GUNN, Gordon Melton
(Service number 28017)

First Rank Sapper Last Rank Lieutenant


Date 28 January 1885 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 23 May 1916 Age 31 years
Address at Enlistment 6 High Street, Watford, England
Occupation Dental surgeon
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs E. GUNN (mother), Timaru; 4 Park Street, Wellington. (Also Mr P. F. Quambush, 91 Winpole Street, West ?)
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals British War Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Dental surgeon


Date 27 February 1963 Age 78 years
Place of Death Christchurch
Memorial or Cemetery Cremated; ashes interred Timaru Cemetery
Memorial Reference Timaru - General Section, Row 37, Plot 178
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Gordon Melton Gunn was born on 28 January 1885 at Timaru, the second son of William and Elizabeth Jane (née Melton) Gunn. He was baptised on 24 June 1885 at St Mary’s Church, Timaru. He was initially educated privately before being admitted to Timaru Main School in 1893. From there he went on to the Timaru High School. G. M. Gunn, of Timaru Main, gained second highest marks in the 1897 junior scholarship examination. At Timaru,.Gordon competed in athletics, having handicaps declared for the South Canterbury Amateur Athletics Club’s meetings. At the Ashburton meeting in February 1905 he won the Mile Flat Handicap, off 25 yards. Such was his success at Timaru in December 1905 that he was relieved of the walk up the stairs to receive his prizes (champion and Teschemaker Cup) by being carried. Later in the month, along with his older brother, William, he had a good day at Lancaster Park. Back in March 1905, G. Gunn had tied with the New Zealand champion in the diving event held at the Timaru Amateur Swimming Club’s carnival. “The opinion was expressed by the Christchurch visitors that with some cultivation of his take-off Gunn will be very hard to beat. He makes a very pretty clean dive.” In March 1906, Gordon and William were off to Dunedin. There he competed in the pole jump. In May he ran impressively at the Timaru Harriers meeting. But come August and Gordon Gunn was off to America. At a farewell evening hosted by the South Canterbury Harriers’ Club, the goodfellowship between Mr Gunn and his comrades and his participation in various sporting hobbies (athletics, swimming, etc.) were noted. Mr Gunn was presented with a handsome South Canterbury travelling rug, with in one corner the initials “S.C.H.” and in another “G.M.G.”

Mr Wm Gunn received word on 29 July 1909 that his second son, G. M. Gunn, had successfully passed his final examinations in dentirtry at the University of Pennsylvania. He was going to Edinburgh to enable him to obtain the British qualification L.D.S. (Licentiate of Dental Surgery). By mid 1910 he had passed his British examination, and was not returning to New Zealand, having secured a “splendid appointment” in the London branch of a leading Edinburgh dentist. Indeed, Gordon was a dentist boarding in Hammersmith, London in1911. When he enlisted with the New Zealand Forces, under the “Derby Scheme”, on 23 May 1916 at Hornchurch, England, he was a dental surgeon residing at 6 Hight Street, Watford, England. He had served with the City Rifles Timaru (Volunteers). He nominated his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs E. Gunn, Timaru, NZ. Her address was amended to 4 Park Street, Wellington, where she had moved after the death of her husband. When Gordon was stationed at Sling Camp and when he left for Egypt, he lent his motorcycle to Captain R. King. He also lent him various sums of money, and asked his friend Percy Quambush to collect both the motorcycle and the money. Mr P. J. Quambush was also noted as a next-of-kin. G. M. Gunn left Sling Camp on 20 April 1917 for Egypt, being in October 1917 at Moascar Camp, Egypt with the New Zealand Dental Corps. Sergeant G. M. Gunn, 28017, of the New Zealand Dental Corps, was to be lieutenant effective from 31 August 1918. Lieutenant E. G. Gunn, 28017, returned to New Zealand from Egypt per the “Ulimaroa”, which was due at Auckland on 6 August 1919. He was discharged on 9 September 1919. The 1920 UK Medical Directory listed Gordon Melton Gunn, L.D.S. Pennsylvania, 1909, L.D.S. R.C.S. Edinburgh, 1910. His address was given as 30 George Street, Hanover Square, London, and 6 High Street, Watford, Hertsfordshire.

In November 1922, Dr G. M. Gunn was best man at a wedding in Christchurch, New Zealand. At a reunion dinner of the North Canterbury Branch of the Timaru High School Old Boys’ Association, Dr G. M. Gunn proposed the toast “School Athletics”, and offered the school a cup for the first boy to break his own junior 440 record, established in 1899. Dr Gunn (Gordon) and his brother Mr J. D. Gunn (Jack) were both elected vice-presidenrts of the North Canterbury Branch of the Timaru Boys’ High School Old Boys’ Association. Both Dr Elizabeth Gunn and Dr G. M. Gunn stopped off at Timaru in January 1927, one of many visits which Gordon made to Timaru. Gordon Melton Gunn married Clara Emma Stringer in 1927. Gordon and Clara, who lived in Christchurch, continued to visit Timaru frequently. Gordon was a dentist in Christchurch in August 1931 when he was involved in a motor accident, there being negligence on the part of both parties.

Gordon Melton Gunn died on 14 February 1963 at Christchurch, aged 78 years. It appears that he was cremated and his ashes interred at Timaru Cemetery in his parents’ plot. Mr William Gunn died at Timaru in December 1914. William Gunn, from Helmsdale, Sutherland, Scotland, and Elizabeth Melton had married at Timaru in 1878 and, after a few years in Dunedin, had spent their time in Timaru, where Mr Gunn was a chemist and dental surgeon. He was very active in local activities, especially sporting organsations and charitable causes, and was a big ratepatyer, owning the Theatre Royal and the Olympia, which he had placed at the disposal of the ladies working for the Home and Belgian Relief Fund. Gordon Gunn, dentist, was living at Watford, England, when his father died. His mother, who had come from London as a small child, died at her Christchurch residence in October 1937, survived by her three daughters and three sons. Gordon and his wife were then residing in Christchurch. Two siblings of Gordon also served in the war – his sister Elizabeth and his brother Jack. His oldest brother, William Alexander Gunn, a dentist at Timaru, was listed on the Reserve Roll, he being a married man with three children.


NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [08 January 2021]; St Mary’s Timaru Baptism record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG transcription) [08 January 2021]; School Admission record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [08 January 2021]; Timaru Cemetery burial record (Timaru District Council) [07 January 2021]; 1911 England census return ( [08 January 2021]; UK Medical Directory, 1920 ( [08 January 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [08 January 2021]; South Canterbury Times, 19 January 1898, 9 February 1898, Timaru Herald, 10 February 1898, 14 & 17 December 1904, 3 March 1905, 28 November 1907, 15 & 19 December 1905, 1 & 5 March 1906, 18 May 1906, 8 August 1906, 30 July 1909, 24 December 1909, 7 July 1910, 17 & 19 December 1914, 25 August 1924, 23 June 1927, Temuka Leader, 25 February 1905, Otago Daily Times, 20 November 1918, New Zealand Times, 31 July 1919, Press, 28 April 1925, 21 October 1937, 28 August 1943 (Papers Past) [07, 08 & 09 January 2021]

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.

Tell us more

Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!

Your Details
Veteran Details
- you may attach an image or document up to 10MB