Monday, May 04, 2015

2nd Lieutenant Brian Charles Hannan Kimmins, Royal Field Artillery (att RHA)

Brian Charles Hannan Kimmins was born in north London in 1899, his birth registered at Hendon, in September of that year.  He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales as the only son of Charles W Kimmins (aged 44) and Grace Kimmins (aged 30).  The family was living at what appears to be lodgings within Part of London University at Bermondsey.  Charles’ profession is noted as “Inspector of Sciences and Secretary of London University Extension [possibly] Society.”  The address, shared with a number of other academics and medical professionals, is noted as Bermondsey Settlement, Institution. 

Grace Kimmins, (later Dame Grace Kimmins), co-founded Chailey Heritage Hospital (previously the Chailey Union Workhouse) with Alice Rennie the following year.  The following information is taken from East Sussex County Council’s page on Chailey Heritage Hospital: 

“It is world-famous for its ground-breaking approach to orthopaedics. Originally it offered hospital treatment, education and training in craftwork to children with severe physical disabilities. Much of the philosophy of care derived from Grace Kimmins' husband, Dr C W Kimmins, who was an educational psychologist for the London County Council. Chailey Heritage was initially a private institution and relied heavily on donations for its survival. Grace Kimmins tirelessly and inventively raised funds for the hospital. She was well-connected and used her contacts to secure the patronage and support of royalty, the aristocracy, affluent businessmen and the press.”  

Brian Kimmins first appears in Chailey’s parish magazine in April 1917 as a cadet at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.  In December he is noted as a second lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery, attached to the Royal Horse Artillery and this information is then repeated monthly up to and including the final published roll call in July 1919. 

Brian Kimmins continued his military career after the First World War and during the Second World War, as lieutenant colonel (temporary brigadier) commanded the Home Counties District for a time.  As major general, he was latterly attached to the headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia and has the distinction of being the signatory on a loan document for carpets used in the Municipal Council Chamber at Singapore on 12th September 1945 for taking the Japanese surrender. Brian's younger brother Anthony Kimmins also served his King and Country during the First World War.   

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