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  • Christina Drummond

Second Lieutenant George Ward Gunn VC MC, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1941, Second Lieutenant George Ward Gunn VC MC, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was killed in action during the siege of Tobruk.

The eldest son of a G.P., he was educated at Sedbergh School and Mostyn House. He was working as a chartered accountant at the outbreak of the second world war – he immediately volunteered to enlist, and was called up in December of 1939, when he became a gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery. The following August he received his commission, and in May of 1941 he was awarded the Military Cross for “gallantry and cool-ness”.

On the day of his death Second Lieutenant Gunn was in command of A Troop, J Battery, when the Germans were counter-attacking with sixty tanks near the airfield of Sidi Rezegh. There were four QF 2 pounder anti-tank guns under his command, mounted on trucks – he drove between them in an unarmoured vehicle, encouraging his men and reorganizing them when necessary. The guns and their crews were knocked out one by one, the last one having been set alight with only the sergeant having survived. Second Lieutenant Gunn aided the Battery Commander in attacking the flames, then took over the gun, with the sergeant acting as his loader. He ignored the enemy fire and the threat of the flames exploding the ammunition as he HeHehddESKKfired approximately four dozen rounds, setting two of the German tanks alight, before being killed by a shot to the head.

His Victoria Cross citation reads: "Second-Lieutenant Gunn showed the most conspicuous courage in attacking this large number of enemy tanks with a single unarmoured gun, and his utter disregard for extreme danger was an example which inspired all who saw it. He remained undismayed by intense fire and overwhelming odds, and his gallant resistance only ceased with his death. But for this very gallant action the enemy tanks would undoubtedly have over-run our position." He is buried in the Knightsbridge War Cemetery at Tobruk.

George, from Neston in Cheshire, was 29 years old.

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