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LIVES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
The E.J. Boys Archive

Last amended 7.6.11. Minor edits 18.2.14, 5.4.14.

1356, Private Robert MCKIMM — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born at Coolooney, Co. Sligo, Ireland, c.1830.

Enlistment

Enlisted at Dublin on the 16th of March 1848.

Age: 18.

Height: 5. 7".

Trade: Carpenter.

Service

From Private to Corporal, 6th of May 1851.

"In confinement" from the 14-25 of January 1852. Tried by a Regimental Court-martial on the 17th of January and reduced to Private from the 25th of January. Tried by a District Court-martial at Hounslow on the 28th of January 1852 for "Leaving his Guard" and sentenced to 42 days imprisonment, with hard labour, but this sentence was remitted.

At Scutari from the 1st of May — 13th of June 1855.

Discharge & pension

Discharged "by purchase," from Cahir, Ireland, on the 4th of December 1856. Payment of 25.

Served 8 years 231 days. In Turkey and the Crimea, 1 year 10 months.

Conduct: "good".

In possession of one G.C. badge.

Medals

Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, Sebastopol and the Turkish medal.

Commemorations

Life after service

Death & burial

Died in Toronto, Canada, on the 6th of August 1892.

Extracts from the "Toronto Daily Mail" for the 8th and 16th of August 1892:

"Robert McKimm, the faithful Beadle of Toronto University for the past 30 years, expired from heart disease at five or ten past six o'clock on Saturday evening, just about the same time as Sir Daniel Wilson passed away. He had been most attentive in enquiring if he could do anything for Sir Daniel during his illness, and in every way manifested his grief at the President's death. There was a touching bond between the two men in their very widely differing positions. Mr. McKimm was a Crimean veteran, and in the great fire of 1888 he lost his three (sic) medals and Sir Daniel Wilson succeeded in getting duplicates for him from the Home Authorities. [There is no indication of this on the medal rolls.] He had been suffering from heart disease for the past two years, and Dr. J. Burns had been attending him. He leaves a widow, three sons, and two daughters. Mrs. McKimm was the only member of the family present at the death, but since then all have arrived home except one of the daughters who is at the sea-shore, but whose actual destination is not known, a couple of telegrams having failed to reach her. The eldest son, Robert P. is Rector of St, John's Episcopal Church, Toronto Junction, the second son, Charles, is just appointed in charge of the Newsboy's Home, Toronto, and the third son, Meridith, is in the employ of Rowsett and Hutchinson, King Street East. Mr. McKimm was born in Coolooney, Ireland, 67 years ago, and came to this country 33 or 34 years ago, shortly before the University Building was erected, and to which he was appointed Beadle on its completion. He served with great bravery in the Crimea, was a sergeant (sic) in the 13th Light Dragoons. He was one of the Six Hundred" and fought at the Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol. About noon on Saturday he complained of feeling fatigued and was attacked more severely at 4 p.m. when he said that he felt the end was near. Previous to that day he had been in his usual health.

"Funeral of the late Mr. Robert McKimm. — A large number assembled to honour his memory at the end of a long and useful and honourable career, the quiet throng congregating before the home of the deceased at No. 25 Graves Street, where many sincere tributes were paid to his memory and many were the stories recalled of his kindness and sympathy to all. To all the graduates and under-graduates the news of the death of the venerable Beadle brought universal and unqualified sorrow. The memory of the gaunt and severe figure, the careworn yet kindly face, brought up before the mind of each recalled memory that brought a moisture to the eye and a trembling to the lip. Amongst the many friends whom his stately worth had gained for him and who assembled to pay their last respects to his memory were noticed... Here follows a long list of University Professors, etc. The members of St. John's Lodge of the Order of Freemasons attended in a body. The burial service, which took place in the house, was conducted by the Revd. C. Owen, of St. Peter's Church, of whom the deceased was an active member. The immediate relatives of the deceased were assembled in the house, and seemed to feel their loss most deeply. The floral offerings were most profuse and beautiful, the most conspicuous being a large wreath containing a Masonic design and sent by members of the Order of St. John and St. Andrew. Then follows a list of wreath-senders... The oak casket was surmounted by a silver plate bearing the inscription;- "Robert McKim. Died August 6th 1892, aged 67 years." After the service in the house the cortege filed and took its way to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, where the deceased was to be interred later. The pall-bearers were six pater-nosters of the St. John's Lodge."

He was buried, with other members of his greater family, in Plot F6-31 of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto. The erected stone bears the following inscriptions: Front — "In memory of Robert McKim. Born at Coolooney, Ireland. — Died August 6th 1892, aged 67 years. Also his wife, Isabella Meridith, of Coolooney, Ireland. Died Jan 23rd 1910, aged 83 years. Also their daughter, Isabella F. Died Nov 19th 1918, aged 55 years. Right hand side — Revd. Charles Wm. McKim. Born August 12th 1867 — Died Sept. 2nd 1935." Rear- J. Meridith McKim. Born 1873 -Died 1954. Left hand side- Canon Robert Philip McKim. Born June 25th 1859 -Died May 29th 1936 and Wife." (sic) The cemetery itself is, according to all accounts, kept in a beautiful condition. "Crockford's Clerical Directory" gives details of the careers of both his sons who were priests and also, (in a copy for the year 1924) details of a Robert Taylor McKim, who from a similarity of details, could have been a son of Robert Philip McKim.

(See photographs of his gravestone in the 13th Hussar file.) Further information

Sent money from the Crimea to his father. Philip McKimm. living at Collooney, Co. Sligo, Ireland. He was also brother of No. 1397 Graham McKimm.

Copy of a letter written by him to the third brother, Thomas:

"Union College,

July 3rd. 1883.

Dear Brother,

I was very pleased after such a long silence when I received your letter(s). I am very pleased to hear that you and Fanny are well, don't you think that you could pay us a visit (you and Fanny) and see this vast Country of ours, no doubt one of the finest Countries in the World.

Joseph is well off, but I would not change my way of living and humble life for his wealth and be compelled to live as he does. Life in the United States is different very much from the peaceful law-abiding life we lead or live here in Canada. In the States they do not in any way care for, or respect, the Sabbath. Cousin Philip and family are very comfortable, also Jane and family. William's daughters are well, but I do fear they are not fitted for this Continent as they, I think, did not have enough to do at home...

You asked me if I was a Mason; Yes, try me and prove it. I have been one for 19 years now... I had quite a long conversation with H.R.H. Princess Louisa the other week when she was in the College, the President introduced me to her as an old Balaclava man, she was very kind and pleasing in her manner towards me, and when leaving, she said good-bye in the kindest manner. Who has my dear comrade and brother's medals. There is nothing in the world I would sooner have than dear Graham's medals, but do not think I covet them, or wish to take them from you or his child, but when I remember our first engagement with the enemy; the cannon-ball that passed between us and a little above our heads, (for his right arm was to my left.) I shall always and ever shall think and believe that God was very gracious to us that day, for that same ball struck a sergeant in our rear, — we had many narrow escapes, but who that was in the Crimea had not.

My dear, dear friend, the Revd. R.J. Card, is dead; he was a good man, and a righteous one and I am sure his fervent prayers for his dear soldier friends and those that were with him saved them through God's mercy, for his last promise to me was — My dear McKim, I will always remember you and those that are with you, at the throne of grace. Two McElroys and Jas. Ward were at everything in the Crimea, and none were killed or wounded. (1395 George McElroy. who was not at Balaclava and possibly 1489 William McElroy, who died at Varna on the 6th of September 1854 and so did not go to the Crimea, and 1357 James Ward, who went to the Military Train.) No other town or village twice the size under her Majesty had five in that war and all came safely through. So much for the prayers of a good God-fearing man, R.J. Card. This, my dear Brother and Sister, is no old soldier's yarn. It speaks for itself.

I do not remember if I told you in my last that I am now a Grandpa, thank God it is so. I feel well and strong, taking all things into consideration.

My son is doing well in Brandon. His address,

R.P. McKim

Meridith and Co.,

Brandon,

Manitoba, Canada.

My eldest daughter is Elizabeth Fanny,

Next, Henrietta Dora.

Next is a boy, Chas. William.

Next, Joseph Meridith.

Isabella F. is teaching in this city. Henrietta D. has just come home from a Ladies College, where she has been for some time and she will go again in September until Xmas. Charlie W. is a fine boy, and in a hardware store or shop — and Meridith, the youngest, is still going to school.

Poor Fanny's husband and children are well, the two eldest are boys, the younger little girls. They are all attending school. His address is;

Thomas Langton,

Younge Street,

Toronto,

Ontario, Canada.

I shall in the course of the next few days collect all the photographs I can of the family and send them to you. I shall be delighted to have yours and (your good wife's) sister, Fanny's. I shall now close by saying — God bless and keep you both. I shall write in the course of a few days to Annie.

From your afft. Brother and family,

Robert McKim.

P.S. I have been twenty years in this situation."


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