Kirk, Maurice. Maurice Kirk was born on the 12th March 1945 in Taunton, Somerset, West of England. Maurice’s father, Denis (1912-2007) was a hard working country vet, his mother Violet, was the daughter of a well known industrial chemist and inventor in the confectionery business. Their immediate family consisted of five boys and one girl: Michael, Christopher, Maurice, Rupert and twins, Timothy and Celia. Denis’ brother Maurice was an Officer in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps when he died in Northern France a few days before Maurice’s birth; Denis and Violet subsequently named their third son in honour of him.
Maurice’s interests as a boy were hunting, shooting and fishing and later as a young man, mountaineering, rugger, old vintage cars and seeing the world.
In 1963 he began a veterinary career studying veterinary medicine at Bristol University, during which time, he also became a climbing instructor in North Wales, hitch hiked 8000 miles around North America and paddled the English Channel in a home made canoe after swimming the ‘Iron Curtain’ at the height of the Cold War. He hitched, jumped trains or hid in the back of trucks to get across Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand. He was also commissioned into the Royal Air Force Reserve, making him eligible for not just one final year reunion, each year, but three! Needless to say he had problems with his University exams.
Veterinary medicine was a passion inspired by his father with a close second being the ‘breaking of the bonds of earth’, flying anything from hangliders, microlites to old canvas or ‘spam can’ aircraft. By this he obtained further qualifications and experience, first with a commercial licence and second, seven broken or severely damaged joint injuries, all now coming home to haunt him.
FLYING VET: Maurice Kirk is known as the Flying Vet. Courtesy: Maurice Kirk.
Maurice Kirk first married in 1970, the first to parachute to his own wedding, to Janet who later bore him Caspar, Belinda and Alex but married again in 1998 to Kirstie a veterinary surgeon, who bore his second daughter, Genevieve. At one time, Maurice found himself at an aviation gathering next door to Prince Charles’ Gloucestershire residence!
Maurice Kirk is currently trying to fly around the world in his 1943 WW2 Piper Cub, believed to have been flown by General Patten after the 6th June 1944 D-Day landings. This somewhat risky adventure began when an American read Maurice’s old web site in 2001 and laughed so much he donated £25,000 for him to enter the 2001 London to Sydney Air Race.
Maurice Kirk is now based in Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan.