Driver William Kirk


1868164 Driver William Kirk, of the 286th (Airborne) Field Park Company, RE. Kirk was born on the 30th July 1910, and worked as a farmer before enlisting into the Royal Engineers, at Bishop Aukland, County Durham, on the 21st May 1929. He served with the Mounted Depot until the 20th May 1932, and was very briefly placed on the Reserve List before enrolling as a Driver again and serving for a further year until 28th May 1933. He married Edith on the 18th March of that year. He was called up on the 1st September 1939, and was posted to the 7th Field Company, but had brief spells with the 1st Chemical Training Battalion and the 61st Chemical Warfare Company. With the 7th Field Company he joined the British Expeditionary Force in France, and was evacuated from Dunkirk on the 29th May 1940, and admitted to a Military Hospital a week later.


Kirk was posted to the 286th Field Company on the 16th October 1940, and over the next few years was temporarily attached to various units, including the 752nd Field Company, and the 180th Company, 44th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA. On the 7th June 1943, the Company was converted into the 286th (Airborne) Field Park Company, RE. Kirk was later posted to the Mechanical Transport Section, having passed the NCO's M.T. Junior No.4 Course, running from the 12th October to the 9th November. He was promoted to Lance-Corporal at some stage, but later lost his stripe due to some unspecified misdemeanour.


Sailing with the 6th Airborne Division's sea element on the 9th June 1944, he served throughout the Normandy campaign, and the subsequent operations in the Ardennes, Holland and Germany. Shortly after the Division returned to the UK in May 1945, Kirk was transferred to the 591st Airborne Squadron, and on the 16th June, joined the 1st Airborne Division in the liberation of Norway. He returned to the UK on the 13th October, and was released to the Class 'Z' Royal Army Reserve on the 18th December 1945.


Thanks to Bob Hilton for this account.



William Kirk (right).



Taken 1943-1945.



Taken 1943-1945.



William Kirk (3rd from the left) whilst serving with the Mounted Depot, RE, 1929-1933.