No.7342, Private, King STARLING
2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
An Old Contemptible
King Starling was born in Burrough Green on 15th July 1887 (Newmarket Q3 1887 3B:525), baptised in Burrough Green on 11th September 1887, son of George and
Mary Ann STARLING (née CURTIS).
1891 census...Aged 3, he was at Back Lane, Burrough Green, with his father George STARLING  labourer, born Burrough Green; his mother Mary Ann born Westley Waterless; sisters Priscilla  born Burrough Green, Phyllis  born Bottisham, Viana  born Burrough Green, and brothers James  born Bottisham and Richard  born Grantchester. Viana died in 1892
1901 census...Aged 13, a labourer, he was at 39 Westley Waterless with his parents, brothers Elijah  born Burrough Green, Richard (labourer) and Elias  and sister Maria May  both born in Burrough Green.
1911 census...Aged 24, he was with the Suffolk Regiment at Mustapha Pasha barracks, Alexandria, Egypt. His parents, sister May and brother Elias were still near Westley Waterless. Brother Richard was in Karachi, India with the York & Lancaster Regiment. Before enlistment he had worked for A Covill in Cambridge.
His brother Elijah served in the Royal Engineers and survived the war, his Army records are available on line through Ancestry.
Brother Richard also enlisted in the Militia in 1904 and in the war served with the Yorks and Lancs in Salonika and France, dying in France on 21st March 1918 on the first day of the great German Spring Offensive (The Kaiserschlacht).. see here
He enlisted in Cambridge for six years in the Militia, Suffolk Regiment (# 2839) on 4th October 1904. He gave his age as 17 years 6 months, a labourer, living at Westley (Cambs)|
He was 5ft 5.25 in (165.7 cm)tall, weighed 117 lbs (53.2 kg) chest 33" to 35" (83.8 to 88.9 cm), brown eyes and dark brown hair.
Joined the 4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment on 18th June 1906, and gave his next of kin as father, George Starling of 39 Westley, nr Newmarket, Cambs. By the outbreak of war he had been transferred to the 2nd Battalion and seems to have been the first of the Newmarket area men to be killed.
Arriving at Le Havre on 15th August they went by train to Le Cateau and then marched the 8 miles to Landrecies. On the 21st they set out to march to Flanders, covering 17 miles that day and billeting in St Vaast the night of 21/22nd August. Crossing into Belgium they reached Hamin on the 22nd, the advanced guard reaching the Mons-Conde canal, the day the first shots were fired by the British in the war. Sunday 23rd they came under artillery fire, and the first deaths in the battalion were recorded..
At this stage General French abandoned the offensive and the retreat from Mons began. Reaching Le Cateau at 10 pm on the 25th the troops flung themselves down to rest near Pont des Quatre Vaux half a mile west of Le Cateau.
Here the Suffolk distinguished themselves as a result of some confusing orders, the Suffolks and, under the impression that they were ordered,under no circumstances to retire fought to a standstill for 9 hours suffering desperate losses. General Smith-Dorien insisted later that he had not given such an order himself, but that, thanks to the rearguard action of the Suffolks and others of the 14th Brigade, the rest of the 5th Division were able to fall back unpursued.
74 men of the 2nd Suffolks are believed to have been killed that day in the battle of Le Cateau,and only seven have identified graves.
The Newmarket Journal of 24th July 1915 reported
SOLDIER'S DEATH IN GERMANY
" Mr George Starling has received a letter from the War office stating that the death of his son King Starling of the 2nd Suffolk Regt was reported in an official list received from the German Government through the American Embassy. The place where his death occurred is not stated. The presumed date of his decease is April 9th
He was reported missing on August 26th and his parents had had no news of him since that date. A letter has been received from Lord Kitchener expressing the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen; also from a Captain of his regiment expressing the sympathy and regret of the Army Council. By a remarkable co-incidence his parents received this announcement on his 28th birthday. Much sympathy is felt for his parents and relation in their sad bereavement."
The German reply to Red Cross - they did not know where he was buried or when he died
click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details