Douglas Graham Crash
The story of a boy
INTO the graveyard at Mickleham in Surrey walked a man carrying a wreath. He placed it on a grave which is marked by a stone inlaid with a metal replica of an old-fashioned biplane.
     A card with the wreath bore the words; "1911-1946. Recalling with grateful memory a young airman who was the first to fly over Bognor Regis in the pioneer days of flying."
     The grave was that of Douglas Graham Gilmour. He died at the age of 25.
     The story of Gilmour is a saga of a boy with a brave heart.
     He was brought up at Mickleham. When about 17 he wagered his father he could ride his motorcycle up the bank in front of their house. The bank was steep and near to the house. His father said it could not be done. But young Gilmour won the bet.
     His problem was to get a long enough run to enable his machine to accelerate to top speed. First he built a wooden ramp from the front door to the top of the bank. Then he cleared the long
Douglas Graham Crash
The replica in the churchyard
  hall of furniture and took his motorcycle to the far end of it.
     He started up, and, with a roar, rode up the ramp and over the bank.
     Once Gilmour was out shooting with a friend. His friend's gun went off accidentally and filled Gilmour's leg with buckshot. When they got back to the house the family were at dinner. To avoid involving his friend, Gilmour said nothing. he sat down at the table, and despite the pain he was enduring, joined in the conversation. Eventually he fainted. Only then did the truth come out.
'Bombed' the fleet
     In his early twenties Gilmour abandoned motoring for the air. he was a daring pilot.
     He flew over Westminster at a time when flights over towns and cities were considered dangerous. He was "tried" by the Royal Aero Club, but acquitted.
     He flew over Henley Regatta. His licence was suspended. Gilmour hung a black wreath outside his hangar, mourning the decision.
     To underline the war potentialities of the air, he loaded his airplane with oranges and with these "bombed" the forts of Portsmouth and ships of the Fleet lying there.
     One morning in 1912 his airplane crumpled and fell into Richmond Park. Gilmour was killed.
Toll no bells
     He left a letter. In it he asked that no bell should be tolled, no mourning worn, and only flowers of bright colours used at his funeral. "I want everyone to be merry and bright," he wrote.
     Now he lies buried with his father and mother. The wreath commemorating his flight over Bognor has withered and died.

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