b. 20/05/1855 Hounslow, Middlesex. d. 28/09/1948 Wyndlawn, Hayling Island, Hampshire.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 10/06/1918 Granton, Leith, Scotland.
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.
BURIAL LOCATION: ST MARY’S CHURCHYARD, HAYLING ISLAND, HAMPSHIRE.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.