Private John Gilmore (29318) served in the 18th Battalion New Zealand Infantry during World War Two. Before the outbreak of war, he emigrated to New Zealand and was a labourer in Wellington before enlisting.
Born in Belfast, Co. Antrim, he was the son of John Gilmore and Margaret Gilmore. Private Gilmore died on 16th August 1944 aged 24 years old.
New Zealanders at War
Gilmore’s 18th Battalion was part of the 2nd New Zealand Division under Lieutenant General Bernard C Freyberg. They fought in Greece, Crete, the Western Desert, and Italy, playing a prominent role at El Alamein.
In April 1941, the 2nd New Zealand Division deployed to Greece. There, they combined with Australian and British troops as “W” Force under Lieutenant General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson.
Germany overwhelmed the Allied troops in what became the Battle of Greece. “W” Force retreated to Crete and Egypt. The final remaining New Zealanders evacuated by 25th April 1941. 291 of their number were killed, 387 wounded and a further 1,826 taken captive.
Private John Gilmore was taken prisoner of war. He place of capture was listed as Greece. He likely died in captivity in a German prisoner of war camp.
Remembering Private John Gilmore
Private John Gilmore’s grave is in Section 10, Row C, Plot 13 of the 1939-1945 Commonwealth Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany.
Other sources suggest that his name features on the Killyleagh Parish War Memorial. In fact, this is untrue. Another John Gilmore who served with the Royal Navy at Dunkirk and died in 1942 was from Maymore, Toye, Killyleagh, Co. Down.