William Henry Gaunt (1881–1958)


South Staffordshire Regiment 31710 8th Battalion

Photo courtesy Kathleen Gaunt

William gaunt in WW1

William attested at Derby in October 1916 aged thirty-five, listed as married and working as a mason for the Haynes Brothers in Crich. His parents were William and Sarah Gaunt, although his father died when he was about ten years old. William married Emma Elizabeth Cooper in 1905 at Nether Heage and they had a son, Robert William, born in 1911. He was awarded compassionate leave in February 1918 as his son was seriously ill. Shortly after his return to the regiment he was captured at Messines (on 11 March 1918) and became a prisoner of war in Stendal Camp, joining Alex Donaldson, who had been captured shortly before . He was repatriated on SS Porto in November 1918.

William Gaunt and family in WW1

William with wife Emma Elizabeth (née Cooper) and son Robert William

Medal Index Record
William was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

Newspaper reports

Derbyshire Courier, 20 November 1917
Pte W. Gaunt, Crich

Derbyshire Courier , 1 June 1918
News has been received from Private William Gaunt, South Staffords, that he is a prisoner of war in Germany. Nothing had been received from him since 8 April, and last week the War Office informed his wife, who is now at Nether Heage, that he was missing. A day or so previous to this, however, Private Gaunt’s card stating that he was at Limburg Larhn, had come to hand. His cousin, Private James Butler of Crich, was interned at the same place; he was taken prisoner in September 1914. Before being called up Private Gaunt was at Cowper Lane Farm, Crich.

Derbyshire Courier 30 November 1918
Mrs S. GAUNT, of Common, Crich, had you on Saturday that her eldest son,PTE William GAUNT , had arrived at Hull from Rotterdam on 21 November. He afterwards left for Ripon, and expects to be home this week.Pte GAUNT was taken prisoner by the Germans last April. In his letter to his wife, now at Heage, he says that he is quite well.

Army Service Record
William Gaunt attested at Derby on 28 October 1916 giving his address as Cowper Lane, a married mason aged 35 years, C of E, height 5ft 6in. His next-of-kin was his wife Emma Elizabeth Gaunt (née Cooper), married on 3 July 1905 at the Parish Church, Nether Heage. A son Robert William born 13 April 1911.
30/10/16 Posted
20/02/17 In the field
28/02/18 to 04/03/18 Extended leave as son seriously ill
10/4/18 Missing
22/11/18 Prisoner of war repatriated to England on S.S. Porto
22/02/19 Demobbed
Haynes bothers Crich hereby declare that William Henry Gaunt was in our employment on August 4 1914 & that we are prepared to offer him employment as mason immediately on his return to civil life.

Prisoner of War Card
GAUNT, William 31710: 4, South Staffs; Messines 11/4/18: Crick 26/10/82, Nether Bridge, Derbys
He was at Stendal Camp which is between Hamburg and Berlin.

Note: The Stendal POW camp, which is about 125 km west of Berlin, was one of the first POW camps built by the Germans. The PoW uniform, supplied by the Red Cross, was black with brown stripes down the legs and a brown insert in the sleeves of the jacket. Food at the camp consisted of black bread and soup. The men depended on packages from home and from the Red Cross for additional food, money, and supplies. A new arrival at camp would be paired up with someone who had been at the camp for a while and they would share their parcels until the new arrival began to receive packages.
Prisoners also performed labour both inside and outside of the camp; some were billeted with farm families. More unfortunate prisoners would be sent to work in the salt mines. To keep the men occupied the camp organised concerts, a debating club, orchestras, plays and sports teams. After the Armistice took affect on November 11, 1918, the camp was visited by Canadian officers who arranged for the transportation of the men back home.
Reference: http://www.cityssm.on.ca/library/WW1_POW.html


1891: Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Sarah Gaunt Head (wdw) 32 Seamstress Crich
William Gaunt son 9 Scholar Crich
Arthur Gaunt son 7 Scholar Crich
Robert Gaunt son 5 Scholar Crich
Elsie Gaunt daughter 1   Crich

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1901: Bullbridge

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
John Wheeldon Head 50 Stone mason Heage
Rose A Wheeldon wife 44 Grocer shopkeeper Fritchley
William Gaunt nephew 19 Stone mason Crich

RG13 piece 3230 folio 98 page 18

1911: Bullbridge

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William Gaunt Head 29 Stone mason Crich
Emma Gaunt wife 30   Heage

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1918 Crich voters
William Henry Gaunt, Cowper Lane; absent on military service.

1939 Register: Slack Lane, Nether Heage
William H Gaunt b.1881; bricklayer
Emma E Gaunt b.15 May 1880