b. 07/1827 Liverpool. d. 31/08/1865 Liverpool.
John Kirk (1827-1865) was in July 1827 in Liverpool. He enlisted as a young man in the 10th Regiment of Foot (later Lincolnshire Regiment) and would serve throughout the Indian Mutiny. His life would change following the events of 4th June 1857 in Benares when he became involved in a daring rescue with two other NCOs.
On the night of the 4th June 1857, Kirk happened to hear that Captain Brown, the Pensions Paymaster, his wife and little child, were shut in and surrounded in a detached bungalow. Kirk made his way to the bungalow, and met Sergeant Major Rosamund of the 37th Bengal Native Infantry and Sergeant Major Gill of the Ludhiana Regiment, who had also volunteered to take part. On reaching the bungalow, they forced their way in, in spite of the fact that the rebels were firing on them and the house. Once inside, the three men opened fire on the rebels to such an effect that they retreated, and Brown and his family could be brought out and taken to safety.
Kirk was awarded the Victoria Cross following an announcement in the London Gazette on 20th January 1860, and on 9th November that year, Kirk attended his investiture from Queen Victoria in Home Park, Windsor Castle. Kirk retired from the Army shortly afterwards and returned to his native Liverpool, where he became a labourer. Sadly, he fell on hard times and was forced to enter the workhouse at Brownlow Hill in Liverpool. Unfortunately, Kirk contracted tuberculosis in the workhouse and died on 31st August 1865 aged just 38. He was buried in an unmarked grave with 5 others in Anfield Cemetery. In 1989, a new headstone was placed on the grave. Kirk’s medal is held by the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment in the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LINCOLNSHIRE LIFE MUSEUM, LINCOLN.
BURIAL PLACE: ANFIELD CEMETERY, LIVERPOOL
John Kirk's VC on display at the Lincolnshire Life Museum, Lincoln
(Picture courtesy of Terry Cooling).
John Kirk VC is buried in C/E Section 14, Grave 2318
John Kirk VC on VC Memorial, Liverpool
Kevin Brazier (June 2016)