GUNN, Marcus Sinclair (MC)

1st Bn., Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) formerly Private London Scottish.

Born

29th May 1890 in Cardiff, Glamorgan.
Son of the late Marcus Gunn Esq. (decd.) and Mary Elizabeth Gunn, of St. Albans, Cathedral Road, Cardiff.

Education

Blundell's School, “Petergate”, from the age of 11.
January 1902 to Easter 1906.
He was a member of the Cadet Corps.

Personal Details

Height: 5’11¼”, Chest: 40½”, Weight: 13st 4lb
Religion: Presbyterian

Service

Served three years with the London Scottish, resigning when the Old volunteers were disbanded. As Private 2139 MS Gunn, he re-enlisted on 5th August 1914 for a four year term of service in the 14th C of L Battalion London Regt. (The London Scottish). After 5 weeks training at St. Albans he was sent to France and Flanders, with the Expeditionary Force but was wounded at Messines on 1st November 1914 and on 2nd November admitted to OC Stationary Hospital in Boulougne with a gun shot wound to his left arm and remained at home until 10th March 1915. He was discharged to a commission in the Black Watch. Lt Gunn was gazetted for Conspicuous gallantry on 4th November 1915 “For conspicuous gallantry near Hulluch from 25th to 27th September, 1915. He brought his machine guns into action on two occasions under very heavy rifle and shell fire in order to support attacks. He also rescued many wounded men who were lying under fire between the lines.” On 4th September 1916 his brother was sent a telegram which read “Regret to inform you that MS Gunn, Black Watch, was wounded on 3rd September 1916.” He was sent to Heilly casualty clearing station.

Trench Diaries

The 1st Bn. Black Watch were part of 1st Brigade, 1st Division. They arrived in Doullens from Bethune on the 6th July and during July took part in front line action at Contalmaison, driving off an enemy counter attack and advanced to take Contalmaison woods with a loss of 137 men. Later in July they were back in the front line at Bazentin-le-Petit Wood where they remained until 23rd July. In August they were involved in attacks at Mametz wood on 19th August, Quadrangle Wood on 20th August, High Wood on 28th August, Bazentin-le-Grand on 29th August, and Quadrangle Wood on 31st August. They attacked High Wood securing a crater from a mine blown under enemy trenches at the eastern end of the wood at the cost of heavy casualties. They moved to Bazentin-le-Grand on 4th September then on to Black Wood at Bazentin on 5th Sept where they remained until 10th September 1916.

Death

6th September 1916 at Heilly Station Hospital, Somme.
A second telegram to his brother, dated 23rd October 1916, read “Deeply regret…. Died of wounds Sept 6th, buried Heilly Station Cemetery.” His death was formally reported from the Officer Commanding 36 Casualty Clearing Station, in the field, France.

Burial/Commemoration

Grave III. E. 22.
Hospital Cemetery, Heilly Station, Mericourt-l’Abbe.
Mericourt-l’Abbe is a village about 10k south-west of Albert. The 36th Casualty Clearing Station was at Heilly from April 1916. The Cemetery was begin in May 1916 and was used until May 1917. Due to the vast numbers of men who died at the Casualty Clearing Station following the battle of the Somme, the burials were carried out under extreme pressure and many graves are very close together or contain multiple burials. 2/Lt Gunn’s Grave is unusual in that he has room to have his own headstone.

Memorial

His headstone is at 49°56’25.6”N 002°32’30.7”E.
The family chose to have no motto inscribed.

Probate of Will

Grantee: Alexander Gunn, brother and sole executor named in the will dated 6th April 1915.
Bequests: All books, pictures, jewellery and articles of household to his sister Beatrice, residue of the estate (medals not specifically bequeathed) left to brothers and sisters in equal shares. Totalling £12,797 - 4 – 8
Personal effects returned from the field: -
2 ID disks
Letters and Photos
1 note case
1 flask
1 metal cup
1 cigarette case
1 cheque book (Cox’s)
1 cheque book (London and Provincial bank)
1 collar stud
1 handkerchief
1 silver coin
1 franc attached to ID disks

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
“The Blundellian”, November 1916, page 258
The National Archives, Public Records Office, Kew WO 339/28886 and WO95
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No. 4860
“British Battalions on the Somme” WESTLAKE, R. (2004) Pen and Sword
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 25/538
Archives of the London Gazette, www.gazettes-online.co.uk; 4th November 1915
Field visit (JEA & GRY 29/7/2006)

 

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