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Hilda Mary Beatrice Gilmour – My Great Grandmother #52ancestors

June 14, 2020

Professional genealogist and podcaster Amy Johnson Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks. I am happily taking up the challenge, and look forward to writing stories, that will collate many years of research results. In most cases, the research for my ancestors is not complete, and possibly never will be complete, but I’m hoping to build a story of the lives they lived with the information I have to hand. I’m hoping to publish these stories in a book at the end of 2020. Each week a prompt will be given as the theme for the week.

Week 24: Handed Down

Hilda Mary Beatrice Gilmour

Hilda Mary Beatrice GILMOUR was my great grandmother. She was born in Ballarat on 12 July 1881, to her parents, Alexander GILMOUR and Jane LOUDEN, the eldest child of four children – two girls and two boys.


Hilda married my great grandfather, Ernest Welfare WATERS in Fitzroy on 29 January 1902. They were both very committed to the Salvation Army at the time of their wedding and lived their lives by their commitment. They always wore their Salvation Army uniforms, and were regular church goers until their later years. I can’t remember my great grandmother, wearing anything but her uniform, but I’m sure she must have.

from ‘War Cry’, February 22, 1902
SALVATION BRIDES AND BRIDEGROOMS: Brother Ernest Waters and Sister Beatrice Gilmour, Fitzroy 11. (Vic).
A wedding at Fitzroy 11, is a rarity, therefore a good deal of interest was manifested in the wedding which took place at the barracks on Thursday night. Brother Waters and Sister Gilmour were the ;parties most nearly concerned. The esteem in which they are held by comrades and friends of both Fitzroy 1 and 11 corps was evidenced by the number present. Majoy Albiston, our genial D.O. securely tied the ‘knot’. The platform was nicely decorated, and the ceremony took place under a draped canopy, the work of the comrades. The ‘I wills’, were said distinctly and determinedly, the ring was brought forth and adjusted, and the major GODS BLESSING on the union. The speakers for the evening were Ensign Blake, Captain Anstice, Brother Williams (best man) and Sister Considine (bridesmaid) and the bride and bridegroom, who both assured us the step was taken only after much prayer and for God’s glory. A company of junior girls sang very prettily a song apropriate to the occasion, and each presented the bride with a bouquet. The major did not forget the main object of all our gatherings, and earnestly exhorted the unsaved to come and seek God. No one responded, but we trust eternal good has been done to some soul. CAPTAIN ANSTICE.

Memories of my great grandmother

I have memories of my great grandmother who we called Grandma. I was 13 years old when she passed away. My main memory is of a very old lady, who wasn’t well, and was always sitting in a chair in a dark room. I learned when I was much older that she had been incapacitated by a stroke and couldn’t speak.  I do remember seeing her in hospital towards the end of her life. All I remember at the time, was thinking that the stranger in this bed, couldn’t be my Grandma. She had become very thin and looked very old.

As my great grandparents lived in the same town as us, we visited quite often. As was usual for me, I would have a book in my hand. Grandma would call me over and take my book and flip through it. I really liked her doing this and thought that she must like reading. I was a very shy child, and I do remember that even though she seemed nice because she looked at my books, I was a little frightened by her.

On one particular day, as she was looking at my book, she pulled two books from her bookshelf and gave them to me. They were very old and I knew by looking at them, that they were very precious. I read those books, over and over as a child, with one of them my favourite. I just couldn’t get enough of that book, which was about a young Salvation Army girl, who visited poor families in the slums of London. I wish I could remember the title, but unfortunately, I no longer have that book, as it was burned in our house fire in 1988. We lost everything in that fire, but the only ‘thing’ I was stressed about losing was that much loved book

I have been told that my great grandmother did beautiful needlework. I have vague memories of her in that chair, doing her crochet. There was evidence of her craft everywhere in the house, in the cushion covers, doilies and tablecloths that she made. After she passed away, my mother was given a beautiful large tablecloth that my grandmother had crocheted, and just a few years ago, she passed it on to me.  When I look at that tablecloth, it is awe inspiring. The crochet work is so absolutely fine and perfect. I can’t imagine this cloth being made by the human hand. It’s perfection makes it look machine made.

Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary

The photo below was taken by the Shepparton News in January 1962 to celebrate the sixtieth wedding anniversary of my great grandparents Ernest Welfare WATERS and Hilda Mary Beatrice GILMOUR. Included in the photo are two of their daughters and their families, including three granddaughters, two grandsons, one great grandson, and four great grandaughters. I am the young girl, on the left, in the middle row, behind the couch. My mother is on the right, sitting on the couch nursing my baby sister.


The following obituary appeared in the Salvation Army Publication, The War Cry.

Sister, Mrs. Waters of Shepparton, was called home, at the age of 86 years, after two weeks in hospital. She was born in Ballarat and later moved to North Fitzroy, where she became a soldier. After her marriage, in 1901, she moved to Rochester and later to Echuca, where the band consisted mainly of the Waters family. The band was well named, “the band of many Waters’. Mrs. Waters played bass and was a most active Salvationist, in many corps, including, North Melbourne, Bacchus Marsh, Melton and Sunshine.

The Waters family finally transferred to Shepparton in 1937 and at this corps, the promoted sister held the positions of Y.P.S.M and home league treasurer. During the latter years of her life, she could not speak, owing to a stroke, but it was very evident that she had the joy of the Lord in her heart, because of her smile and cheerfulness, despite her hardships. Mrs. Waters never failed to be an example to her loved ones and friends, and always remained a faithful and loyal servant of Jesus Christ. Her promotion ended a marriage partnership of over 65 years.
The funeral service was conducted in the Shepparton Citadel by Colonel Ray Darlow. Captain Neville Philpot, (C.O.) paid a tribute and Captain Baden Jeffrey (former C.O.) also took part. Brigadier Hedley Preston (D.C.) spoke at the committal service.
The memorial service was led by Captain Philpot and was attended by many loved ones, including, Brother E. Waters (husband). Tributes were spoken by Home League Secretary, Mrs. Watt, on behalf of the league, Sister Mrs. Chenery for the corps and sister Mrs. L. Hart (grandaughter) on behalf of the family.


Birth:  Civil Registration, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. 12 July 1881 GILMOUR Hilda Mary Beatrice  1881/13886 Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria
Death: Civil Registration, Mooroopna, Victoria, Australia, 17 July 1867 WATERS Hilda Mary Beatrice 1967/21415 Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria
Marriage: ‘The War Cry”, Salvation Army newspaper, February 22, 1902 page 5

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  1. I did a few searches on vintage children’s books + Salvation Army, but no luck. As a retired librarian, I liked your story about her giving you the book. My great-grandmother was a similarly distant person to me as I saw her rarely and she seemed so old and unapproachable.

    • Thanks VIrginia for being interested enough to do a google search. I must admit I hadn’t thought to do that

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