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Hero of the Month: Flt Sgt Alan Gilmour (1970 - 2021)


Flt Sgt Alan Gilmour was a principled husband, kind-hearted father and accomplished instructor in the RAF.

Alan joined the military at 18 years old, as soon as he left school, and served for 31 years. Over his three decades of service, Alan completed numerous operational tours of Afghanistan, as well as tours of Iraq, Kuwait, the Falklands and Cyprus.

On the 19th of April 2021, Alan died from a severe head injury sustained in an accident. He was 51 years old.

His eldest daughter, Katie, was 16. His younger daughters, twins Lily and Alexis, were 14.

Flt Sgt Alan Gilmour

“When I first met Alan, I thought he was the rudest person in the world,” jokes his wife, Rose. “He wasn’t afraid to let you know what he thought about things, and he had no issue being blunt about it, which could make him come across quite standoffish. But it all came from a very strong moral centre. He knew exactly who he was, always told the truth, never judged people and would help anyone who needed helping. He had a good heart.” 

Alan loved sport – especially football and golf – and enjoyed nothing more than building his day around eating food and watching a match. 

“He loved his golf. Everywhere we went, he would take his golf clubs in case there was a course nearby. He was also an avid football fan and huge supporter of Rangers F.C. If there was ever a football match on, you can guarantee that he would start the day with a cooked breakfast and already have a curry in the slow cooker ready for that evening when he got back from watching the game at the pub. He stuck to his routine like glue.”

As a dad, Alan wanted nothing more than to show his daughters the best of life.  

“He was a good listener, but always liked things done ASAP,” says Rose. “He made them their choice of meals, took them to the snowiest places to play in the snow, and always finished off with a hot chocolate. When he was home, he always really valued family time.” 

Alan’s eldest daughter, 19-year-old Katie, says: “I was his partner in crime. Anything to cause chaos, like smuggling stuff into festivals or building an isolation bar in the garden during the pandemic. We just loved winding mum up together.” 

“Dad was my food buddy,” adds 17-year-old Lily. “He would send me message asking if I wanted to go shopping for a roast.” 

Alexis, also 17, says: “Dad always remembered to bring us gifts back from detachments – mine were snow globes.”

Alan was the youngest of five children. Growing up in such a busy environment, he had to learn all the tricks to get his own way.  

“I’ve been told he was the kind of kid who would give his mum board at the beginning of the week then end up getting it back by the end. Even as an adult, he knew how to wing his way through any situation. He also loved his gizmos and wanted the latest version of anything. He always made sure any office he was working in had the very best coffee machine, and our TV was constantly growing bigger and bigger. The slow cooker was like a member of the family. He loved his home comforts.”

At age 18, Alan left home to join the RAF, where he continued to serve for the rest of his life. 

“He loved the military lifestyle. He would put 110% into everything he did and thrived on his job. Even when he wasn't meant to be working, he would often be on the phone talking through some issue or helping someone out. He’d even be doing that on holidays, and I’d tell him it’s not his responsibility, but that was just who he was. You couldn't change him.” 

Alan died from a severe head injury on the 19th of April 2021, aged 51. He and his family had been planning to move to Germany later that year.

He may no longer be with them, but Rose sees similarities between the girls and Alan all the time, and they like to remember him in lots of different ways.  

Each of the kids resemble him in their own way. Katie is very diplomatic and logical, she’s able to take a step back and see the big picture. Alexis is the deep thinker. She likes to know her thoughts on things, but she’s also very blunt, which is just like her dad. I call her Alexis-no-filter. Lily always makes me laugh and has a very funny way of expressing herself. She’ll bump into something, like a wall, and blame the wall for being there, which is very Alan. She also needs to know exactly what she’s eating and what’s in her food, which is just like him, too.”

Rose continues: 

“For us, a lot of our remembering actually comes from food and cooking. We like to cook meals Alan liked, and on his birthday and anniversary we always have a meal at the pub where we first met. Alan even has a memorial bench at that pub, so we have a lot of connections to him there. Keeping our military connection is important to the girls too, because it’s a way they can feel connected to their dad even though he’s not here. We also have a thing called a Family Day, where I basically organise somewhere to go and something to do, and we all have fun and share a good giggle while reminiscing about Alan.”  

One story the girls like to hear over and over comes from the night Alan proposed to Rose – although not in the way you might expect. 

“I was in Nottingham, asleep, and Al was with some friends on a night out in Lossiemouth. He rang up and sang to me at karaoke then went to get a kebab. We started speaking about Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, as that’s where my family are from, and he said that the only way he would go there is if we got married. I thought it was such a weird thing to say and hung up the phone, but he kept messaging and calling me. Eventually I answered, and it turned out that was his roundabout way of trying to propose. It still makes me laugh.”

Since joining Scotty’s in 2022, Katie, Alexis and Lily have benefitted from access to Scotty’s breaks, grants, group events and the option to access one-to-one bereavement support. Through these opportunities, they have been able to meet lots of bereaved military children who can understand and relate to what they’ve been through. 

“Last year, my eldest daughter Katie and I attended Remembrance with Scotty’s. Spending the weekend with all those parents and children who have also lost someone and being able to talk so openly about everything was fantastic. Katie also met people the same age as her who had also lost a parent, which meant she was able to speak with someone who could relate to what she’s been through. That was really important to me, as even though we both lost Alan, I lost a husband and Katie lost a dad. There are parts of what she’s gone through that I don’t have experience of, but Scotty’s members do.” 

Rose continues: 

“Scotty’s is like an anchor that helps keep us steady. I know that if the girls or I are ever struggling, I could send a message and someone would be there to offer support. It’s like we’ve always got a safety net, should we ever need it.”



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