Biography

J.W. Dunne’s father, John Dunne (1835-1924) served as a lieutenant in the Crimean War. He describes the landing at Calamita Bay in 1854:

We were all in full dress, in tight coatees, with gold wings on our shoulders, a broad white leather sword-belt with breast plate, a tight red sash with tassels fixed to one of our buttons. Our greatcoats were folded up, in some cases covering a spare pair of shoes inside, and were strapped on our backs. Over one shoulder we carried a large haversack stuffed with three days’ rations of salt pork and biscuit, and over the other shoulder was carried by a hard thick strap one of the wooden water-bottles the same as used in the Peninsula.… The infantry soon threw away the abominable Albert shako and wore their round forage caps. Our officers’ caps in the Twenty-First, of blue cloth with a red band and big grenade, had a peak in front, which was not restful at night. Remember that then we had always to wear our great-coats, and though we got tents and some blankets when we got round to the south of Sebastopol, we never had anything to pillow our heads on, and were only too glad to find a big smooth stone to save a crick in the neck.

Dunne then served in China in 1860, as a captain. Here he acquired a Pekinese dog which was kept safe for six months and presented as a gift to Queen Victoria:

This little dog was found by me in the Palace of Yuan-Ming-Yuan near Pekin on 6 October 1860. It is supposed to have belonged to either the Empress or one of the ladies of the Imperial Family. It is a most affectionate and intelligent little creature – it has always been accustomed to be treated as a pet and it was with the hope that it might be looked upon as such by Her Majesty and the Royal Family that I have brought it from China.

Looty died in 1872.

Dunne continued to rise through the ranks, becoming lieutenant-colonel in 1865, major-general in 1881, general in 1893 and colonel of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regiment in 1898. Other honours included appointment as Lieutenant of the Tower of London in 1894. John Dunne retired in 1902 and was awarded the K.C.B. in 1906 at the age of 69. He wrote a memoir From Calcutta to Pekin (1861).

J.W. Dunne’s mother was Julia Elizabeth Chapman, who married John Dunne in 1870. Her father was a Canada Merchant from Whitby and her mother was from Ely in Cambridgeshire. Julia was born in Islington in 1850. On the paternal side, J.W. Dunne’s grandfather was John Dunne of Cartron, County Roscommon in Ireland. His grandmother was Marianne Hart, a colonel’s daughter. Julia and John had two sons and one daughter. John William’s brother, Major F.T.V. Dunne, served in his father’s regiment the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

John William Dunne married Cecily Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, daughter of the 18th Baron Saye and Sele, in 1928. Their children were Christopher and Rosemary.

Sources

John Buchan, The History of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (1678-1918)

Who’s Who entries on John Hart Dunne and John William Dunne

Times obituaries for John Hart Dunne and John William Dunne

Charles G. Pease’s genealogy pages (includes “The Descendants of Robert Chapman”)

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