Charles Harwood McKimm. – Photo courtesy of Veterans Affairs Canada
The following is part of a series of research papers completed by Grade 10 History students at Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute as part of the Lest We Forget program. The features focus on residents of Smiths Falls who made the supreme sacrifice for their country during World War II.
Charles Harwood McKimm, Sergeant–NEWS Jul 10, 2014 by Josh Vincent Smiths Falls Record News
March 5th, 1924 – September 28th, 1943 Charles Harwood McKimm was a 19-year-old soldier who died during the Second World War.
He was born on March 5th, 1924 in Smiths Falls, Ontario to his mother Anita Warden McKimm and his father Charles McKimm. Charles had two brothers: George Frederick McKimm and Robert Warden McKimm. He also had three sisters: Barbara McKimm, Joan McKimm, and Sheila McKimm. He was never married and had no children.
Charles McKimm completed elementary school at Smiths Falls Public School in 1937. He attended Smiths Falls Collegiate Institute, from which he graduated in 1941. Charles was employed at Clark and Lewis Company in Smiths Falls, Ontario as a clerk from 1942 until the time of enlistment. He lived in Smiths Falls.
Charles McKimm signed up for the Royal Canadian Air Force on August 24th, 1942 in Montréal, Quebec. He was in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Sergeant. Charles was in an accidental plane crash that occurred on September 24th, 1943. He was killed instantly, as a result of several burns and multiple injuries.
In Charles McKimm’s Certificate of Medical Examination, it is seen that he had no diseases listed on the form. Charles was five feet eight inches and weighed 145 pounds. His eyesight and hearing were perfect. Charles McKimm’s complexion was fair and his development was good. His hair was fair and he had blue eyes. His religion was Protestant and he was a member of the United Church.
“Good physique, wants to be a pilot. Borderline C.T. score. However, has completed both Jr. and Sr. Matric. He is successfully, at the age of 18 years, mechanically inclined. He likes mathematics, should have no difficulty.” – Medical Officer’s assessment on Charles McKimm.
“He has driven a car for 2 years. Mechanically able, has done a lot of work on boat engines. He plays all sports extensively. He has lived in Smiths Falls all his life. Very good type of lad. Just turned 18. Keen, active and enterprising.” – Interviewing Officer’s assessment of Charles McKimm.
In the afternoon of September 28th, 1943 at approximately 1:50 p.m., Charles McKimm (the pilot of the aircraft) and a passenger were killed in a plane crash. He was flying a Harvard II three miles east of Lake Saint Germain prior to crashing. Over the time of almost one year, he has had over 225 hours of flight experience.
Charles was killed instantly, as a result of several burns and multiple injuries.
After Charles Harwood McKimm’s death, his medals were entitled to his mother, Anita Warden McKimm. Anita was given Charles McKimm’s War Medal (awarded if a soldier worked full time for 28 days in the armed forces and merchant marines from 1939 to 1945) and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp (awarded to any soldier who volunteered in World War II for 18 months).
He is buried at the Smiths Falls Maple Vale Cemetery located in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Charles McKimm’s grave reference is Plot 14 and Sector 6.