Corporal 392092, 2nd/9th Bn, London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles)
Died 27th September 1917, aged 22
Remembered at Tyne Cot Memorial
& on both Blakeney War Memorials
Ernest’s birth was registered in 1894, at West Ham. He was the son of John Thomas Starling of Blakeney, Master Mariner and his wife Sarah Ann Breese of West Beckham. Two of his siblings, William Thomas and Alice Agnes were born in West Ham whilst his younger brother, Herbert Samuel was born in Blakeney 1897. The family had returned to live in Blakeney where all the children attended the local school.
His father was First Mate of the steamship Homer which disappeared with her whole crew save one, after a collision with Hoppet near Spurn Head early in 1901. By 1911, his mother was living alone in Blakeney while all her children had dispersed. She stated that she had had five children and that four were still alive. William, Alice and Ernest have not been located while Herbert was at the Royal Merchant Seaman’s Orphanage, Wanstead. He served in WWI as 2nd Lieut in the Royal Flying Corp. and was a survivor.
There are no records for Ernest only that his residence was Kensington at the time of enlisting in London as Ernest Herbert Starling, in error for Ernest Hubert Starling. He was initially a Private 5379, of the 9th London Regiment before later transferring to Queen Victoria’s Rifles. His date of death coincides with the attack on Polygon Wood by the Second Army under the command of General Plumer. This was the second of four attacks that led the way to the final assault on Passchendaele.
Ernest is commemorated on the “Curved Memorial to the Missing” at Tyne Cot Cemetery, together with Thomas Lane and Joseph Stevens. This memorial actually forms the north-eastern boundary of the cemetery that contains nearly 12,000 burials, 8,366 being of unidentified service men whilst the “Curved Memorial to the Missing” bears the names of some 35,000 officers and soldiers who have no known grave and all of whom died after 16th August 1917. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, it is the largest cemetery of Commonwealth war dead in the world.