Leading Aircraftman Edward George Kimmins, the son of Edward George Jubilee Kimmins and Wilhelmina Kimmins (nee Geddes), was born at Toowoomba in Queensland on 19th August 1918. He was educated at the Toowoomba Boys’ Grammar School where he passed the University of Queensland Junior Public Examination. He applied for ground staff entry into the Royal Australian Air Force on 28th March 1940. He was enrolled in the Reserve of the R.A.A.F. on 15th May 1940. At the age of 21 years and 9 months he was enlisted as a Coppersmith in the Royal Australian Air Force at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane on 27th May 1940 after giving a commitment that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. He was allocated the service number of 22537. Prior to enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force, he was unmarried, employed as an Apprentice Plumber with E.P. Kimmins & Son in Margaret Street, Toowoomba, and resided at his mother’s home at 80 Herries Street, Toowoomba. His physical description at the time of his enlistment was that he was 5 feet 8 inches in height and weighed 139 pounds and he had a fair complexion, grey eyes and dark hair. He stated that he was of the Presbyterian religion. He gave his next of kin as his mother, Mrs Wilhelmina Kimmins, residing at 80 Herries Street in Toowoomba. He married sometime after enlisting and he changed his next of kin to his wife, Beryl Margaret Kimmins who resided with their daughter Robyn, at 55 Darley Street, Katoomba, New South Wales.
Leading Aircraftman Edward Kimmins attended Recruit Drill Course at No. 2 Recruiting Depot at Royal Australian Air Force Base, Richmond, New South Wales, during the period 29th May until 19th June 1940. He joined the Technical Squadron at No. 2 Aircraft Depot at Richmond on 26th June 1940. He served at No. 2 Training Group at Point Piper during the period 18th December 1941 until 3rd March 1942. He joined No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in Sydney on 4th March 1942 to prepare for overseas service with the R.A.A.F. He joined No. 32 Squadron at Port Moresby on 18th March 1942. He moved to Horn Island in the Torres Straits with his squadron on 22nd May 1942. He was posted to No. 12 Repair & Salvage Unit at Charters Towers in Queensland on 8th July 1942.
Leading Aircraftman Edward Kimmins was a Coppersmith and passenger of a No. 32 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force Lockheed Hudson A16-198 that crashed at Byron Bay in New South Wales on 6th July 1942. The aircraft disappeared on a flight from Horn Island to Amberley. After refuelling at Townsville, there was a radio transmission saying that the aircraft was out of fuel and heading east to land on water. A witness stated that he saw the aircraft at sea off Tulla Beach, saw it go down and then heard a heavy explosion. Another witness heard the aircraft and then the engine stop and a few seconds later a sharp explosion. The Air Board notified his wife that he was missing. Some articles from the aircraft were subsequently found near Byron Bay, however, no remains of its crew and passengers. A Court of Inquiry found that the aircraft became lost on a travel flight from Horn Island to Amberley via Townsville and was presumed to have crashed into the sea in the vicinity of Byron Bay. No trace of the aircraft or its crew was ever found. His name is commemorated on the Sydney Memorial for the Missing in New South Wales. At the time of his death Edward Kimmins was 23 years of age.
Leading Aircraftman Edward Kimmins’ name is commemorated on Panel No. 103 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Mothers’ Memorial, the Toowoomba Soldiers’ Memorial Hall Roll of Honour and the Toowoomba Grammar School WW2 Roll of Honour.
Edward Kimmins’ photo and the following report appeared in the local newspaper and was reproduced in the Toowoomba Grammar School Magazine in November 1942:
Mr and Mrs E.G. Kimmins, 80 Herries Street, Toowoomba, have received advice that their eldest son, Leading Aircraftsman Edward George Kimmins, who was reported missing on July 6, is now believed killed in an aircraft accident. Leading Aircraftsman Kimmins enlisted in the R.A.A.F. in May 1940, and was trained at Richmond and the Rose Bay flying boat base. He was posted to Port Moresby at the beginning of this year, and later went to Horn Island. An old boy of the Toowoomba Grammar School, Leading Aircraftsman Kimmins was interested in swimming and tennis. After leaving school he joined the firm of E.P. Kimmins and Sons. He married Miss Beryl Hughes of Sydney. They have an infant daughter.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 31st January 1933 and that he left the School on 30th November 1934. His parent was shown as Mr Edward George Kimmins Snr, 80 Herries Street, Toowoomba. Whilst a student at the School he was a member of the Debating Society and the Swimming Club.
Australian War Memorial Honour Roll