Hunter, Robert Arbuthnott

He was the elder son of Robert Cecil Hunter (C 1892-97) and Aileen Edith Hunter (daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Arbuthnott Percy Byng Sutherland Dunbar); after the death of her husband, Mrs. Hunter lived at Elm Farm, Woolton Hill, Newbury.

Hunter came from St. David’s, Reigate in September 1923 to Southgate Hill (Du Boulay’s)  where his father, grandfather and three uncles had been before him. The family suffered heavy losses in two world wars. Of his uncles, Lieutenant Hugh Michael Hunter (C 1905-1910, Wiltshire Regiment), died of wounds in April 1915, and Captain Richard Jocelyn Hunter (C 1899-1905, London Rifle Brigade) fell in 1918 (both are commemorated by Hunter Tent). Robert Hunter’s cousin – Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Colin Devas Hunter DFC (A 1932-1938) (see individual entries) – and his father, Richard Devas Hunter DSO, who was not at Winchester, was killed in action in September 1944

He played for his house for two years at cricket and football, and was a good rackets player. In 1929 he went on to Brasenose College, Oxford, and in 1932 joined his grandfather’s firm of solicitors, becoming a partner in 1936. He was also a Liveryman of the Merchant Taylors’ Company. On July 12th 1937 he married Mélanie Grant (daughter of William West Grant DSO, of Denver, Colorado, USA).

He had held a Territorial commission in the Scottish Horse from 1933, and joined his regiment on the outbreak of war. He was on the staff of Northern Command from 1940 to 1942, when he went to Sierra Leone for fifteen months as a Major (DAAG). He then applied to be released from staff work, and did nine months special training in commando and naval gunnery work. He landed with 6th Airborne Division on D-Day as a Forward Observation Officer, and was reported missing, and later killed in action, on that day, at Villers-sur-Mer.   Villers-sur-Mer is some way east of the landing grounds of 6th Airborne on D-Day; Hunter’s must have been one of the drops which went adrift, and, isolated from the main force, his group would have been quickly picked up by the Germans.

 His widow lived in Bletchingly, Surrey.

Hunter was eventually confirmed killed late in September 1944. A requiem mass was held at noon on October 3rd 1944 at St. Mary’s, Bourne Street, London.   Aged thirty-four when he died, he is buried in grave IVA.K.20, Ranville War Cemetery, Normandy. His tombstone is inscribed: in hoc signo vinces.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Hunter
  • Forenames or initials: Robert Arbuthnott
  • House: C
  • Years in School: 1923-1929
  • Rank: Captain
  • Regiment: 6th Airborne Division
  • Date of Birth: 16th March 1910
  • Date of Death: 6th June 1944
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner E2
  • Decoration: DFC
  • Burial Site: Ranville War Cemetery: Grave IVA.K.20