Geoffrey James Gunning

Royal Field Artillery
Date of death 
11 November 1918
Age of death 
Local memorial 
Cemetery / Memorial 

Born on 10th November 1892 in Warleigh Bath Somerset, son of James Edward (1911 shown as living on “Private Means”) and Delphena Jane Gunning. 1901: With his family at 35 Brookfield Road, Acton, London. 1911:  Mr & Mrs Gunning and five children were at Muggins Farm, Bobbingworth near Ongar, having been there for at least four years. Geoffrey is not shown, and does not appear to be included in the Census. In 1918 the family home was 52 Prospect Road, Woodford Green where the parents were living with their son Gordon. In all they had ten surviving children.

A Territorial Gunner who enlisted in London, Geoffrey arrived in France on 15th March 1915, and in November 1918 was serving with 47 Brigade HQ. On the day the Armistice came into effect, and having survived the conflict, Geoffrey Gunning died from illness in the tented 2nd Australian General Hospital at Boulogne. His sickness is not described, but it is recorded that “When the Armistice was signed, the staff barely found time to celebrate. They were too busy treating the influenza victims who continued to arrive throughout November”.

He had a girlfriend, perhaps fiancé called Emily Mary Chipling (formally named Emma) who was born in Stawel Somerset in 1894. In 1911 she too was in Bobbingworth, a servant to Thomas Atkins, a farm machinist for ploughing & threshing and his family at Bovinger Hall. Her family had also moved from Somerset and are shown at 30 Bobbingworth Green. A picture exists of them at New House Farm Bobbingworth. She wrote a heartfelt entry in a Birthday Text Book; “Dear Geoffrey died Nov.11th 1918 age 26 years (In France). God loved you dear & deemed it best that you in honoured grave should rest, And while we live to bear the pain, our sorrowing loss will be your gain.”

Emma never did marry, and she died in Surrey during 1980.

Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian