[The above details are believe to be correct, but have yet to be verified against a good clean image.]
He was passed as fit for service in the Essex & Suffolk R. G. A. on 14 Nov 1914
On 17 Nov 1914, at Coalhouse Fort, he signed Army Form E.624 (an agreement signed by territorial recruits prepared to serve overseas). The 2 Co. Essex & Suffolk R.G.A. were based at Coalhouse Fort, a Victorian fort in East Tilbury that protected the Thames approach to London. They had both heavier guns to deal with large ships and lighter ones designed to combat torpedo speedboats. The fort also acted as an observer post, with control over a series of mines, especially those in the navigable channel, which were controlled from the shore.
The service record on the rear shows the following details (for problems with the consistency of this see below)
Within his papers is another service record table, seemingly cut from the record of one James Dickie (his name appears on the reverse, together with his apparent age of 18, and height of 5'9"). The dates on it seem to dovetail with those on Reginald's record but also showing periods in France. The inclusion of this may be intended to show the correct record of his unit's service.
|Leave UK 26-15 9 2/18||Total||5||139|
|Hospital 22-25 3/18|
His record of service offences confirms that his conduct was very good,
On 26.8.16, one Major Frederick R Dieck in the R.G. aa, confirmed that there was no entry. There was a monument at Coalhouse Fort, unveiled on 6th September 1916, the east face of which read "Coalhouse Fort: No. 2 Co. R.G.A. ; O.C. Major P Lea Birch. No. 2 Co. E and S R.G.A. (T) ; O.C. Major F R Dieck. No. 2. Co. L.E.E., R.E. (T); O.C. Capt. G. W. C. Kaye. Det. 1st Reserves G.B. Suffolk Regiment." The 2nd Company London Electrical Engineers operated the searchlights.
On 1.1.17 one D Joann?? Lt. for Major, R.G.A.O.C. 88th A.A. Co. R.G.A., confirmed that there was no entry on his service offences card. The 88th A.A. Co. R.G.A. were a Siege Battery equipped with heavy howitzers. They were first deployed overseas to France, on 20 May 1916.
The record of service offences also carries a couple of stamps:
Certified Abbey Wood
The Royal Arsenal was at Abbey Wood, but so too was a military hospital.
Two woundings are listed on his Military History Sheet (which also gives his next of kin as his father, John Kirby [=Samuel John Kirby] of 78 Cobden Rd, Leytonstone).
A latter record of documents on Army Form B. 104-53 (Inside Sheet.) sheds more light on the investigation of his gas attack woundings. At the top it is annotated "Gnr alt 108/Anti Aircraft Ser S Ballif R.G.A." and "N of K Father Mr J Kirby [water damaged] Cobden Rd Leytonstone"
|Registry No.||From whom||Purport and date||Action|
|A40/185/3874||W O Gas List HA 3874||W Gas
Register Adm 10
Gen H [???]ew 23/3/18
|N of K
inf. [i.e. Next of Kin informed]
|Certif of demile Z21 15 tran 10-4-19|
||M of P.
This Office 7-6-22
|A40/126/1766||W O Gas
|Wd [?]t duty 21/12/19||No action 12 Jan 19|
|44 of 125/3838||W. O. Gas
|PMA 791 9/4/18|
|Office T||B103 to R. A. Com Dep||14.5.18|
The Z21 mentioned above was a “Certificate of Transfer to Reserve on Demobilization”. Wd. = Ward; V.A.H. = Voluntary Aid Hospital (Cheltenham Racecourse was converted into one)
The Great War ended with the Armistice of 11 November 1918. On 27 Feb 1919, at No. 1 Dispersal Unit, Purfleet, he received paperwork (A Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity) granting him 28 days furlough. This gave his address for pay as 78 Cobden Rd, Leytonstone, his Rank as Gnr, his Unit as D A A Coy, his Theatre of War as France, his birth year as 189[water damaged], his Medical Catagory as A, His Place of Rejoining in an Emergency as P[a?]reham, his Specialist Military Qualification as G A A. This seems to have been the first step in his demobilisation.
Newspapers in February 1919 reported railway strikes affecting this Purfleet unit, though it is not clear if he was caught up in this.
The National Archives have a copy of his medal card, under the name Reginald H. KIRBY, confirming that he served in Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner (Regimental No. 118875) and that he was awarded the B.W. and V Medal, the listing was on page B 6843). Reginald's son, Roy, would later enlist in the artillery, so this strengthens the case for this record relating to his father. The details are awaiting transcription. The award was a typical one of “Mutt and Jeff,” or the British War Medal and the Victory medal. The former was awarded to all British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive, the later was a bronze medal awarded to all of the allies.
On 19 Jun 1922, at the R. G. A. (T.A.) office in Dover, he submitted an
application for a disability pension on the following grounds
Stating that he was single and living at 78 Cob[den Road], Leytonstone he gave his next of kin as his father J Kirby of  Cobden Road, Leytonstone
In those days neurasthenia, also known as nervous exhaustion, was an ill-defined medical condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, and associated chiefly with emotional disturbance. Today it might be recognised in a returning soldier as post-traumatic stress disorder, but not back then. It was considered that the gas poisoning had not resulted in any disability, whilst the neurasthenia could not be attributed to the service. His application was therefore rejected with no grounds for appeal.
|Ivy and Reginald enjoying the sun on the beach at Southend, Essex. At the time this was taken I am told that he was suffering from a wound acquired during the 1st World War.|
|They had not been married long when their only son was born. Here Reginald is holding the baby. The identity of the older couple is still subject to conjecture.||Reginald spending some quality time with his son.|
|Reginald (far right) and his son Roy Reginald Kirby.||Ivy Kirby with her son.|