Cecil Ernest Kirby

Date of birth: 1885
Place of birth: Dundridge, Bishop’s Waltham
Regiment: Hampshire
Battalion: 14th
Rank / Service No: Private, 25615
Died: 1st August 1917, aged 32 years
Commemorated: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial


Cecil was the eighth of 9 siblings born to Thomas and Ann Kirby (nee Munden), who married in Shedfield on 12 December 1864.

The family lived in Shirrell Heath (or surrounding area) for many years before moving to Portswood, probably after Thomas’ death.


Both parents were born in Shirrell Heath, Thomas in 1844 and Ann in 1849. Thomas died in Dundridge in 1895 and Ann passed away in Portswood in 1926.



Catherine   b. 1867 Shirrell Heath   d. 1950 Southampton   Married Charles Lane in Bishop’s Waltham in 1891.

Edward   b. 1868 Shirrell Heath   d. 1922 Portswood   Married Kate Light in Southampton in 1889.

Edwin   b. 6 May 1869 Shirrell Heath   d. 1949 Southampton   Married either Emily Houghton or Annie Dowling in Bishop’s Waltham in 1891.

Wallace   b. 20 May 1873 Shirrell Heath   d. 1951 Bishop’s Waltham   Married Esther MARY Long in Bishop’s Waltham in 1897.

Shedrick   b. 21 March 1875 Shirrell Heath   d. 1951 Southampton   Married Rose Annie Winter in Bishop’s Waltham in 1901.

Alice   b. 1877 Shirrell Heath   d. 1943 Southampton   Married Edwin George Dowling in Portswood in 1903 (at least 4 children).

Robert   b. 28 February 1879 Shirrell Heath   d. 1947 Southampton   Married Edith Louise Standfield in Portswood in 1901.

Cecil Ernest

Albina ROSE   b. 1889 Dundridge   d. ??


Cecil married Lucy Rose E. Purkiss (nee Stone) in Southampton in 1915. She was born in Swanmore on 12 March 1876 and she had married Samuel Purkiss in 1894.


Prior to Samuel’s early death in 1909, the couple had 7 children……

Albert Samuel   b. 1895 Northam   d. 1964 Newton Abbot   Married Beatrice Stanley in Bradford in 1918.

Arthur William   b. 1896 Northam   d. 18 January 1917 Iraq   With 5th Wiltshire Regt.

Lucy Ann   b. 13 September 1897 Northam   d. 1955 Southampton   Married Henry A. Kirby in Southampton in 1920.

Henry was the illegitimate son of Alice Kirby, Cecil’s sister.

The family were living at 38 Bluebell Road in 1939, that being the first house that the author ever bought in Southampton !!


Ada Elizabeth   b. 18 November 1899 Northam   d. 1975 Southampton   Married James E. Gardiner in Southampton in 1927.

Frederick Walter  b. 1902 Northam   d. 1991 Southampton   Married Annie Parker in Southampton in 1931.

Emily   b. 13 January 1904 Northam   d. 1966 Southampton   Married Frederick J. Biles in Southampton in 1925.

Harry   b. 2 December 1907 Northam   d. 1996 Southampton  Married Florence C. Hobson in Southampton in 1937.


Cecil and Lucy lived at 16 Northcote Road, Portswood after their marriage, which had been Lucy’s home before the event.


The couple had one daughter, Eileen A. but she unfortunately died soon after birth.



Cecil originally attested into the R.G.A on 11 December 1905, but was discharged on 23 May 1908.


The 14th Hampshire Battalion was raised in Portsmouth by the mayor on 3 September 1914. After initial training, the battalion was adopted by the War Office on 30th May 1915.


As part of the 116th Brigade in the 39th Division, the battalion landed at Le Havre on 6 March 1916 and concentrated near Blaringhem.

On the 30th June, the battalion was involved in an attack near Richebourg l’Avoue, where a couple of Sussex battalions lost many men.


The rest of 1916 saw the battalion fighting on the Ancre, at the Battle of Thiepval Ridge, the Battle of the Ancre Heights and the capture of Schwaben Redoubt and Stuff Trench.


Cecil died during actions around St. Julien, part of the Flanders offensive. The 116th Brigade took a major part in capturing German prisoners and armaments.


Cecil was one of 60 men either killed or missing during this initial action.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 6th October 2016


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