Joseph Alfred Gunn was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England in 1882 and his birth was registered in the June quarter of that year. He was the son of Joseph Smee Gunn (b. 1855) and Alice Dudley Bentall (b. 1855), both of Essex who had married in West Ham in 1879.
On the 1881 census, the year before Joseph's birth, his parents and elder sister Alice Laura (b. 1880) were listed as living at "Batterdale" in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. His father is listed as a smith and farrier master. The family are still present at this address by the time of the 1891 census. Joseph's parents would have another daughter in 1896, Dorothy Edith.
On the 1901 census Joseph is listed as a visitor to his paternal aunt Elizabeth's home, 269 High Street, Stratford Marsh, Essex. Joseph is described as a grocer's assistant.
Joseph was not present for the 1911 census, but his parents were resident at Pond Hill, Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 22 Bridge Road, Southampton. His last ship had been the Oceanic. As a second class steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
Gunn, who was unmarried, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Both Joseph's parents continued to live in Hatfield. His mother died in 1916 and his father in 1935.