Godfrey Bunn

1696 later 105211 Private Godfrey Bunn, Hertfordshire Yeomanry

Born on 10th April 1894 in Little Gaddesden
Died on 30th June 1965 in St Paul’s Hospital, Hemel Hempstead

Family and Home 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Godfrey Bunn was born in Little Gaddesden, the seventh of the 11 children of Godfrey Goward Bunn and Ellen née Cooling.

His father was Coachman to the Hon. Alfred Talbot at Little Gaddesden House and the family lived at Home Farm Lodge.

Godfrey’s siblings were:

  • George Edward, who died aged twenty, born in 1884
  • Sidney Bunn, born 10th August 1885
  • Edith, born in 1887
  • Elsie Emily, born 15th November 1888
  • Ellen or Nellie, born 22nd April 1890
  • Walter Louis Bunn, born 8th September 1892
  • Margaret, born 21st February 1896
  • Louisa or Louise, born 10th November 1898
  • Edward Charles Bunn, born 29th January 1900
  • May, born 3rd July 1902

Education 6

On 10th May 1897 Godfrey Bunn, an Infant aged 3 years and 1 month, started at Little Gaddesden School. An epidemic of Mumps affected the school that autumn, to which Ellen succumbed on 10th November and Godfrey on 1st December.

Little Gaddesden School had an annual Diocesan Inspection, during which the children were examined in Religious Knowledge. The children who distinguished themselves in this examination in January 1901 included Godfrey and his sister Elsie.

Prizes for School Attendance 6

Attendance Prizes were sometimes awarded at Little Gaddesden School. In March 1902, Walter Bunn was awarded 2/6d, Ellen 2/- and Godfrey 1/6d.  Others awarded prizes that year included Horace Ruffett 2/6d, William Wells 2/6d, Reginald Purton 2/6d and Sidney Hart 1/6d.

In March 1903 and March 1904, Godfrey and Walter Bunn were again awarded 2/- attendance prizes. Others named included Horace Ruffett, Archie Wells and William Wells in 1903 and Victor Collier, Bernard Phillips, Arthur Whitman and Archie Wells in 1904.

On 28th May 1907 Godfrey Bunn and Victor Collier passed their Exemption Paper (Certificate of Proficiency), enabling them to leave school and go out to work. On 3rd June, Godfrey Bunn aged 13 years and almost 2 months and Victor Collier aged 13 years 8½ months left school.

Employment 5

The 1911 Census records that Godfrey, aged nearly 17, was a Stable Helper at Churchill, Hemel Hempstead, in the household of Mr Edward Alfred Mitchell Innes, Barrister-at-Law.

The Bunn Family in 1911 5

Only Godfrey’s mother and four youngest siblings Margaret, Louisa, Edward Bunn and May were at Home Farm Lodge, Little Gaddesden on Census night, 2nd April 1911. His father Godfrey and brother Walter Bunn were in London – as were their employers the Talbots. His brother George had died in 1904. However, all his other siblings had left home for work: Sidney Bunn at Mr Austin’s Motor Works in London, Edith as a Housemaid in Exning, Newmarket, Elsie, also a housemaid, at Old Abbey, Leiston, Suffolk and Ellen a Domestic Nurse in Berkhamsted. However, most of the family, including Godfrey, gathered for his sister Elsie’s marriage to Charles Short in Little Gaddesden on 16th August 1913.

Photo of Charles Short and his wife Elsie Bunn with Elsie's family on their Wedding Day, 16th August 1913
The Bunn Family at Elsie’s marriage to Charles Short.
Back Row L to R: brother Sidney, mother Ellen, father Godfrey and 19 year old Godfrey.
Middle Row L to R: sister Ellen, Charles Short, sisters Elsie, Margaret and Edith.
Front Row L to R: siblings Louisa, Edward and May. Photo courtesy of Godfrey’s Great Nephew Martin Tharby Jones.

Military Service 7, 8

Godfrey volunteered at the outbreak of War, serving with the 1/1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Yeomanry.

Photo of Godfrey Bunn in the uniform of the Hertfordshire Yeomanry.
Private Godfrey Bunn wearing the uniform of the Hertfordshire Yeomanry. This photo may well have been taken before the Battalion sailed for Egypt in September 1914, when he was aged 20. Photo courtesy of Godfrey’s Great Nephew Martin Tharby Jones.

Service in Egypt and Gallipoli 7, 8, 9

The Battalion sailed for Egypt on 10th September 1914 where, according to his Medal Roll Index Card, Godfrey servedfrom 5th November 1914. On 19th January 1915, th e Battalion joined the Yeomanry Mounted Brigade in Egypt but that August they moved to Gallipoli as dismounted troops. Then, in December 1915, they withdrew from Gallipoli and returned to Egypt. However, in March 1916 the Battalion was split up into four squadrons. We know from a postcard sent to his sister May that Godfrey then served in No 4 Troop, B Squadron of the Herts Yeomanry, and was based at the Cavalry Barracks, Cairo.

Photo of Godfrey Bunn caring for his horse while in Egypt during the First World War
The photo on the postcard stating Godfrey’s unit and location shows him (right) grooming his horse at the Cavalry Barracks in Cairo. The remaining text reads: “What do you think of my bonnet best love Goff”. Photo courtesy of Godfrey’s Great Nephew Martin Tharby Jones.

For his War Service, Godfrey was awarded the 1914 – 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

Returning to Little Gaddesden 10

By Autumn 1919, Godfrey had been disembodied (demobilised from the Territorial Force) and was again living at his parents’ address, Home Farm Lodge, Little Gaddesden.

Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”

Godfrey Bunn is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. His entry reads Bunn Godfrey, Hertfordshire Yeomanry. He is similarly shown on the Centenary Revision of the Roll. Also listed on the Rolls are his three brothers Sidney Bunn, Walter Bunn and Edward Bunn and his brother in law Charles Short.

Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver

A move to Great Gaddesden 5, 9, 10

Godfrey’s parents remained in Little Gaddesden until 1920. They then moved to Great Gaddesden, where his father became Landlord of The Cock and Bottle Inn. From 1921 – 1926, Electoral Register entries show Godfrey living with his parents at The Cock and Bottle Inn. The 1921 Census confirms that he worked for his father at The Cock and Bottle.

Marriage and Birth of a Daughter 1, 4, 10, 11

In 1928 (2nd Quarter) Godfrey Bunn married Lily H Saunders. The marriage was registered in the Hemel Hempstead District. Between 1928 and 1930, Electoral Registers show that Godfrey and Lily lived at 33 Cotterells, Boxmoor. Their daughter Pamela M Bunn was born on 16th January 1930.

Moving to London then Surrey 12, 13

However, by 1931, they had moved to 56 Talfourd Road, Camberwell, Southwark. By 1936 they had moved again, to 1 The Parade, Epsom, Surrey where, in the 1939 Register, Godfrey was recorded as a Club Steward and Lily a Club Stewardess. Pamela was then at school. They remained in Epsom until at least 1954 and their last few Electoral Register entries name the Club as the Comrades Club.

Death 14

However, Godfrey and Lily later moved back to Hertfordshire and, at the time of Godfrey’s death, lived at 196 Cotterells, Hemel Hempstead. 71 year old Godfrey Bunn, a retired Club Steward, died on 30th June 1965 as the result of bronchopneumonia and a stroke. He also suffered from severe osteoarthritis. His widow Lily was the informant of his death.


1. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcriptions

2. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Hertfordshire Baptisms

3. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947

4.https://www.ancestry.co.uk The 1939 Register

5. https://www.findmypast.co.uk 1901 – 1921 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcriptions

6.Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906 and 1906 – 1934

7. https://www.ancestry.co.uk  British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920

8. https://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.com/2011/08/hertfordshire-yeomanry-1908-1914.html

9. https://www.ancestry.co.uk Kelly’s Directory entries 1922 – 1937 The Cock and Bottle, Great Gaddesden

10. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Electoral Registers 1832 – 1932

11. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales marriages 1837-2005 Transcriptions

12. https://www.ancestry.co.uk London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965

13. https://www.ancestry.co.uk Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1962

14. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007 and copy of Godfrey’s Death Certificate

Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at war-remembrance@littlegaddesdenchurch.org.uk.

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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson