Politician. Born at Montrave (Fife), Gilmour was educated at Glenalmond College and the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge. He was decorated in the Boer War and served in World War I.
Gilmour was elected as the Unionist Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire (1910-18) and for Glasgow Pollok (1918-40). In 1924, he was appointed the first Secretary for Scotland for 180 years, when the post was restored to the Cabinet. He served until 1929 and was responsible for the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1929, which created burgh and county councils. He went on to hold the posts of Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (1931-2), Home Secretary (1932-5) and Minister of Shipping (1939-40).
He served as Rector of the University of Edinburgh (1926-29) and was a Brigadier with the Royal Company of Archers. Gilmour was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Glasgow (1925), the University of Edinburgh (1927) and the University of St Andrews (1929). He was appointed Lord High Commissioner to General Assembly of Church of Scotland (1939).
He died in London.