RAMC Officers
Of the Malta Garrison
John Kennedy Gaunt
1882 – 1936

Lieutenant Colonel John Kennedy Gaunt

MB ChB (Bham 1907)

5 Nov 1882 [Bromsgrove Worcs] – 12 Dec 1936 [Meerut India]

J K Gaunt
Lieutenant Colonel John Kennedy Gaunt (Courtesy Catherine McTaggart)

Lieutenant Colonel John Kennedy Gaunt was the eldest son of Dr John Penn Gaunt LRCP MRCS, of Cotswold Cottage, Alvechurch Worcestershire, and the brother of Captain Eric Thomas Gaunt RAMC. He was educated at the University of Birmingham. He passed his first examination in April 1903, his second examination in September 1904, and his final examination in November 1907, when he graduated MB ChB. After filling the posts of Assistant House Surgeon, House Surgeon and House Physician at the Birmingham General Hospital he entered the RAMC as Lieutenant on 29 July 1910, and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 1 May 1934.

Lieutenant Colonel John Kennedy Gaunt was a member of Birmingham University Company Volunteers, as an NCO and private soldier for six years. The Volunteer Company formed part of 1st Volunteer Battalion The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He served in the Great War and was mentioned in dispatches in the London Gazette of 1 January 1916.2 He received the 1914 Star, the British War Medal 1914–1918 and the Allied Victory Medal.

Lieutenant Colonel John Kennedy Gaunt was accidentally killed at Meerut on 12 December aged 54 years. He died a bachelor on a railway line at Meerut Cantonment Railway Station. There were no witnesses to the accident, other than train driver Ross, who made a verbal report to the Station Master, Mr Clayton, that the deceased had jumped in the middle of the railway track just as the train was approaching the station. On seeing him the driver applied his brakes but was unable to stop in time to avoid running him over. Lt Col J K Gaunt was struck by the cowcatcher at the front of the engine and died of head injuries. The post mortem examination consisted of an inspection of the head only. On the evidence of the train driver alone, a police inquest concluded a verdict of suicide. An accidental fall, from whatever cause, was not considered.

A letter dated 11 January 1937, from Miss Gaunt, the aunt of the deceased, stated I cannot think that the accident was intentional. He wrote to his father the day before the accident evidently feeling happy at the prospect of starting for England. A Court of Enquiry was not held.

Service Record

London 27 July 1909 Passed his fitness medical examination, but was unsuccessful in his first attempt to obtain a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He reapplied for a commission on 30 May 1910.

London 26 July 1910 Passed his his fitness medical examination. Was successful for a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps at the examination held in London in July, for which 29 candidates entered. Dr J K Gaunt came third with a total of 588 marks. The first candidate Dr John Darling Bowie MB ChB (Ed) of Edinburgh University obtained 597 marks; the last candidate, Dr Thomas John Hallinan MD ChB (Lond) MRCS (Eng) LRCP (Lond) of Charing Cross obtained 533 marks.

29 July 1910 Appointed Lieutenant RAMC on probation and was posted to Fermoy. He was confirmed in rank in February 1911.

July 1911 Moved from Cork to Limerick.

Aug 1911 Moved from Limerick to Nenagh.

Oct 1911 Moved from Lisnagar to Fermoy.

Feb 1912 Moved from Fermoy to Limerick.

Oct 1912 Moved from Fermoy to Malta.

10 Oct 1912 Arrived at Malta.

7 June 1913 Embarked on HMS Black Prince for special duties at Scutari (Albania). On 6 June orders were received at Malta to mobilise Section B Field Ambulance complete under Major Marcus Hill Babington together with Lieutenant John Kennedy Gaunt, and to be ready to embark the following day.

7 Nov 1913 Accompanied Captain S G Francis DSO, 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment, Commanding Albanian Gendarmerie, into the interior of northern Albania, to report on the medical condition of Albanian refugees who had fled from their villages to Scutari.

29 Jan 1914 Promoted Captain.

31 Jan 1914 Was granted two months leave on his return from Scutari.

1 April 1914 Returned from leave.

25 Sep 1914 Returned to England.

26 Sep 1914–9 Oct 1914 In England.

9 Oct 1914 Embarked at Southampton on SS Palm Branch. Arrived at Ostend on 11 October and proceeded to Boulogne with 14 Stationary Hospital which assembled at Aldershot.

15 Oct 1914 Ordered to Dover in charge of SS Copenhagen in temporary medical charge.

30 Nov 1915 Mentioned in Field Marshal Lord French's dispatch of 30 November 1915 for gallant and distinguished service in the field (Supplement to the London Gazette No 29422).

23 Oct 1916 Admitted to hospital with concussion and a fractured right scapula.

30 Dec 1916 Moved to Mechelen.

30 Jan 1917 Discharged to duty at 14 Stationary Hospital Wimereux.

4 Apr 1917 Granted 10 days leave from 14 Stationary Hospital.

9 Oct 1917 Death of his brother, Captain Eric Thomas Gaunt, killed in action in Belgium.

20 Oct 1917 Granted 14 days leave from 14 Stationary Hospital.

10 June 1918–24 Mar 1919 Granted the rank of Acting Major while employed with 14 Stationary Hospital.

15–29 Aug 1918 Granted 14 days leave from 14 Stationary Hospital.

8–17 Dec 1918 On nine days leave to Paris.

6 Mar–20 Mar 1919 On leave in England from 14 Staty Hospital Boulogne.

21 Mar 1919 Returned from leave to 14 Staty Hospital Boulogne.

24 Mar 1919 To England for duty in Malta.

25 Apr 1919 Arrived at Malta.

7 June 1919 Awarded La Medaille de L'Assistance Publique (en argent). The medal was created on 15 January 1891 to reward services to the public in hospitals, offices and welfare associations (London Gazette No 31393).

February 1920 Fell ill with typhus fever.

16 Apr 1920 Examined by a Medical Board and was granted three months sick leave.

17 May 1920 Embarked for England. Arrived at Southampton on 25 May 1920.

4 Aug–25 Sep 1920 On duty at Malta.

3 Dec 1920 Examined by Captain James Kevin Holland on a One Member Medical Board and was declared fit for duty.

1921 On garrison duty.

2 June 1922 Left for India.

29 July 1922 Promoted Major RAMC.

1925–1930 Served in India.

1933–1936 Served in India.

1 May 1934 Promoted Lieutenant Colonel RAMC.

22 Oct 1936 Disembarked at Bombay on his return from leave. On 28 October 1936, arrived back at Jhansi, where he was in charge of the military hospital.

7 Nov 1936 Admitted to BMH Meerut with ear problems following a severe cold picked up on 9 October 1936, at Marseilles, during his return from leave. A Medical Board invalided him back to England and was allocated a passage on 18 December.

12 Dec 1936 Killed when he fell in front of a train at Meerut on 12 December 1936, aged 54 years.