Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Henry Gunning, of the 1st King's Royal Rifles, was the eldest son of Sir George William Gunning, fifth Baronet, of Little Horton House, Northampton, the Chairman of the Conservative Party in Mid-Northamptonshire, by his marriage with Isabella Mary Frances Charlotte, daughter of the late Colonel William Chester-Master, of the Abbey, Cirencester, and was born on July 17, 1852. Educated at Eton, he entered the army as a sub-lieutenant on March 26, 1873, and was gazetted to the 60th Foot (now the King's Royal Rifle Corps) as a lieutenant on September 9, 1874. He served in the Zulu War of 1879 with the third battalion of his regiment, and was present at the action of Gingindhlovu and the relief of Ekowe, afterwards serving as adjutant of the battalion throughout the operations of "Clarke's Column," for which he wore the medal with clasp. He was gazetted captain in August 1883, was an adjutant of the Auxiliary Forces (the 5th Militia Battalion of the King's Royal Rifles) from March 1886 to March 1891, having obtained the rank of major on June 25, 1890. In 1891-92 he took part in the war in Burma, being engaged in the operations in the Chin Hills in command of the Baungshe column, for which he wore a second medal with clasp. His commission as lieutenant-colonel bore date April 16, 1898. Colonel Gunning, who was in the Commission of the Peace for the county of Northants, married in 1880 Fanny Julia, daughter of the late Mr. Clinton George Dawkins, formerly Her Majesty's Consul-General at Venice.