Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Midshipman Anthony Martin Kimmins, HMS Marlborough

Anthony Martin Kimmins was born on 11th October 1901, his birth registered at Hendon, north London in March the following year.  His mother, 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.”

Anthony Kimmins spent two years at Osborne and two terms at Dartmouth before first going to sea in HMS Marlborough.  He first appears in Chailey’s parish magazine as Cadet Captain A Kimmins, Royal Navy, in October 1916.  By April 1917 he is listed as A M Kimmins and by December that year is recorded as Midshipman A M Kimmins, HMS Marlborough.  This information is then repeated monthly up to and including the final published roll call in July 1919.
Anthony Kimmins joined the Fleet Air Arm in the inter-war years until retirement from the Royal Navy.  Immediately after, he entered the film world, starring first as an actor (his debut was in 1933 in The Golden Cage) and latterly as a director (from 1937).  He rejoined the Royal Navy during the Second World War, serving first as a naval broadcaster and latterly becoming a captain on the staff of the Director of Naval Intelligence.  After the war he went back to producing and directing films.  He wrote his autobiography – Half Time – in 1948 and died in 1964.

Anthony’s older brother Brian also served his King and Country during the First World War.

On a separate note, on this day 89 years ago, my grandfather's brother, John Frederick Nixon, was killed in action whilst attached to the 8th London Regiment (The Post Office Rifles). Jack has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois memorial in France. May he rest in peace.

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