Lt. Fred Kirk


The following is a letter received on 18/8/2015.

I have just read your website report on the attack on Ford aerodrome, today being the 75th anniversary of the event.  My Uncle, Lt. Fred Kirk was one of, I think, two officers killed on the airfield that day. 

He was born in 1894 and spent his entire working life with the same company, Lendrum and Hartmann, luxury car importers and retailers of Berkeley Square in London.  He volunteered for the Army Service Corps in 1914 because he had rare, valuable skills as a driver and mechanic, serving in virtually every part of the western front before returning to civilian life on demobilisation in 1919.  He returned to the car company where he gained much experience driving on the continent when very valuable cars were entered for exhibitions and competitions in places such as Belgium.  In 1936 L & H obtained for Edward VIII a customised 6 litre Buick (the car still exists) and lent Fred to the King to act as both his private driver and carer of the car.  He never said anything to anyone about what he may have heard in the car where Wallis Simpson was a regular passenger during the King's year on the throne.  Indeed when he abdicated on December 10th 1936 it was Fred who drove him into exile where he met up finally again with Wallis.

In 1939 Fred joined up again with the rank of Sergeant, now aged 45 and six weeks or so before he was killed he was given a commission in the Royal Sussex Regiment.  The family story is that he died whilst trying to get a female civilian back into a slit trench after she had panicked and ran, apparently by a land mine though given the records speaking only of Stukas and Me109s attacking Ford I have my doubts about the mine element of the story.  I am not aware that dive bombers were armed with such weapons.  Do you have any knowledge on that question please?

Fred is buried under CWGC headstone in Kingston-Upon-Thames cemetery.  His wife is also interred with him.  They had one son, now also deceased.  I do have photos of Fred in uniform, one being taken when he was commissioned.  Should some of these be useful to you please let me know and I will email them to you.  I never met my Uncle, not being born until the end of WW2.  My mother was born when Fred was 22, he being the eldest of ten children and my mother being the youngest.  Their father was also a WW1 casualty, being buried in a now wrecked CWG in Baghdad.  I hope some of the above might add to your archive of the attack on Ford.

Best wishes
Geoff Green


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