Williejohn Oberlin Gilmour
Scottish Horse Imperial Yeomanry
Died 15 May 1917 age 32
2nd Lieut. W.O. Gilmour – Scott. Horse
Williejohn Oberlin Gilmour was born at Armadale in Sutherland on 30 May 1884, son of William Gilmour B.A. and Barbara Learmonth Gilmour. There was a strong teaching tendency in the Gilmour family: William was a teacher; Barbara was a teacher’s assistant; Williejohn became a teacher and in due course married a teacher.
Williejohn Gilmour was the eldest of at least six children. He had four younger sisters and a younger brother Marcus Aurelius. His mother was a native of Orkney, born in Stronsay, and the family appear in Westray, Orkney in 1891 where Marcus Aurelius and his sister Barbara were both born, two years apart. By 1901 the family were living in the School House, Huntly. Williejohn was educated first at his father’s various schools, then at Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen.
He served in the Scottish Horse Imperial Yeomanry from 1904-8 and appears to have remained a member of the University troop while at Aberdeen University from which he graduated with an M.A. degree in 1911. He taught for a time at Paisley Grammar School as an assistant and, on the outbreak of war, was a master at Leith Academy. On the very day war was declared (4 August 1914), he re-enlisted in his old regiment, despite the offer of a commission in the Gordon Highlanders.
On 25 May1915 Gilmour married Madge Gordon Sim, schoolteacher, at Kincardine O’Neil. They were to enjoy married life together for no more than about ten weeks. Gilmour was sent to Gallipoli as Quartermaster-Sergeant in the 1st Brigade, embarking from Devonport on 15 August 1915 and arriving at Suvla Bay 1 September. He spent a couple of weeks in hospital in Alexandria with jaundice in January 1916. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 10 March 1916, twelve days before his wife gave birth on 22 March to a son, James Gordon Gilmour, at Auchintoul, Torphins.
He was killed while on patrol, near Kakaraska on the Struma front in Macedonia on 15 May 1917 at the age of 32. At the time of his death, both parents, his younger brother and four sisters aged between 17 and 30 lived at Crathes Schoolhouse. His parents later resided in Culter at a house named “Struma”. In 1921, Madge, still living at Auchintoul, married Robert Davidson, a Torphins railway signalman.
According to the records of his old university,
“Lieutenant Gilmour’s death was a great blow to his numerous friends and comrades-in-arms, as his cheerful and obliging disposition made him a general favourite both in school and on service”.
He is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial – also on the War Memorial at Banchory.