Royal Australian Navy Flying suit : Lieutenant P J Kimlin, HMAS Kanimbla

Accession Number REL31867
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Brass, Synthetic, Velcro, White metal
Maker Carter Industries Inc.
Place made United States of America
Date made c 2000s
Conflict Iraq, 2003-2013

US manufactured desert brown meta-aramid one piece long sleeved flying overalls. The suit has a front zipper opening with twin zip fasteners running from neck to crutch, and there are four ventilation holes under each arm. There are eight pockets; two breast, two thigh, one inner thigh, two calf and one on the left upper arm. The breast, thigh and calf pockets have zipper closures, while the arm pocket has both zipper and Velcro fastenings. The inner thigh pocket, designed to hold a survival knife, has a brass press-stud fastening and a brass eyelet with a length of nylon cord knotted through it. The ankles of the suit have zipper fastenings, while the waist and cuffs are adjustable by means of cotton tabs with Velcro strips. A black machine embroidered badge attached with Velcro to the left breast shows a pair of RAN pilot's wings in gold, red and white cotton, above the name 'PAUL KIMLIN' in white. A white fabric label sewn inside the collar gives manufacturer's and care details, and shows the size '38L'. Both the label and the sewn-in cotton hanging loop inside the collar are marked in blue felt pen with the name 'KIMLIN'.

History / Summary

US issue desert brown flying suit worn by Lieutenant P J Kimlin RAN whilst on active service in the Persian Gulf. Paul John Kimlin was born in Canberra in 1976, and joined the Royal Australian Navy as a direct entry pilot trainee in 1996. After completing his fixed-wing training as part of 175 Pilot Course, he went on to graduate from the Australian Defence Force Helicopter School in Canberra. He served with 723 Squadron, flying the Aerospatiale AS 350B Squirrel, before joining 817 Squadron, which operates Westland Sea Kings. From September 2000 to April 2001, Kimlin served with the United Nations in East Timor, and during 2003 he was embarked on HMAS Kanimbla for service in the Persian Gulf as second pilot of the attached Sea King helicopter N16-118, callsign 'Shark 07'. During the month of March 2003, this helicopter and crew set a squadron record by flying 126.4 hours, and also became the first RAN aircraft to land in Iraq following the commencement of hostilities. He returned to Australia in July 2003. The US manufactured desert brown flying suit, T-shirt, (REL31868) and gloves (REL31869) were issued to RAN aircrew for operations in the Persian Gulf. They replaced the standard Australian issue olive green items, the colour of which, it was felt, too closely resembled that of the Iraqi Republican Guard uniform. After the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami off the Indonesian province of Aceh, HMAS Kanimbla, with its embarked helicopters, spent three months providing humanitarian relief. The ship was on its way home to Australia after this deployment when it was diverted to the provide further humanitarian aid to the Indonesian island of Nias, which had been hit by another earthquake. Paul Kimlin, piloting Kanimbla's Sea King Helicopter 'Shark 02' was killed, together with another eight of the eleven RAN and RAAF personnel on the aircraft, when it crashed on Nias due to mechanical failure on 2 April 2005.