1900, Delagoa Bay Railway
KIRBY, FRANK HOWARD, Corporal, was born at Thame, Oxfordshire, on 12 November 1871, the son of Mr William Henry Kirby, of that town, and Ada Kirby. He was educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich, and entered the Royal Engineers at St George's Barracks, London, on 8 August 1892, and proceeded to South Africa with Field Troops, Royal Engineers, on mobilization in 1899. He served in the South African War of 1899-1902, and gained the Distinguished Conduct Medal for blowing up the Bloemfontein Railway, at action of Bloemfontein, in March 1900. He won his Victoria Cross in a raid north of Kronstadt with General Hunter Weston. He was mentioned several times in Despatches, and in July, 1900, was promoted Troop Sergeant Major (from Corporal), on the field, by Lord Roberts. Sergeant Major Kirby was decorated with the Victoria Cross by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cornwall and York at Cape Town on 19 August 1901. His Victoria Cross was gazetted 8 October 1900: "Frank Howard Kirby, Corporal, Royal Engineers. On the morning of the 2nd June, 1900, a party sent to try to cut the Delagoa Bay Railway were retiring, hotly pressed by very superior numbers. During one of the successive retirements of the rearguard, a man whose horse had been shot was seen running after his comrades. He was a long way behind the rest of his troop, and was under a brisk fire. From among the retiring troops Corporal Kirby turned and rode back to the man's assistance. Although by the time he reached him they were under a heavy fire at close range, Corporal Kirby managed to get the dismounted man up behind him and to take him clear off over the next rise held by our rearguard. This is the third occasion on which Corporal Kirby has displayed gallantry in the face of the enemy". In December 1906, he became a warrant officer. In 1909 he married Miss Kate Jolly, and they had two sons and two daughters. In April, 1911, he was commissioned from the ranks. Lieutenant and Quartermaster F H Kirby was posted to the Air Battalion, Royal Engineers, at Farnborough, and in 1912 was gazetted to the Royal Flying Corps, in which he became a Squadron Commander. He served in the European War in France in 1916 and 1917, and was given his Captaincy for services in the field, 1 January 1917. He became temporary Lieutenant Colonel.