FM 12 Respirator : Lieutenant P J Kimlin, HMAS Kanimbla

Accession Number REL31871.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Aluminium, Elastic, Perspex, Plastic, Rubber
Maker Avon Technical Products
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 1991
Conflict Iraq, 2003-2013

Avon FM 12 black rubber respirator with polycarbonate eye pieces. The mask features a circular central valve (the 'Primary Speech Module') which has an exhaust valve on the right cheek and a threaded inlet valve to accept the disposable canister on the left. The numeral '2' (indicating size) is raised in the rubber on the left cheek, with a manufacturer's marking in a corresponding position on the right. Six moulded tabs around the edge of the mask anchor the adjustable elastic and nylon mesh head straps. The seal on the pale green aluminium canister has been removed, and the date 'Ø1 MAR Ø3' is written in black felt marker around its edge.

History / Summary

Avon FM 12 respirator issued to Lieutenant P J Kimlin RAN whilst on active service in the Persian Gulf. The markings on the canister indicate the date on which the seals were broken, and serve as a guide to the remaining life of the chemical absorbent. 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. 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.