Thursday, May 9, 2024

Oh, Captain, My Captain!

Yes, I know that the heading, taken from the poem by Walt Whitman written in 1865 following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln has nothing whatever to do with this next memorial in York Minster, but given the rank of the memorialized officer, it was the first thing that popped into my head, and so I ran with it.

Captain Edward Charles Starkey* (died January 12, 1906) was, as we are told on the memorial and in the little that I could find about him on-line, Captain in the 13th Hussars.

It was interesting, however, to note what I could discover about Captain Starkey on-line, in some little but much more personal ways that one usually finds when searching the web.

From notes in extracts from The Army Gazette published in Colburn’s United Service Magazine and Naval and Military Journal in November 1867, we find: “13th Hussars—Lieutenant E C Starkey to be capt., by purchase. Vice T W S Miles, who retires; Oct. 16. Cornet W J Moore to be lieut., by purchase, vice Starkey; Oct. 16.”

The History of the XIII Hussars by C.R.B. Barrett notes a cup, 15” high and 13” in breadth, “Presented to the Officers’ Mess, 13th Hussars, by Captain E.C. Starkey on his leaving the Regiment, 1873.”

And Capt. Starkey is remarked as a member of the Gun Club at one of the Club’s pigeon shoots, in The Morning Post of London in the June 9, 1874 edition.

Finally, the August 10, 1876 issue of the Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener notes "A Flower Show at Heworth," held on the grounds of Tang Hall (Captain Starkey's home) with the kind permission of Mrs. Starkey, with especial notice of “the President’s (Captain E.C. Starkey’s) special prize for collections of eight exotic Ferns….”

 But of course, we're here for the heraldry, and not for the minutiae of  Captain Starkey's life both in and out of the military.

The late Captain's arms (you can click on the image above to go to a larger and more detailed photograph) are blazoned: Argent a bend engrailed vair between six storks statant sable. (These are, of course, canting - or punning - arms: storks = Starkey.) The motto underneath the arms, Homo proponit, Deus disponit translates to "Man proposes, God disposes."

* Presumably Captain Starkey is no relation to Sir Richard Starkey, MBE (Ringo Starr, of the Beatles), born in 1940, and who, from what I can find, does not have his own coat of arms. But Ringo may want to look into his family history to see if he might be entitled to these, or otherwise suitably differenced, arms.

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