King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Gaunt, Eric Thomas

Captain ▪ Royal Army Medical Corps

Eric Thomas Gaunt, born on 6th January 1884, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1896. His father, John, was a physician, and the family, including mother, Eleanor, brothers, John and Cyril (Old Edwardians both), and sisters, Ruby and Mary, lived at The Old House in Alvechurch.

At School, Eric was a keen gymnast specialising in the bridge ladder, and a keen runner, regularly competing in cross country races and the steeplechase, completing a 7-mile run in 43 minutes in 1901.

After School, Eric studied Medicine, later holding the post of Resident Obstetric Assistant at Queen’s Hospital, Birmingham, and House Surgeon at the General Hospital. After several years of holding these positions, he decided to join the Royal Army Medical Corps, gaining a commission as a Lieutenant in 1910. After some time in Malta on garrison duty, he was promoted to Captain in July 1913. On 18th January 1915, Eric left for France with the British Expeditionary Force. On 9th October 1917, he was killed in action, aged thirty-three. On the day he died, Eric was at the regimental aid post near Polygon Wood, attending the wounded. He was in the act of dressing a wound outside the dugout when a shell burst within three feet of him, wounding him in the back and head. He died instantly. A brother medical officer, writing after Eric’s death, stated that: “[Eric] had done magnificent work throughout the action, and dressed and evacuated the wounded with absolute disregard for his own personal safety. It was a terrific blow to us all, and it is even yet difficult to realise that he has left us for a better world. He was one of the most popular officers in the Division; simply beloved by all of us, both officers and men and his loss to us will never be replaced.” Eric is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Flanders, and left his estate of £201 to his father, who applied for his son’s medals in March 1919.