George Kirkbright was born in Bradford in 1893. The family later moved to Birmingham, where George worked in his father's coal merchant's business. At 17 he paid a local garage for lessons to learn to drive a car and later went to Derby to obtain his Rolls Royce Driver Mechanic's Certificate. In 1916, while employed as a driver/mechanic, he joined the Army Service Corps as a General's driver.
He was sent to Lincolnshire to learn to drive a tank and was then posted to Egypt with "E" Company of the Heavy Branch, Machine Gun Corps, later to become the Tank Corps. He commented that the heat inside the tanks was unbearable with little air and when in battle against the Turkish infantry "the air was choking with the smell of cordite. There were splinters of shrapnel flying all over the place." On 19th April 1917 the second battle of Gaza commenced and following intense fighting and despite personal injury, he managed to get his tank and the rest of the wounded crew back to safety. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and was Mentioned in Despatches.
Following his injury, he was sent back to England where he was given an instructor's post and transferred to the Army Reserve in February 1919.
Tales of valour
Distinguished Conduct Medal
KIRKBRIGHT George, (Private)
“E” Company, Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps
This driver used excellent judgement in his choice of a route over very treacherous sand dunes during an attack on enemy fortifications. After the enemy redoubts had been attacked in succession, he was instrumental in bringing the tank back to safety in spite of the severe injuries which he sustained from shell fire, and that the remaining members of the crew were wounded. His coolness and gallantry deserve the highest praise.
DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL
Country: United KingdomThe Distinguished Conduct MedalIntroduced during the Crimean War as a ...
BRITISH WAR MEDAL 1914-18 (SILVER)
Country: United KingdomBritish War Medal 1914 - 1920 This medal, issued in both silver and bronze ...