Charles E. Kilmer, DSO
Captain Charles Edward Kilmer attended St. Andrew's College from 1905 to 1909.
He served in the 19th Battalion, Canadian Infantry and was a keen chronicler of the military scene. "The first day in the trenches," he wrote from Belgium on 26 September 1915, "the Germans gave us quite a shelling with heavy shells and the sensation is very painful. They sail these big coal boxes over three at a time and each one makes a hole over ten feet deep and about the same across."
Four days later he wrote: "You've read about the big advance of the British and French....The morning it started we had some fun with the Germans. We were supplied with a lot of sand bags filled with straw and sulphur. At the time of the commencement of the artillery bombardment we lit them and heaved them out of our trenches. There was a nice breeze from behind us and it drifted the smoke nicely toward the German lines. The Germans through they were being gassed......Their whole front line jumped up and blazed away at us.......By the time you get this the football season will be in full swing."
He was apparently one of the earliest officers to lead daylight trench raids against the Germans in 1916. For one of these raids, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. However just as he was leaving the German trench, after ensuring the safety of his own men, he was badly wounded. He managed to crawl into a nearby crater and lay there until he was rescued, but his right leg had to be amputated.
On St. Andrew's Day (November 30) 1921, Governor General Lord Byng of Vimy came to unveil a memorial tablet given by Charles' mother, Mrs. George Kilmer. The tablet was later removed to Aurora when the school located there.
"For conspicuous gallantry during operations. He led with great skill, a successful daylight attack on the enemy's trenches. Though severely wounded, he was the last man to withdraw after all his party, including the wounded, had got clear."