Great Gil­mour to hon­our Swans mates

Ellenbrook Advocate - - WAFL -

THE last sur­viv­ing mem­ber of the 2nd/4th Ma­chine Gun Bat­tal­ion, John Gil­mour, will be pay­ing trib­ute to two mates who played for Swan Dis­tricts be­fore serv­ing in World War II at the club’s An­zac Day event.

Swans will play West Perth in the round 4 Joe Pearce An­zac Day Trib­ute Match at Bassendean Oval on April 21.

Mr Pearce, who died in 2012 at 95 years of age, served in the 2nd/4th Ma­chine Gun Bat­tal­ion and re­turned to the club to play 91 league games.

Mr Gil­mour (98), of Leeming, a run­ner who won a mul­ti­tude of world Mas­ters ath­let­ics ti­tles, will be a guest speaker at the event, which will also fea­ture eight vin­tage mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles, a kids play zone, prizes and a pie and beer pro­mo­tion for adults, with the chance to com­pete in the schooner race at three-quar­ter time.

His mates Leslie Hellm­rich and Ron­ald Burchell died in 1943 in Burma and 1942 in Malaya re­spec­tively.

De­spite be­ing an East Fre­man­tle and Fre­man­tle Dock­ers sup­porter, Mr Gil­mour was look­ing for­ward to speak­ing at the Swans’ an­nual event. “It is great be­cause two of my great mates who were in the 2nd/4th (Ma­chine Gun Bat­tal­ion) played for Swan Dis­tricts be­fore the war,” he said.

“I was a two-and-a-half year prisoner of war with the Ja­panese; 15 months in Changi (1942’s Bat­tle of Sin­ga­pore) and two years and one month in Kobe, Japan. (An­zac Day) re­minds me of all my good mates that are not here.”

He said while he al­ways had an in­ter­est in foot­ball he never played in a league side, be­cause of his ath­let­ics ca­reer.

Swans chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Den­nis said more than 100 navy cadets and past play­ers would be at­tend­ing the event.

“In the 133-year his­tory of the WAFL com­pe­ti­tion, 94 for­mer WAFL play­ers have lost their lives in com­bat serv­ing this great na­tion,” he said.

“Their per­sonal ser­vice and sac­ri­fice has not only linked our great com­pe­ti­tion with the spirit of the An­zacs, but too has left a legacy of mate­ship, com­mit­ment and na­tional pride for those of us here to­day to ad­mire and re­mem­ber.”

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek

John Gil­mour with 2/4th Ex-Mem­bers As­so­ci­a­tion’s Ch­eryl Mel­lor and Jan Ste­wart. d467608

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