Boy Second Class J45953, Royal Navy
Born: 17 September 1899
Enlisted: 17 September 1915
Died: 16 February 1916
John was the youngest person from Campden to die serving his country during the 1914-18 war. He was the son of Fred and Helen Dunn of “The Chestnuts”, Campden and was baptised at St. James’s Church on 12 October 1899. After leaving Campden Grammar School he enlisted at Chatham in the Royal Navy on 17 September 1915, his sixteenth birthday. The attestation papers record that he was just over five feet tall and had fair hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.
A period of two months on the training ship HMS Mercury followed John’s enlistment before he joined HMS Impregnable, another training ship at Devonport, on 2 November 1915 as a boy second class.
John died on 16 February 1916 aged 16 years after suddenly becoming ill. He was rushed to the Royal Naval Hospital at Plymouth and died after three days of “cerebrospinal meningitis”.
John’s body was returned to Campden and he is buried in St. James’s churchyard with a private headstone. His coffin was carried by six of his old school friends who were dressed in their army cadet uniform and the service was conducted by Rev. G. E. Hitchcock. His name is recorded on three memorials in the town: in Campden School, in the High Street and in St. James’s Church.
In her Book of Remembrance Josephine Griffiths records that “he was a bright, good- looking boy who loved his seafaring life and was always cheery and companionable”.