LIEUTENANT DAVID GUNN
13TH OCTOBER 1917 AGE 22
BURIED: PASSCHENDAELE NEW BRITISH CEMETERY, BELGIUM
David Gunn's father, John, chose his inscription. The inspiration probably being a very famous print by the American artist and illustrator Howard Chandler Christy. The print first appeared as a sketch in 'Prince Albert's Book', published in December 1914 to raise support for Belgium. This sketch is called 'On the Field of Honour' and is signed, 'With sincerest admiration Howard Chandler Christy 1914'. Later the sketch was worked up into a more finished drawing and published as a print. It's still called 'On the Field of Honour' but underneath the image of a dead Belgian soldier, who is being crowned with a laurel wreath by an angel, it now says, "He loved honour more than he feared death".
The words are in quotation marks, as I've shown them here. So where are they quoted from? They are the words Brutus says to Cassius in Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' when he tells him that he would prefer to maintain an honourable reputation even if the alternative was death.
Set honour in one eye and death i' th' other,
And I will look on both indifferently,
For let the gods so speed me as as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.
David Gunn who, aged 15, had been a stock brokers clerk in the 1911 census, served with the 7th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders and was killed in action on 13 October 1917 during the First Battle of Passchendaele. His body was recovered from an unmarked grave in May 1920 and identified by his disc.