Admiral Sir Ernest Frederick Augustus Gaunt

Ernest Frederick Augustus Gaunt (1865-1940) and Guy Reginald Archer Gaunt (1869-1953), Admirals, were born in Victoria, sons of William Henry Gaunt and his wife Elizabeth Mary, née Palmer. Their brother Cecil Robert Gaunt served as a senior officer in the British Army and Mary Eliza was their sister.

Ernest Gaunt was born on 25 March 1865 at Beechworth. After a year (1876) at Melbourne Grammar he went to England to join HMS Britannia as a naval cadet. He served on the Australia Station from 1880 to 1884; as Sub Lieutenant in HMS Nelson, he hoisted the British flag when the British Protectorate over New Guinea was proclaimed. In 1896 he was promoted First Lieutenant of the armoured cruiser HMS Narcissus, and in China in 1898-99 served in administrative posts; he was thanked by the Austrian and German Commanders-in-Chief for his services during the Boxer Rebellion. In early December 1903 he was severely wounded when he commanded a landing party to avenge the death of an Italian naval officer in Somaliland; on 31 December he was promoted Captain and subsequently commanded the battleships HM Ships Majestic, Queen and Superb.

From October 1914 he held the rank of Rear Admiral and commanded the 1st Battle Squadron of the Fleet in the Battle of Jutland. He was promoted Vice Admiral in February 1919 and admiral in June 1924 before retiring in March next year. He was appointed KCB in 1919 and KBE in 1922.

In 1899 he had married Louise Geraldine Martyn (d.1934) of County Clare, Ireland. He retired to Monte Carlo and later London, where he died on 20 April 1940 at Westminster Hospital, survived by a son and two daughters.