Previous

Joseph W. Hunkin

(1887-1950) – Gallipoli army chaplain

Truro School pupil Joseph W. Hunkin, MC, served as chaplain to the 29th Division Royal Artillery during the Gallipoli campaign. ‘…A situation like this tends to make a man more thoughtful, and to open his eyes to things he had never paid attention to before’. He later became Bishop of Truro.

Credit: Truro School Archive

Read full story

In December 1915, the Reverend Joseph W. Hunkin wrote from Cape Helles (at the tip of the Gallipolli peninsula, Turkey) that ‘…it is a place of great natural beauty, and the climate has been delightful. I had a bathe on Christmas Day after my morning’s round of services… My work as Chaplain takes me round to half the batteries on the Peninsula… I think I know practically all the 29th Division batteries now… Today I took services in four different places, and buried ten poor fellows in one grave. The Turks get us both from Achi Baba and from Asia. “Asiatic Annie” strafes the beaches, and “Quick Dick” has been a special nuisance. But what everyone loathes most of all are the bombs… There can be no doubt but that a situation like this tends to make a man more thoughtful, and to open his eyes to things he had never paid attention to before’.

By the following November he was in France:

‘...In this desolated country the roads are extraordinarily bad, and the mud wickedly tenacious and deep... Our men have had more to put up with than at any time since the Peninsula days, but their health and cheerfulness have been simply remarkable’.

He was awarded a Military Cross in 1917 for helping the wounded while under fire near Monchy le Preux during the battle of Arras.

Joseph Hunkin had attended Truro School and after the war became dean of his old college in Cambridge, Gonville and Caius, before being appointed Archdeacon of Coventry and an Honorary Chaplain to the King in 1927. He became Bishop of Truro in 1935. 

As bishop, Hunkin was a religious moderate from Methodist stock.  During the Second World War, he joined the Home Guard as a private, and took his turn fire watching at Truro Cathedral.  When he died unexpectedly in a London dentist’s chair, shrubs were given to every Cornish churchyard in his memory. 

Credit: Truro School Archive, images from photo of welcoming party on arrival of Edward, Prince of Wales, to lay foundation stone of Truro School chapel, 8 June 1927, and Truro Cathedral memorial