Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison Gaunt John Kennedy
Lieutenant Colonel John Kennedy Gaunt MB ChB (Birm 1907) 5 Nov 1882 [Bromsgrove Worcs] – 12 Dec 1936 [Meerut India]
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 of 1914–1918, and was mentioned in dispatches in the London Gazette of 1 January 1916.2 Hr 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. His 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 — John Kennedy Gaunt
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. However, he reapplied for a commission on 30 May 1910.
London July 1910 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.
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.
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 Was accidentally killed at Meerut on 12 December 1936, aged 54 years.
Entry No: 736. Drew R. 1968. Commissioned Officers in the Medical Services of the British Army 1690–1960. Vol. II. Roll of Officers in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1898–1960, London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library.
Succession Books Vol XXIII, Returns of statement of service of RAMC Officers.
The War. Br Med J (1916); 1:64 (Published 8 January 1916).
Deaths in the services. Br Med J (1936); 2:1340 (Published 26 December 1936).
Gaunt J K., In the Highlands of Albania. J R Army Med Corps 1920; 35 (3): 236-258 (September 1920).
Report on the death of the Late Lt Col J K Gaunt dated Meerut 17 February 1937 (personal correspondence).