In the churchyard at Mickleham is a cross of grey granite with the names of a man and his wife on it.
At the foot of the same grave is a little white-topped cube of stone on which an airplane is inlaid in metal--a monoplane of antiquated design.
It marks the resting place of Douglas Graham Gilmour.
How many people to-day remember the name of Graham Gilmour who lies now with his father and mother in the
twenty feet frm the ground, and excaped with a cut lip.
Four months later he made, in his Bleriot, a cross-country flight of an hour and a quarter. He flew from Brooklands to Esher, and then to Hampton Court, which he passed at a height of 200 feet. He descended safely in Bushy Park.
A mechanic accompanied him as a passenger.
The Royal Aero Club had qualms
little churchyard of Mickleham, where the River Mole cuts its narrow leafy valley through the North Downs?
How many of the thousands who will watch the competitors in trhe King's Cup Air Race streak round the British Isles tomorrow and on Saturday have ever heard of this picturesque pioneer of aviation?
Graham Gilmour was killed when his monoplane crashed in Richmond Park in 1912. He was only twenty-six.
He had enjoyed a flying career of little more than two years. But in that time his daring, his flying skill and his sense of humour had put his name well on the map.
What is more, it had helped to put flying on the map.
Machinery had always delighted him. When he was at Clifton College he spent much of his time in the school workshop. He acquired the first of many motor-bicycles and did some perilous feats of hill-climbing on the side of the Downs above Mickleham.
He once wanted to ride up a very steep slope in his father's garden. The garden did not afford a sufficiently long run to carry him up the slope. So he got up speed, by riding the motor-bicycle right through the hall of the house, out at the front door, and across the garden.
Even then the hill was too much for him.
When he left school he entered an engineering business, and later turned to the motor trade. He stuck to his motor-bicycling, and enjoyed a good measure of success, especially in hill-climbing competitions.
He was always ready to try any new make, and at one time accumulated 19 motor-bicycles and seven motorcars.
Gilmour learned to fly with Grahame-White in paris, in the autumn of 1909.
His first airplane, which he bought at Rheims, was a little two-seater Bleriot monoplane. "Big Bat" was its name.
He came back to England and joined the staff of the Bristol Aviation Company. He was indefatigable in experimenting with different types, and less than two years after taking his pilot's certificate he had flown six types of monoplane and four types of biplane, not counting his original Bleriot.
He had a lot of spills and a fair share of luck. In those days, pilots flew astonishingly low. In May 1910 he was flying a monoplane round the Brooklands airfield when he ran into
the telegraph wires. He was only about the dangers of low flying, especially over towns, and drew up rules against it.
But Gilmour was not deterred. In July 1911 he flew to Henley Regatta, and startled the crowd on the river by swooping down and flying so low that his landing wheels were actually in the water.
Two days before he had flown up the Thames at Westminster.
The Club put him on trial, in the first "air court" ever held in England. The Court suspended his flying certificate for a month on account of his escapade at Henley, but decided that public safety was not endangered by his Westminster flight.
The suspension of fhis certificate prevented him from taking part in the "Circuit of Britain" race, the forerunner of the present King's Cup Air Race.
He felt this keenly, and to express his disappointment placed a mourning wreath outside his hangar at Brooklands on the day the race began.
He believed that the only way to make the public air-minded was to keep flying constantly before their eyes, by means however bizarre.
He quickly realized the possibilities of aircraft in war, and to demonstrate them to a lethargic England he raided Portsmouth, bombarding the forts with oranges.
One day he flew to Salisbury to face a motoring charge at the Assizes there; he was acquitted. On another, he followed the University boat race from end to end.
On February 17, 1912, he made his last flight.
He left Brooklands for Richmond at 11 a.m. It was a fine windless day.
At noon he was passing over the Old Deer Park. Bystanders were marvelling how beautifully the airplane was sailing along. They described him as "flying at a great height," but in fact he was only from 400 to 600ft. up. That seemed high then.
Suddenly the machine began to wobble. A moment later one, or both, wings buckled up. The airplane dived from a height of 300ft., and the nose buried itself a foot deep in the ground.
Graham Gilmour was killed instantly.
They roped round the airplane to "prevent any interference with the wreckage by souvenir hunters."
To-day, there is no "souvenir" of Graham Gilmour but that little cube of stone with the airplane inlaid on it, in Mickleham churchyard.