The Airmen's Stories - P/O H R Gunn
Harold Raymond Gunn, of Oxhey, Hertfordshire was born in Devonport on 7th May 1913.
In the 1911 census his father, Arthur George Gunn, was listed as a ship's steward, Royal Navy, living at 15 Beresford Street, Stoke, Devonport. He was still serving in 1922 with the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
In the 1939 register he was listed as 'news & confectionary own account, Royal Navy pensioner' and his address was given as 74 Market Street, Watford, Hertfordshire. Ships Mr Gunn had served on included the battleship HMS Emperor of India. His brother, Walter John Gunn also served in the Navy.
(Above: Gunn is the pilot closest to the Hurricane wingtip, Northolt 1938)
HR Gunn went to Watford Grammar School. He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice on 27th August 1929 and passed out on 19th August 1932 as a Fitter, Aero Engines.
He later applied for pilot-training and was selected. With his flying training completed, Gunn joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on 31st August 1937 as a Sergeant.
He married Vera Gertrude Whittle in Watford in July 1938.
On 13th January 1940 Gunn shared in the destruction of a He111 near the Farne Islands. He was presented to the King when HM visited 111 Squadron at Drem in February.
In early April Gunn was commissioned from Sergeant and on the 8th he joined 74 Squadron at Hornchurch.
On 21st April Gunn flew on a training exercise. There is no further mention of him in the 74 ORB until 15th July when he rejoined 74 from RAF Uxbridge on his ceasing to be non-effective sick.
He claimed a Me109 destroyed on 28th July.
He was shot down into the Channel off Folkestone on the 31st July in Spitfire P9379, possibly by Oberleutnant Fozo of 4/JG51.
Gunn was 27. His body was recovered by the Germans and he is buried in Ostende New Communal Cemetery, Belgium.