Ernest Gaunt

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Sir Ernest Gaunt
Born (1865-03-25)25 March 1865
Beechworth, Victoria
Died (1940-04-20)20 April 1940
Westminster Hospital, London
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1878–1925
Rank Admiral
Commands held 1st Battle Squadron
East Indies Station
Western Approaches
Battles/wars Boxer Rebellion
World War I

Admiral Sir Ernest Frederick Augustus Gaunt KCB KBE CMG (1865–1940),[1] a native of Australia, was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Commander-in-Chief of the Western Approaches.

Naval career[edit]

Gaunt was born in Beechworth in Victoria, the son of William Henry Gaunt and Elizabeth Mary Palmer.[2] Gaunt joined the Royal Navy in 1878 at the age of 13.[2] In 1881 he was a seaman on HMS Wolverine, by 1891 he was a lieutenant on Belleisle, and by 1896 he was 1st Lieutenant on the armoured cruiser HMS Narcissus.[2] In 1898 and 1899 Gaunt was 1st Commissioner for Weihawei and Administrator for Liukungtao, China. In 1900, he was Commissioner and Superintending transport officer Weihawei, China, at the time of the Boxer Rebellion.[2] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1902 Coronation Honours list on 26 June 1902 for his services during the rebellion.[3][4] Promoted to Commander, he was in August 1901 appointed in command of the cruiser HMS Scout,[5] which served on the Mediterranean Station and in June 1902 replaced HMS Harrier as special service vessel at Constantinople.[6] In 1903, he commanded a landing party from the HMS Mohawk at Durbo in Swaziland.[2]

In 1913, he became Commodore of the Royal Naval Barracks in Chatham, England, and in 1913 and 1914, he was aide-de-camp to King George V. In 1916, during World War I, he served as second-in-command of the 1st Battle Squadron at the Battle of Jutland as Rear Admiral;[2] his flagship was Colossus. From 1917 to 1919 he was Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station, and from 1921 to 1922 he was Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches. In 1925 he retired,[2] and was knighted. He died in Chelsea, London, England.

His brother, Guy Gaunt, was also an Admiral of the Royal Navy, and later became a Conservative Member of Parliament.[2] Their sister, Mary Gaunt, was a well-known author in Australia and wrote several travel books.


In 1899 he married Louise Geraldine Martyn of Gregans Castle, near Ballyvaughan in Ireland.[2]


  1. ^ GAUNT, Adm. Sir Ernest Frederick Augustus, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2016 (online edition, Oxford University Press, 2014)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i O'Neill, Sally. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University – via Australian Dictionary of Biography. 
  3. ^ "The Coronation Honours". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 5. 
  4. ^ "No. 27456". The London Gazette. 22 July 1902. p. 4669. 
  5. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36533). London. 14 August 1901. p. 4. 
  6. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36788). London. 7 June 1902. p. 9. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Rosslyn Wemyss
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station
Succeeded by
Sir Hugh Tothill
Preceded by
Sir Reginald Tupper
Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches
Post disbanded