Gilkes, Charles Kenneth (Flight Sergeant, b.1923 - d.2014)

Accession Number AWM2016.231.4
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 2 wallets: 3cm.
Object type Notebook
Maker Gilkes, Charles Kenneth
Place made Australia, Canada
Date made c.1939-45
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the Second World War service of 420656 Flight Sergeant Charles Kenneth Gilkes, Royal Australian Air Force, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and France, c 1939-45.

Collection consists of training notes, aircraft diagrams, flying logs, bomb tracking sheets, aerial photographs, identification cards etc. from Gilkes' time in the Royal Australian Air Force, mostly from his training in Canada.

History / Summary

In 1943 Gilkes' Stirling Bomber was shot down while flying a mission from England to France. Suffering from extensive burns, Gilkes was transferred to Queen Victoria Hospital in Grinstead, where he was treated by New Zealand surgeon Dr Archibald McIndoe. McIndoe was developing new techniques for dealing with burns and reconstructive plastic surgery, and was responsible for the treatment of many injured servicemen. Gilkes required surgery to rebuild his forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, cheeks and chin. During their time at the hospital McIndoe's patients formed a society known as the Guinea Pig Club and Gilkes attended reunions of the club with other members in the United Kingdom later in life.

After the war Gilkes married his childhood sweetheart Roma, had three children and worked for the Perpetual Trustee Company. He was also an avid sailor, sailing competitively and nearly qualifying for the 1972 Australia Olympic team.