Bank: London County & Westminster Bank
Place of work: London West End office
Died: 1 November 1914
Edmund Gavin was born on 5 June 1869, the son of Alexander Gavin and his wife Jane. He was educated at the City of London School.
In May 1888, after leaving school, Gavin went to work for London & Westminster Bank as a teller at its London City office. Outside work he was a keen sportsman, and competed in amateur athletics competitions. He was also a volunteer soldier, a member of the 7th Middlesex (London Scottish) Volunteer Rifles Corps. He was the battalion's champion lightweight boxer.
In June 1893 Gavin was appointed Assistant Clearer (4th class) in the bank's London City office, before being appointed Assistant Correspondence Clerk (3rd class) at the bank's Country office in June 1899.
In January 1900 Gavin temporarily left the bank to serve with his battalion in the Boer War. He was in South Africa for over 16 months before returning to the bank in 1901. In May 1904 Gavin was appointed Ledger Keeper (3rd class) at the bank's London West End office, and in July 1909 he was promoted to Ledger Keeper (2nd class) there. The following month London & Westminster Bank merged with London & County Bank, and Gavin became an employee of the enlarged London County & Westminster Bank.
Gavin was recalled to military service at the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914. He rejoined the London Scottish, now part of the London Regiment, and by the time of his death in November 1914 was serving as a Company Serjeant Major.
Company Serjeant Major Gavin was declared missing, presumed killed on 1 November 1914. A bank colleague who witnessed his final moments later recalled 'he had nothing left to fight [with] but his fists, and he died boxing the Germans.' He was 45 years old and left a widow, Mary, and an 18-month-old son, Alexander.
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Hannah Green November 29 2014 11:29PM
Edmund was my great grandfather. My family had never heard the quote about him boxing the Germans when he died - which bank colleague have this account? We'd love to know more. Do you have anything else on record about Edmund Gavin? Thanks Hannah Green
Natwest Group Remembers team December 01 2014 12:53PM
Hi Hannah - thanks for your comment. The colleague was John Gruchy. You can find a page about him in the 'case studies' section of this site. The story about him seeing Edmund Gavin boxing the Germans in his last moments was told in Gruchy's own obituary in the bank's staff magazine, many years later. Gruchy was apparently the only witness to what happened to Gavin. He was taken prisoner on the same day, so could not report what he'd seen. That's why nobody knew what had happened, and Gavin was registered as 'missing'. I'm contacting you separately to ask whether you'd like a photocopy of the obituary.