Harry Blackstone Kirk - Lest We Forget

Henry Blackstone Kirk, known as Harry, was born January 9, 1886 at Trenton, Ontario, the son of Henry Kirk, born 1854 in Scotland and Jenny Kirk, born 1853 in Ontario. The family came to Arrowhead, B.C. in 1902, where Henry Kirk worked as an accountant for a lumber firm. His wife, Jenny Kirk died in Arrowhead on June 9, 1916, while her son Harry was still overseas. Henry Kirk died in 1921 at Revelstoke. Harry had three brothers, Fred, James and Clarence, and three sisters, two of whom were living in Arrowhead at the time of Harry’s death. They were Mrs. Trotter and Mrs. Armstrong. James and Clarence served overseas, where James died in April of 1917 in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Harry Kirk signed his enlistment papers August 28, 1915 at Vernon. He was one of 14 men who came up from Arrowhead to join the 62nd Battalion. He eventually ended up in the 54th Battalion. His regimental number was 443271. His occupation was listed as farmer. He was 29 years old, single, 5’ 7” tall with fair hair and blue eyes. His religious affiliation was Presbyterian. In September of 1915 he was one of the guests of honour at a party given in Arrowhead at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Cecil Johnston, 24 Mile Board. The guests were taken for a moonlight excursion on the Arrow Lake later in the evening.

Harry Kirk sailed out of Halifax on the H.M.T. Saxonia on November 22, 1915, arriving at Plymouth, England on December 1, 1915. He served in France until he was severely gassed in August of 1917. He returned to Canada in January of 1918 and was discharged as medically unfit, having a serious heart condition as a result of the gassing.

Harry Kirk returned to Arrowhead as an invalid in the spring of 1918, where he was allowed to do light duties on his farm. He died on March 22, 1919 at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke at the age of 33 years, as the direct result of his military service. He held the rank of Private with the 54th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia) Regiment. His funeral was held at the Presbyterian Church in Arrowhead. The businesses and school were closed for the morning of his funeral in his honour, and more than 100 people attented, including a delegation from the Great War Veterans from Revelstoke. Harry Kirk is buried in the Arrowhead Cemetery. The gravestone is still visible despite years of neglect.

The name of Harry Kirk is inscribed on the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques under the Arrowhead listing.

 Photo plaque for H.B. (Harry) Kirk.

Photo plaque for H.B. (Harry) Kirk.