CWG: Seaman George Gunn

Seaman George Gunn

George Gunn was born on 15th October 1891, the middle of three children to William and Hughina Gunn. The family lived in the hamlet of Skerray on the North Scottish coast.

Sadly, there is little information about George’s life. When was broke out, he enlisted in the Royal Naval Reserve, which suggests that he had experience of going to sea, although this is likely, because he lived in a coastal village.

George’s service records show that he was 5ft 10.5ins (1.79m) tall, had grey eyes and a fresh complexion. Under ‘personal marks’ the document noted that he had a dimple in his chin.

Seaman Gunn spent most of his time on land; he was initially posted to HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. In June 1915, however, he was assigned to the minelayer HMS Orvieto, and spent the next year patrolling the North Sea.

By the spring of 1916, George was back in Chatham; by August he was on the move again, this time to London, where he spent twelve months at HMS President, the Royal Naval Base in London. He returned to HMS Pembroke on 3rd September 1917, a move that was to prove fatal.

The base was a particularly busy place that summer, and George was billeted in overflow accommodation in the barracks’ Drill Hall.

That night, Chatham was bombarded by a German air raid, and the Drill Hall received a direct hit. Tragically, Seamen Gunn was among those killed. He was just 24 years old and has been at HMS Pembroke for a matter of hours.

George Gunn’s body, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, more than 500 miles from home.


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