 in Kensington, London. Records at the Cambrigde University Library show that he was educated at Eton and Trinity College. There’s also a lot of family stories, including: how he lost of his money by trying to set up a coach service from Windsor to Brighton; his affair with Helen MacLaren who is the great aunt of my cousin Hamish; and how he was sent to live in New Zealand on a remittance for allegedly being caught with his hand in the hunt fund. Well, I recently found a George Henry Kirby who died in 2 October 1960 and is buried in Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand on the Australian Imperial Force project site here.
Having spoken to a Professor who runs the project they also have records that show that the George Henry Kirby they have listed was born in London. So it seems that it’s the same person as we knew that he had been in Ceylon where his wife’s father was a planter. This coincides with finding out that before enlisting he had served for 9 years in the Ceylon Volunteer Rifles aka Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps. We also knew that either his wife or her mother at lived in Grayshott and that he had been sent to New Zealand, which also coincides with their records.
It’s interesting that he ended up in the Australian 1st Light Horse Regiment (C Squadron) and went to Egypt via Sydney rather than directly from Ceylon. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to serve in both Gallipoli and the Western Front, but interesting that they have an old Etonian registered as a clerk as far as his occupation is concerned. It’s also interesting that he enlisted as Squadron Sergent Major and ended up as Captain although not sure how he ended up being referred to as Major in his later life (see http://members.cox.net/ggthomp/georgekirby1876.html). It would be fascinating to find out more about the 30 or so years he spent in New Zealand, which would have been nearly a third of this life.