Sir James Startin KCB AM

b. 20/05/1855 Hounslow, Middlesex. d. 28/09/1948 Wyndlawn, Hayling Island, Hampshire.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 10/06/1918 Granton, Leith, Scotland.

Sir James Startin KCB AM

James  Startin  was  the  son  of  William  Startin Esq. and  Mary  Pate.    He  first  married Alice  Elizabeth McMicking  (1862-1923) in  1891. They  had  five  children, the  youngest  of  whom,  Harry  Jr.,  was  a Canadian citizen and served with the Royal Canadian Navy.  After Alice’s death he married her sister, Ethel McMicking  (1865-1943) in  1924. They  had  no children.  Alice  and  Ethel  were  the  daughters  of  Gilbert McMicking of Miltonise and Helen Macfarlane.  For his service in the South African War, Startin was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 6 November, 1879  and  to  the  Royal  Yacht  Victoria  and  Albert  on  2  July,  1889.  He  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of Commander 1 September, 1891. For his services in Benin, Startin was specially promoted to the rank of Captain on 25 May, 1897.

Startinwas  promoted  to  the  rank  of  Rear-Admiral  on  13  February,  1907,  and  succeeded  Rear-Admiral Francis J. Foley as Rear-Admiral in the Channel Fleet on 1 October, 1908. An officer of the Accountant Branch of the Navy later recalled of Startin: “Captain Startin was a fearless horseman, a gymnast and an athlete. In 1900, when the Boxer campaign was  going  forward,  they  sent  the  Arethusa  across  to  China,  and  we  finished  our  commission  on  that station. At Hongkong the captain ran and walked up and then down the Peak in record time. Then there was  the  occasion  on  which  he  and  the  heads  of  Departments  went  to  call  on  the  Chinese  Viceroy  at Nanking.  Dressed  in  frock  coats  with  epaulettes,  cocked  hats  and  swords,  the  captain,  chief  engineer, paymaster, surgeon and lieutenant of Marines crowded into a dog-cart and drove the eight miles from the river  to  the  Viceroy’s  house.  After  the  ceremonial  call  was  ended  they  set  out  to  return.  Captain  Startin began to get restless. “I’ve had enough of this,” he said suddenly. Off came his sword and cocked hat, he leapt from the dog-cart and ran the remaining miles back to the river. While we were up the Yangtse some fine men of the China Inland Mission came on board and had a talk and prayer meeting in the captain’s cabin. At the end the captain jumped up impulsively and cried: “Now we’ll stand up and sing ‘Dare to be a Daniel’ and those who don’t dare can remain seated!” We all stood up!”

He  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of  Vice-Admiral  on  19  September,  1911,  and appointed  an  Ordinary Member  of  the  Third  Class,  or  Companion,  in  the  Military  Division  of  the  Most  Honourable  Order  of  the Bath (C.B.) on 1 January, 1914.In accordance with the provisions of the Order in Council of 8 December, 1903, Startin was placed on the Retired  List  at  his  own  request  on  14  September,  1914  to  take  up  an  appointment  in  the  Royal  Naval Reserve. He was granted a temporary commission as Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve on 18 September, and a temporary Commission as a Commander on 24 September, and was promoted to the rank of Admiral on the Retired List on 24 October, 1915.On  the  occasion  of  the  King’s  birthday  he  was  appointed  an  Ordinary  Member  of  the  Second  Class,  or Knight  Commander,  in  the  Military  Division  of  the  Order  of  the  Bath  (K.C.B.)on  4  June,  1917.  On  20 August, 1918, Startin was awarded the Albert Medal for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea.

Startin died on 25 September, 1948 at Wyndlawn, Hayling Island at the age of  ninety-three. His  funeral took place at St. Mary’s Church, HaylingIsland on Tuesday, 28 September 1948. 



An explosion occurred on board H.M. Motor Launch 64, on the 10th June 1918. Immediately after the explosion Commodore Startin proceeded alongside M.L. 64, the engine-room of which was still burning fiercely. On learning that the engineer was below, he sprang down the hatch without the slightest hesitation, and succeeded in recovering the body practically unaided. In view of the fact that the bulkhead between the engine-room and the forward tanks had been blown down by the force of the explosion, and that the fire was blazing upon the side and on the top of the forward tanks, which are composed of exceedingly thin metal and were consequently liable to burst at any moment, the action of Commodore Startin in entering the engine-room before the fire was subdued showed the utmost possible gallantry and disregard of personal safety. Had the engineer not been past human aid he would undoubtedly have owed his life entirely to the courage and promptitude of Commodore Startin.