I just found an update on the The AIF Project database that says that my great grandfather George Henry Kirby faced a Court Marshall in WW1. There’s a whole host of correspondence from his wife Elsie (Alice Marie Maitland), his father Alfred Octavious and mother-in-law Theresa Maitland, at the National Archives of Australia. So it’s definitely him and he even had tattoos.
Interestingly, there’s a letter where he asks to be discharged in the UK. He explains that he just happened to be in Australia when war was declared and joined up with the AIF (Australian Imperial Force). The letter is written on the stationary of his father’s practice, Kirby Millett & Ayscough, based in 2&3 The Sanctuary, SWI. This makes sense as they were Parliamentary agents and The Sanctuary is just behind Westminster Abbey. I must print this off when I get a chance, but still wonder what he was doing in Australia rather than Ceylon and why his wife Elsie was now living back in England at Ladygate, Grayshott, Hamphire, or with her mother Theresa Maitland in Hillmead Cottage, Guildford.
He’s such a mystery like how I only found out recently how he had re-married in 1951. Clearly, he was in the UK after the war because he was at his son’s wedding in 1925 and living in Woodyates House Salisbury according to The Times, although not sure whether this was with or without his wife Elsie:
The Times, Wednesday, Apr 22, 1925 MARRIAGES
Mr. C. Kirby and Miss R. Wright
On Saturday, at the Roman Catholic Church, Fordingbridge, the marriage was solemnized between Mr. Claude Kirby, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Kirby, of Woodyates House Salisbury, and Rosemary Louise, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. FitzHerbert WRIGHT, of Hale Park, Breamore, Salisbury.
The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Father Cyril Smith, SJ., assisted by the Rev. Father Anscott. The bride was given away by her father, and wore a dress of ivory satin, with train of old Brussels lace (lent by her grandmother, Mrs. FitzHerbert Wright), a wreath of orange-blossom, and tulle veil. She was attended by Miss Iris Wright (sister), Miss Valda Kirby (sister of the bridegroom), and Miss Ruth Tracy, who wore primrose georgette dresses with touches of turquoise, with tulle veils, and carried bouquets of yellow tulips. Major Carroll-Leahy was the best man.
After the wedding a reception was held at Hale Park, where a large number of relatives and friends were entertained. Later, the bride and bridegroom left for Gloucestershire by motor car, the gift of the bride’s father.
He still seems to have been living in UK in 1941 when his son Roddy dies, although now in Rowland Gardens, in London and according to The Times, is now a Major:
The Times, Thursday, Jun 26, 1941 DEATHS
KIRBY – On June 22, 1941, Roderick George Maitland Kirby, Captain, Royal Corps of Signals, son of Major G. Kirby and Mrs. Kirby, now of 13 Rowland Gardens, Old Brompton Road, London, S.W. Funeral at Whaddon Church, Bletchley, Bucks, at 2:30 p.m. today (Thursday).
But by 1943 he appears in the Wellington Electoral Roll as a Civil Servant living in 8 Levy Street (see here), and ends up marrying Miriam Lavinia Bowker in 1951 a year after his wife Elsie dies in UK.
Family history suggests that he was sent to New Zealand on a remittance by Elsie after she had enough of his bad behaviour. I’m presuming this was after the death of his son Roddy in 1941 because as mentioned above he appears on New Zealand Electoral Register in 1943. I’ve heard a number of stories including one from my great Uncle (brother to his daughter-in-law) that he had been court with his hand in the local hunt funds. This would seem to tally with the account of his Court Marshall. Another story is that my great grandmother Elsie frog marched him out of the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair London where he had run up some bills he hadn’t paid with his current mistress. Elsie apparently drove him all the way to Liverpool to make sure he got on board the next boat to New Zealand. This would tally with other accounts of his affairs including one with the aunt of my Uncle Ian Maclaren.
There’s also another family story about how he lost his money while at Eton in a transport venture from Windsor to Brighton with the then, or soon to be, Duke of Westminster. No idea whether any of these are true though.
Anyway, I’ve included some of the details from the AIF Project database about his service in WW1 at Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front, along with some info about his Court Martial proceeding:
He enlisted on 2 September 1914 at Roseberry Park, New South Wales in 1st Light Horse Regiment (C Squadron) a Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant.
His Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A16 Star of Victoria on 20 October 1914.
Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 9 May 1915.
Admitted to ‘Deaconess Hospital’ Alexandria, 9 June 1915 (scalded foot); transferred to Convalescent Camp, Ras el Tin, 22 June 1915; rejoined unit, Gallipoli, 2 July 1915.
Appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 11 August 1915.
Admitted to 13th Casualty Clearing Station, and transferred to Mudros, 8 September 1915 (gastro-enteritis); to Malta, 12 September 1915, and admitted to Blue Sisters Hospital; to England, 17 September 1915; no further details on B103 until: promoted Lieutenant, Gallipoli, 28 November 1915.
Taken on strength, 1st Light Horse Reserve Regiment, Ismailia, 1 March 1916.
Transferred to 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column, 11 March 1916.
Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 20 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 27 March 1916.
Transferred to 4th Field Artillery Brigade, 23 May 1916, and posted to 10th Battery.
Transferred to 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column, 18 June 1916.
Promoted Captain, 21 January 1917.
On leave, 25 May 1917; rejoined unit from leave, 9 June 1917.
Transferred to 4th Field Artillery Brigade, 7 February 1918, and taken on strength of 12th Battery.
Admitted to 4th London Field Ambulance, 12 June 1918 (accidental injury: fractured fibula), and transferred to 20th Casualty Clearing Station; to Ambulance Train No 38, 14 June 1918, and admitted to 5th British Red Cross Hospital, Wimereux, 15 June 1916; transferred to England, 15 June 1918, and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, 16 June 1918; transferred to Gerstley Hall Hospital, 23 June 1918.
Tried by General Court Martial, held in the field, 1 June 1918: 1st charge: In a certificate signed by him knowingly making a false statement, in that he on the 4th September 1917 signed an Acquittance Roll certifying that the amount of £10.15.0 advanced to himself had been entered in his paybook, whereas no such entry had been made by him. 2nd charge: Conduct to the prejudice of good order and Military Discipline in that he on the 4th September 1917 in his capacity as Paying Officer fraudulently did not enter in his paybook an advance of £10.15.0 made to himself. 3rd charge: In a certificate signed by him knowingly making a false statement in that he on the 6th day of November 1917 signed an Acquittance Order Roll certificate certifying that the amount of £19.6.0 advanced to himself had been entered in his paybook whereas no such entry had been made by him. 4th charge: Conduct to the prejudice of good order and Military Discipline in that he on the 25th day of November 1917 in his capacity as Paying Officer fraudulently did not enter in his pay book an advance of £19.6.0 made to himself. 5th charge: In a certificate signed by him knowingly making a false statement in that he on the 3rd day of January 1918 signed an Acquittance Roll certifying that an amount of £6.12.0 advanced to himself had been entered in his paybook whereas no such entry had been made by him. 6th charge: Conduct to the prejudice of good order and Military Discipline in that he on 3rd January 1918 in his capacity of Paying Officer fraudulently did not enter in his paybook an advance of £6.12.0 made to himself. 7th charge: In certificates signed by him knowingly making false statements in that he on the 11th day of January 1918 signed Acquittance Rolls certifying that the amount of £16.10.0 advanced to himself had been entered in his paybook whereas the actual amount so entered by him in his paybook was £13.18.8. 8th charge: Conduct to the prejudice of good order and Military Discipline in that he on the 15th day of January 1918 in his capacity as Paying Officer fraudulently entered in his paybook the sum of £13.18.8 as the amount of an advance whereas the actual amount paid by him was £16.0.0.
Pleaded Not Guilty to all charges.
Found Guilty on charges1, 3 and 5; Not Guilty on charges 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8. Sentenced to take rank and precedence in the AIF and in his unit as if his appopintment as Captain bore the date of 21 February 1918, and reprimanded.
Appointment terminated in the United Kindom in consequence of being medically unfit, 14 October 1918.
Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal