Alexander Mann (Alec) KIRTON

KIRTON, Alexander Mann

Service Number: 450
Enlisted: 14 August 1914, Fremantle, Western Australia
Last Rank: Quartermaster Sergeant
Last Unit: 11th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bunbury, Western Australia., 4 November 1893
Home Town: East Fremantle, East Fremantle, Western Australia
Schooling: Bunbury Public School, Western Australia.
Occupation: Bank Clerk.
Died: Grenade wounds to head and chest received while instructing, Egypt, 18 February 1916, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Cairo War Memorial Cemetery
Grave Ref: D 321.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bank of New South Wales Roll of Honour Book, Bunbury War Memorial, East Fremantle Municipality Roll of Honour, Fremantle Fallen Sailors & Soldiers Memorial, South Perth War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

14 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, 450, 11th Infantry Battalion, Fremantle, Western Australia
2 Nov 1914: Involvement 450, 11th Infantry Battalion
2 Nov 1914: Embarked 450, 11th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Fremantle
2 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Quartermaster Sergeant, 450, 11th Infantry Battalion

Help us honour Alexander Mann Kirton's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Alexander Mann KIRTON was born on 4th November, 1893 in Bunbury, Western Australia

His parents were Richard Gervase KIRTON & Mary Agnes MANN

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Resided Hill Street, East Freemantle, Western Australia.

He attested into the 86th Australian Infantry Brigade.

Son of Richard G. Kirton and Mary Ann Kirton of 88, the High Street, Freemantle, Western Australia. Both parents had connections with England and travelled backwards and forwards on more than one occasion but quite why Alexander is commemorated at Stansted is not known.

In the AIF he rose rapidly through the ranks; from corporal, to sergeant and then ended as quartermaster-sergeant.

After undergoing military training, he embarked at Freemantle on the fleet transport 10,049 ton H.M.T Ascanius on the 2nd November 1914 for the Dardanelles campaign. By this time, he was already a Lance Serjeant. The ship which took Alexander and his comrades to the Dardanelles was built in 1910 for the Ocean Steam Ship Co. she was one of three ‘A’ Class passenger ships built during 1910-1911 for the South Africa-Australia service.. When the Great War was declared she was requisitioned by the Australian Government for use as a troopship.

In Gallipoli during 1915 he became seriously ill and was taken off, first to the island of Lemnos (where the war poet and soldier Rupert Brooke died in 1915) and then to the military hospital in Alexandria.
After recovery he was posted, as instructor, to the infantry training school at Zeitoun in the suburbs of Cairo, Egypt,  where on the 17th February, 1917 he was mortally wounded in the head and chest in a hand grenade accident. He died in hospital from these injuries on Friday the 18th February, 1916, aged 22.


He is remembered on the village green civic/parish  war memorial in Stansted, Kent and also on the war memorial in Stansted (St. Mary’s) parish church- a marble wall plaque, with the names of the fallen and the inscription “Their name liveth for evermore,”

The village green memorial at the Plaxdale Green Road junction with Malthouse Road, Stansted is of a statue of a man holding up a 'peace' branch, fixed on top of a stone plinth, standing in a grassed area. The original by Alois Strool was stolen in 1995. It was replaced by the bronze figure by Faith Winter 13 months later. The names of the fallen are inscribed on the stone plinth.

On the north face of the plinth is the entire five-verse poem Recessional written at the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee on the 22nd June, 1897 by Rudyard Kipling which features at the end of the first four verses, the lines:

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!

Alexander is one of two Australian Great War casualties to be so honoured; the other is Lance Corporal John Alfred Martin of the 28th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force who died 22 May 1918, aged 21. [Possibly a mistake by the Stone Mason resulted in John being erroneously commemorated on the Stansted, Kent civic war memorial as Private L.A. MARTIN. On the war memorial  in the parish church of St. Mary’s, Stansted he is correctly commemorated  as J.A. MARTIN.]




Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

ALEC MANN KIRTON was born on 4th November, 1893, at Bunbury, Western Australia, the son of Mr. Richard Gervase Kirton and Mrs. M. A. Kirton. He was educated at the Bunbury Public School, and entered the service of the Bank at Perth, Western Australia, on 19th September, 1911. He was transferred to the Fremantle Branch as ledger-keeper on 22nd July, 1912.

Alec Mann Kirton enlisted on 17th August, 1914, and left Australia with the 11th Battalion of the A.I.F. As a boy he had taken a keen interest in military matters, reading any books he could get on military history and tactics. He joined the Cadet Force and was a lieutenant in the Senior Cadets before enlisting. He was present at the Landing on 25th April, 1915, at the Dardanelles, and served on the peninsula for some time. He was invalided to Egypt and was booked for a voyage to Australia, but not liking the idea of being out of service altogether, he obtained an appointment on the staff of the School of Instruction for Officers and N.C.O.’s in Egypt. According to a newspaper account he quickly showed exceptional ability, especially at musketry, and was promoted to sergeant-instructor —the only Australian engaged in that capacity at that time. A scheme for teaching a certain stage of musketry practice was invented by him, which imparted as much knowledge in half an hour as was taught by old methods in a day. One of the officers wrote enthusiastically of his inventive genius and of his patience as an instructor. It was intended to utilise his services as an instructor in England, but he died about 23rd February, 1916.

Source - Bank of NSW Roll of Honour