Gunther, Eustace Rolfe

He was the eldest son of Robert William Theodore Gunther of Heacham, Norfolk and Amy Gunther (daughter of Eustace Neville Rolfe CVO).  He came from distinguished family of scientists: his father was curator of the Museum of Science at Oxford, and keeper of the famous Lewis-Evans collection of mathematical and astronomical instruments. His great-uncle had (like his father) received a gold medal from the Royal Society for contributions to zoology.

Gunther came to Winchester from the Dragon School, Oxford and in 1920 went to Caius College, Cambridge, where he took his degree in 1923 (gaining his MA in 1928). In 1924 he was appointed zoologist to the staff of the Discovery Committee, which went out to investigate whales and whaling conditions in the Antarctic, and was out on that task from 1925 to 1927 aboard Scott’s old ship, the Discovery. He afterwards returned to the Antarctic for three more summers. In 1928 he published his Notes and Sketches made on the Discovery Expedition.

On October 12th 1929 he married Dr. Mavis Hilda Dorothea Carr (daughter of Dr. F.H. Carr FCS), of 77 Ember Lane, Esher, Surrey, and they had one son and two daughters.  According to The Times, he was particularly devoted to his home and garden and to his native village of Heacham.

In 1936 he surveyed the Humboldt Current – an area of cold water off the coast of Chile and Peru – and published his report on The Peru Coastal Current that same year.  He was a clever artist, and his water-colour sketches of zoological specimens are conspicuous for their accuracy and beauty.

Gunther joined the Territorial Army in 1937 as a Sapper (the equivalent of a Private), being commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1938.

He was accidentally shot, aged thirty-seven, when on active service as a 2nd Lieutenant with 72 Searchlight Regiment, RA, in the Twickenham area. He was buried with military honours in his home parish churchyard of St. Mary’s, Heacham and is commemorated on the War Memorial there.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Gunther
  • Forenames or initials: Eustace Rolfe
  • House: H
  • Years in School: 1916-1919
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • Date of Birth: 20th September 1902
  • Date of Death: 31st March 1940
  • How Died: Died in an Accident
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner D2
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: St Mary's Churchyard, Heacham, Norfolk