1/Lt. Donald D. Gilmore
(Gilmore family via P. Fisk)
1/Lt. Donald D. Gilmore
338th FS - 30 March 1944 - 13 August 1944 (Killed in Action)
Lt. Gilmore was from Freeborn, Minnesota where he is now buried.
ASN - O-753648
13 May 1944 - Awarded the Air Medal
20 May 1944 - Awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
17 June 1944 - Awarded a 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
21 June 1944 - Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
29 June 1944 - Awarded a 3rd Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
13 July 1944 - Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
13 August 1944 - Killed in action
MACR No. 07766
1/Lt. Samuel E. Hansard reported: " I was leading Acorn Red Flight and we had just strafed a truck on the highway leading southwest from Gisors, France. We were still on the deck when Lt. Gilmore who was flying on my left and slightly behind me called in flak over the R/T. I broke and looked back to see that his ship had been hit, The ship immediately went out of control and as I saw no fire or smoke I assume that control surfaces must have been hit. The plane crashed nose first and burned. Lt. Gilmore did not get out of the plane."
German J 1959 reported Lt. Gilmore found dead. He crashed 24 km northwest of Pontoise, France.
Reproduced with kind permission of Mr. Robert M. Littlefield from the author's book Double Nickel - Double Trouble
|Memories||The following was written by Gordon Gilmore,
older brother of Donald, for a 1948 memorial service.
One of the generation about whom Winston Churchill later was to say – "Never have so many owed so much to so few" – Donald Gilmore was born in Freeborn, Minnesota on July 17, 1921. He was the youngest of five children of Ansel and Bertha Scoville Gilmore.
In the quiet security of boyhood in Freeborn County, there was little to foreshadow the part he and other boys his age would be called on to play in preserving that way of living.
Summers of swimming and play – winters of recreation and study in Freeborn public schools passed swiftly and uneventfully. He was graduated from Freeborn High School with his class of 1939.
At the first step in his further education, Donald completed two years at Albert Lea Junior College. Five months after Pearl Harbor, he deferred his studies to enlist as an aviation cadet in the Army Air Force.
Although known to his schoolmates as unassuming and even retiring, Donald successfully passed the exacting and exhaustive requirements of primary, basic and advanced flying. He won his wings and was commissioned a second lieutenant at Williams Field, Chandler, Arizona, in August 1943.
After further training as a P-38 fighter pilot in this country and overseas, he went into action with the 55th Fighter Group of the Eighth Air Force. In the spring of 1944, he was part of the aerial thrusts that prepared the way for a second front in Europe.
On D-Day he flew air support and cover for American landing forces while they struggled to maintain a foothold on Normandy beaches. On one of these missions during the critical early stages of the invasion, his right engine and radio were knocked out. Without communication and only half his power, he coaxed his crippled aircraft home from deep in enemy territory.
Promoted to first lieutenant, awarded the air medal with cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross, he was given a short leave and rest in Scotland at the time of his twenty-third birthday.
On Sunday, August 13, 1944, he flew an early morning mission and returned to his base without exceptional incident. In the afternoon he again buckled on his flying gear to lead an attack on enemy installations northwest of Paris.
There, over the village of Gisors (Jee-SORS), in the heat and fury of the fight to liberate France, his plane fell before enemy anti-aircraft fire. It was his forty-seventh and final mission.
When later Allied Forces pushed the enemy back; a grateful French family found his grave and cared for it near their home. They wrote letters of consolation to his parents – proof that in common adversity there are no barriers of nationality or language.
Now his conquests in the air over two continents are over. After four years of rest in foreign soil, Donald Gilmore returns today, November 17, 1948, to find final peace beside the body of his father who died February 15th of this year.
L-R Dave Hailey and Don Gilmore (Robert M. Littlefield)
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