July 10, 1915: Driver Henry Downie Kirk

Kirk Henry Downey-2 85735

Date of Birth: July 22, 1896 at Clydesdale, Antigonish Co., NS

Parents: Thomas Downie and Lavina “Lily” (Hartley) Kirk

Father’s Occupation: Farmer, Clydesdale, Antigonish Co.

Marital Status: Single

Occupation: Student

Enlistment:  November 26, 1914 at Fredericton, NB

Unit: 3rd Brigade Canadian Field Artillery

Service #: 85735

Rank: Driver

Previous Military Service: 18th Field Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, Antigonish

Next of Kin: Thomas Downie Kirk, Clydesdale, Antigonish Co., NS

Date of Death: July 10, 1915, Military Hospital, Quebec

Final Resting Place: St James Presbyterian Cemetery, Antigonish, NS


The Kirk family is well known in Antigonish, descended from James Kirk of Dumfriesshire, Scotland, who initially settled in Pictou County. His son, Adam, moved to Antigonish after entering the merchant trade, initially at Addington Forks with John Cameron and later with Duncan Grant at Antigonish. In 1859, Duncan passed away and Adam Kirk purchased the entire business, taking his son, D. Grant, into the operation in 1879. Together, they built the Kirk Block, which stands on the corner of Main and Church Streets. Thomas Downie Kirk, another of Adam Kirk’s sons, and his wife, Lily, raised four boys—Hartley, Colin F., Henry, and Douglas—at Clydesdale, Antigonish County.

Driver Henry Downie Kirk became ill on the voyage to England and was invalided home to Canada. He passed away at a Military Hospital in Quebec City.  On August 15, 1919, members of St. James Presbyterian Church held a Memorial Service Tribute for Henry and all other congregation members who served in the Great War. During the ceremony, the church unveiled a plaque containing the names of four “sons” who made the supreme sacrifice and 21 others who returned home. Henry’s brother, Douglas M. Kirk, was amongst the list of returning veterans.

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