Kirk, William

William Kirk, Private 79177, 4th Bn. The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)
Killed in action 16th April 1918 in France, aged 32

 

EARLY LIFE

William Kirk was born in 1886, the son of Emma and Joseph Kirk, a butcher, and twin brother of Alfred.

 

WW1 SERVICE

William attempted to enlist three times before he was accepted by the Army in Macclesfield in March 1917. He joined the King’s Liverpool Regt with service number 79177, and was later transferred to the Labour Corps with service number 54839.

On 4 May 1918, the Macclesfield Courier reported that William had been killed:

KILLED – PRIVATE WILLIAM KIRK – We regret to record the death in action in France on 17 April 1918 of 79177 Pte William Kirk, of the 4th King’s Liverpool Regt. Private Kirk was 32 years of age, and prior to enlistment in March 1917 (after having been previously rejected three times), carried on business as a cattle dealer at 308 Eddisbury Terrace, Buxton Road, Macclesfield. He stayed with his mother at Eddisbury Terrace during his first furlough in February last, and on 25th of that month reported himself for duty in France in connection with the present battle. The sad news of his death has been conveyed to his mother by one of his comrades who, in forwarding his paybook and certain money found upon him, writes “I hardly know how to write to you, and yet I feel I must, to let you know of your son (Willie). I and my chum found your son out in front of our line this morning. He must have been shot while going to get a wounded comrade… he was wearing a stretcher bearer’s badge on his arm. His death must have been instantaneous…” Pte Kirk was educated at Christ Church School… He was the twin brother of Alfred Kirk (Prince), who joined the New Zealand forces at the beginning of the war, regarding whom his mother has not heard since he joined.

A death notice was printed in the Macclesfield Times on 10 May 1918:

KIRK – Killed in action in France on 16th April 1918, No 79177, Pte William Kirk, of the 4th King’s Liverpool Regiment, age 32 years, twin brother of Alfred Kirk (Prince) and son of the late Joseph Kirk, of Chestnut Cottage, Broken Cross, retired butcher, and of Mrs Emma Kirk, now residing at 308 Eddisbury Terrace, Buxton Road, Macclesfield. From his sorrowing mother and brother Frank.

 

 

COMMEMORATION

Private William Kirk is buried at Meteren Military Cemetery, France, in grave ref. I. A. 43. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private William Kirk, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.

In Macclesfield, Private William Kirk is commemorated on the Park Green, Town HallSt Michael’s Church and Christ Church School war memorials.

 

NOTES

Twin brother of Alfred Kirk, who served as Private 17/234 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and survived the war.

 

SOURCES

Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website

Macclesfield Courier: 4 May 1918
Macclesfield Times: 10 May 1918


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