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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Lionel Cherry Gilmour World War I Collection

Identifier: 2019-01-30
The Lionel Cherry Gilmour World War I Collection is comprised of a small photograph album, loose photographs, a prisoner-of-war diary, and assorted research documents pertaining to the World War I service and prisoner-of-war (POW) experience of Lieutenant Lionel Cherry Gilmour (1891-1973) of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and its predecessor, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). The collections has been arranged into two series: personal materials of Lionel Cherry Gilmour and research materials.

Series I, Personal Materials, includes Gilmour's personal handwritten diary describing how he was shot down on July 31, 1918. It continues describing his first few weeks as a POW at various German camps, including Karlsruhe, Germany. Additional materials include a small black leather photograph album, which holds approximately 40 photographs depicting military personnel in both posed and casual settings; military buildings and the interior of a church; and military aircraft. Many of the photographs have faded and are difficult to see clearly. Pages typically have one to four photographs that have been affixed with photo corners and/or glue. However, many photographs are loose or have been removed/fallen out. Images often include very brief captions. People are generally identified only by rank and last name (ex. "Lt. McDonald").

Two photographic postcards were found on the top of the album. One features Wantage Hall in Reading, England, where Gilmour was in training, and the other depicts Lionel Cherry Gilmour in his training uniform. Both have handwritten captions on the reverse that provide contextual information, including date, location, and names. The photograph album also has a front pocket, which held a small envelope with one photograph. The photograph has faded but a man with a motorcycle is vaguely discernible. On the back of the photograph is "Lieut. Botterell and motorcycle." The front pocket also included two additional loose photographs, one which depicts an Avro crash and one which depicts a hand-colored image of a pilot, likely Gilmour, in the cockpit of an airplane.

Additional materials include 36 loose photographs and photographic postcards that were originally housed within three different envelopes. All are black-and-white and most often include captions on reverse, with some having contextual information on the front of the image.
  • Envelope 1: "Kamstigal bei Pillau" - a postcard and seven photographic postcards depicting a waterfront scene and group portraits of military personnel in uniform.
  • Envelope 2: "Karlsruhe photographs, Fritz Albrecht, photographer - twelve photographic postcards depicting captured military personnel in both casual and posed settings.
  • Envelope 3: Sixteen photographs and photographic postcards depicting military personnel, aircraft, and one scenic image. One image depicts two bare-chested men, likely POWs, with arms upright standing before a soldier with a gun. These images were likely removed from Gilmour's photograph album.
Also included is a 1915 commission certificate for Lionel Cherry Gilmour signed by King George V.

Series II, Research Materials, consists of assorted original and photocopied documents from British and Canadian records offices obtained by Jay Gilmour in researching his father's service. These documents include personnel and military records related to Gilmour's service, such as pay records, medical reports, military orders and flight records and other documents related to his time as a POW. A map of France with locations highlighted by Jay depict the flight paths of Gilmour and Josef Müller, the German pilot who likely shot Gilmour down. There is also a color lithograph of a BAE Systems Hawk T1, an aircraft flown by the No. 208 Squadron, with two inscriptions. On the upper left corner is "To Jay Gilmour With Very Best Wishes From the Pilots of 208 Squadron Royal Air Force Valley March 2003." On the right upper corner is "In Honour of Our Former Comrade Lieutenant L.C. Gilmour, Canadian Infantry Attached to the 208 Squadron Western Front 1918." The print is signed by the 2003 pilots of the No. 208 Squadron. Also included are two publications, Flight Journal and Over the Front, which include articles related to Gilmour.


  • 1915-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1968-2008

Language of Materials

Some military records are in both French and English. All other materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


.42 Cubic Feet (1 full-width legal size document box and 1 oversize folder)


The collection is comprised of a small photograph album, loose photographs, a prisoner of war diary, and assorted research documents pertaining to the World War I service and prisoner of war (POW) experience of Lieutenant Lionel Cherry Gilmour (1891-1973), pilot of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and its predecessor, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

Biographical Note: Lionel Cherry Gilmour

Lionel Cherry Gilmour served in France in World War I with the Canadian Royal Air Force. Lionel Cherry Gilmour was born January 11, 1891 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. In 1912 he graduated from the Ontario College of Pharmacy in Toronto, Canada. Gilmour enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force on December 1, 1915 and was assigned to the 229th Battalion, Infantry. He made it known he was willing to serve overseas and was then seconded to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) on August 5, 1917.

Gilmour attended ground school and pilot school in England, earning Flying Certificate #10746 on February 19, 1918. Gilmour was then posted to the Royal Air Force (RAF), 208 Squadron on April 16, 1918, in Serny, France. On July 31, 1918 Gilmour took off from Tramecourt, France and was shot down sometime after that, most likely by Josef Muller of the German 1st Field Artillery, Prinz Regent Luitpold Regiment. He landed in Estevelles, France and was captured as a prisoner of war. Gilmour kept a written diary of his being shot down and the first few weeks of capture. He was a prisoner of war in Lille, France (The Citadel), Karlsruhe and Landshut, Germany and the Kamstigall camp in Pillau in East Prussia, now known at Baltysk, Russia. Gilmour was repatriated from Germany on December 13, 1918 and returned to Canada on January 17, 1919. He left service as a Lieutenant on February 5, 1919.

Post-war, Gilmour opened his own pharmacy in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. He later immigrated to the United States, where he and his wife raised their family in Seattle, Washington. Gilmour was not an active pilot after World War I but did serve in World War II with the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. Gilmour died on December 2, 1973 in Bellevue, Washington.


Biography derived from donor information, collection materials, and "Moose Jaw and Hohenschwangau over Estevelles: Lt. Lionel Gilmour and Ltn.d.Res. Josef Müller" by Patrick Mallahan -- article in Over the Front, Volume 24, Number 4, Winter 2006.

Custodial History

The collection was donated by John (Jay) Gilmour, the son of Lionel Cherry Gilmour.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Separated Materials

The following materials were separated from the archival component and are kept in Objects storage:

  • Three medals, including a British War Medal
  • Royal Air Force wings pin
  • Royal Flying Corps patch
  • Shadowbox with ribbon and two pins

Additionally, the following book is kept in the Library:

Johnstone, E.G., ed. Naval Eight: a history of No. 8 Squadron, R. N. A. S.--afterwards No. 208 Squadron. R. A. F.--from its formation in 1916 until the armistice in 1918. Cailfornia: The Signal Press, 1931.

Processing Information

The collection was arranged into two series, 1) Lionel Cherry Gilmour personal materials and 2) research materials. Original order has been maintained, wherever possible - especially in the various research material groupings. Original titles were used whenever possible and are denoted by quotation marks, all other file titles were derived by the processing archivist. The photograph album has been interleaved and loose photographs found on top of it and within its front pocket have been sleeved. Some photographs arrived divided into three envelopes with handwritten identifiers; these have been removed from the envelopes and sleeved. The envelopes have been retained to maintain context and the identifiers are used as the file title. Additionally, a slightly oversize commission certificate has been sleeved. One signed lithograph was removed from a frame for preservation reasons.
Guide to the Lionel Cherry Gilmour World War I Collection
Completed - Level 3
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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