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TIMMS, Charles Gordon MC OBE (1884-1958)

TIMMS, Dr Charles Gordon MC OBE (1884-1958)

Charles Timms, talented rugby union player, medical practitioner and military hero was a son of William Fowler Timms and Helen nee Anderson, of Mount Hesse Station, Winchelsea. He played rugby for Edinburgh University and the British Lions team and most notably won the Military Cross four times for bravery (MC with 3 bars) as a unit medical officer in World War I. His award of the Military Cross four times was one of only four awarded during World War I.

Charles Timms (Football, 1901).

Charles Timms (Football, 1901).

Both Charles and his brother ‘Alick’ were leading sportsmen of their time at Geelong College. Although not listed in the enrolment register C G Timms appears in the lists and photos of cricket and football teams and probably attended the School from 1901 to about 1903. He first appears in the Geelong College Football Team of 1901. He then features in 1902 winning the 100 yard Maiden Race (Mr G Bradley’s Trophy) in the Annual Sports, and running second in the 120 yard handicap hurdles as well as being on the Committee for the Annual Sports. He was a member of both the Cricket and Football Teams for 1902 and was second that year in the goal kicking competition In 1903 he was listed in the College Cricket Team though it is possible that he left in 1903.

Like his brother ‘Alick’ before him, he travelled to Edinburgh after matriculation to study medicine and in 1907 the College Annual Report refers to him as having passed the First Professional Examination at the University of Edinburgh. He later appears in the photo of the 1909-10 Edinburgh University Rugby Team. In 1910 he was one of only three players selected from Scotland as part of the British Lions Team which toured South Africa in 1910. Described in the The Student of June 24, 1910 as: ‘Centre three-quarter. A greatly improved player; able to make good openings; a sure kick and a safe field; should learn to tackle low; played for Cities v. Rest, and at present with the British team in South Africa. “Blue” 1908-1909.’ After graduation he worked as a medical registrar in London.

During World War I, Charles G Timms won four Military Crosses for bravery as a Unit Medical Officer while attached to 7 Battalion Royal Fusiliers, having been awarded his Captaincy on enlistment. The citation for Charles Timms’ first Military Cross, gazetted on 18 July, 1917 was as follows: ‘For two days he attended the wounded in the open under heavy and incessant shell fire, quite regardless of personal danger, and his coolness and energy alleviated much suffering.’

On 26 July 1918 his first bar was gazetted. This citation read: ‘ He continued to collect and evacuate wounded from his post, though several times nearly surrounded by the enemy and under heavy shell fire. By his fine courage and self-sacrifice he was able to get away a large number of wounded under most difficult conditions.’

A second Bar was gazetted on 11 January 1919: ‘During a counter-attack this officer went forward from battalion headquarters and effected several rescues of seriously wounded men, conducting them personally to the lines. Throughout the week's fighting he worked night and day, and the manner in which he disposed of stretcher cases under heavy fire was admirable.’

Finally, a third Bar was gazetted on 1 February 1919: ‘Near Cambrai on 1st October 1918, during a severe enemy barrage, when his CO was wounded, he at once took up a squad of stretcher-bearers into the barrage to the rescue, tending his wounds and seeing that he was conveyed to a place of safety.'

After the War, Charles Timms remained attached to the Royal Medical Corps, first in Uganda, and then Somaliland, and continued practising medicine. Later, he travelled to Kenya.

Charles Gordon Timms was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA) Notables Gallery at Geelong College in 2011.

Sources: John Williamson, Football’s forgotten heroes; Pegasus December 1920 p30; James Affleck. Geelong Collegians’ at the Great War p328; Bill Gillies-Speech to the Melbourne Club May 2004.
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