Letter to John Gilmour
Stanley Graham Gilmour

The younger brother of Douglas
Collection of John Gilmour, 1-20-05
Stanley's Letter
Douglas Graham Gilmour
Grandpas only brother and your Great Uncle.
Douglas Gilmour was born in 1884, and was known as "Black Soot" that is unlike most Scotsmen, He had very black hair and blue eyes. He was always a "dare devil" and some what of a Black Sheep too but very brave and adventurous.
He, like Grandpa went to the Prep School at Hastings and on to Clifton College. He was always in trouble for something or other and Grandpa had to suffer as the younger brother because the Westers thought he was the same.
Douglas had no use for organised games like cricket and football and took no interest in them at all.
He got his Cadet Badge for shooting and was in the School Bisley (6) is the Rifle Shooting Term. He was also Hero of the Wetel side of the workshop.
Douglas, on leaving school went to Shanghai and was apprentise to the Shanghai Electric Generator Station but either a year or so became ill and was sent home to England.
Here he went to a well known engineering works at Bedford, called Allens as a premium pupil. ( Altho' Bedford is about as far from the sea as any town in the British Isles, Allens was well known for years as a leading firm in the making of Ship's engines).
Later on Douglas became their Chief Draughts man and owned a motor car the Adams 10 hp known as "Pedals to Push" as a nick name.
He became interested in flying and to that end he became a pupil of the famous Frenchman Louis Bleriot ( 1812 - 1936" a famous pioneer Airmen (who was the first man to fly the English Channel in 1909). Douglas visited various flying meetings organised in Britain, including one at Bournemouth in 1910 where the famous Hon Charles Rolls was killed. Rolls flew the Channel both ways while Bleriot had only flown one way.
W. B. There is a stone memorial at Dover on the spot where Bleriot landed at Dover (in the shape of an aeroplane) which commemorates his feat. (I knew this well as a child and in 1951 Grandpa, Al and I visited it when also seeing my father's home that had been so badly shelled during the Second World War ... that it wasn't safe even to open the front door)
Brooklands became Douglas' base. In the very early days of motor cars Brooklands was a famous car racing track.
1st opened while Grandpa was at Sandhurst. Here Douglas housed a plane, a single seater Bleriot with a 45 H.P. Anzani engine in which he had various accidents. Douglas bought another machine from Bleriot to enter the first "CIRCUIT OF BRITAIN" Race (Daily Mail Prize of $!0.000) but this plane was impounded by the Credit Lyonais in France to pay some of Douglas' debts so he was unable to take part.
Graham White also entered, but got up too late in the morning so missed also.
Douglas also owned a Bristol BIplane at one time.
He finally joined the firm of Martin Hendeside who built a Monoplane, with a 4 cylinder J.A.P. engine and in this machine he was killed in 1911.
To raise money for the firm he offered to fly up the Thames over the bridges which drew large crowds. The landing wires broke and the wings folded downwards. He crashed in Richmond Park, and one of Grandpas' brothers in law Louis Dartnell . First Surgeon in the Royal Navy told him that every bone in Douglas' body was broken.
An adventurous and brave member of the family you can all be proud of.
Stanley's Letter

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