Thomas Cecil Starbuck (d. 16th February 1944)

WWI & II Commemorative Calendar (2018)
WWI & II Commemorative Calendar (2018)

Although Starbuck is a name which features prominently over the years in Hickling, no link between Thomas Cecil’s family and others at any time in the village has yet been found.  There were, unusually for the history of the name in the village, very few living in Hickling at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Thomas (father of Thomas Cecil) Starbuck was born in 1880 in Gunthorpe, the son of an agricultural labourer.  For most of his boyhood he lived in Barnstone, where he became a ploughboy at the age of 8.  When he was 20 he was working as a cattleman on a farm in Wollaton Park.  He then moved to Owthorpe and married Eliza Jane Morley there on Christmas Day 1903.  She was the daughter of James Morley and had been born in Cropwell Butler in 1875 but as a child moved to Owthorpe where her father worked as the village blacksmith.  By 1911 Thomas and Eliza Jane were living with her widowed father, still in Owthorpe.  With them were their three sons, Thomas Cecil, born in 1904, George William born in 1907 and Frank Laurence born in 1910.  In 1921 they moved to Hickling.

A T Starbuck playing billiards for the village in 1923.  It is not known whether this was the older or the younger Thomas but there are no other known T Starbucks in Hickling at the time.  In 1927 Tom Starbuck was elected to share the offices of secretary and treasurer of the cricket club with Tom Munks.  Again this may have been either Thomas Starbuck. In 1938 a Tom Starbuck became secretary and treasurer of the Men’s Institute.

Thomas Cecil Starbuck (courtesy of Bob Timms)
Thomas Cecil Starbuck (courtesy of Bob Timms)

On 1 June 1926 bricklayer Thomas Cecil married Dorothy Holland Soar.  She was a daughter of a lace manufacturer, one five sisters.  The oldest of these was Ethel, who had married a Harry Armstrong, and this couple had taken over the Plough at Hickling in 1924.  Harry died a few months later but Ethel stayed there, a very much respected landlady, until her death in 1956.  In 1928 another sister, Zoe, had a poultry farm on the Pastures.  In 1911 all five sisters had been living together in Sneinton and it is not yet known which of the three came first to Hickling, although it is quite likely that it was Ethel with her husband, coming to take up the opportunity offered by the vacancy of the inn.  Not surprisingly, before setting off for their honeymoon in Buxton, Thomas and Dorothy held their reception in The Plough.  They lived on the Pastures.  No indication has been found of them having any children.

April 1930 was an eventful month for the family.  On the 19th George William married widow Hattie Richards Bush of The Bungalow, Hickling Pastures, Thomas Cecil being best man and Hattie’s daughter Audrey being a bridesmaid.  George was a 23 year old farm labourer and she 44.  After a reception at her house the couple honeymooned in Blackpool.  George’s father Tom was at that stage described as a farm labourer, as was George.  Then two days later Frank Laurence, also a farm labourer, married Elsie Ruth Chaplin of Nether Broughton.  Their wedding was described as “quiet”, perhaps because just under two months later their first son, Gerald Morley, was born in Hickling.  In 1934 they had another son in the village, Laurence Chaplin.

When the register of civilians was drawn up in September 1939 the older Thomas and Eliza Jane were shown as being in Bottom Road, Upper Broughton, Thomas still being a farm labourer.  Thomas Cecil does not seem to be in the register so was most probably already in the military.  His wife Dorothy has not been found either.  George William and Hattie were living on the Fosseway and he was now a bricklayer, as his brother Thomas had been.  Frank Laurence and Elsie were living in the Basford district with their son Gerald, Frank working as a cowman.

Thomas Cecil was a Bombardier with the 24th Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery.  In January 1944 troops were landed behind German lines at Anzio but defences were well organised and a breakthrough was not achieved until May.  Thomas died here on 16 February, age 39, and is buried at the Anzio War Cemetery.  The instruction was given to inscribe “O valiant heart, tranquil you lie” on his headstone.  At this time his widow Dorothy was living in Carlton.  This was also where her widowed sister Helen (then Helen Timms) lived, so it may be that Dorothy had gone to live with her.  In Thomas’s memory his mother presented a banner to the Mothers’ Union, which is still kept behind the altar rail in the church.  She also kept fresh flowers on the church memorial tablet each week.  Thomas’ wife Dorothy died in 1970, her death being registered in the Bingham Registration district.

No evidence has been found of any children for George and Hattie, not surprisingly considering her age when they got married and the fact that her daughter Audrey was still only 13.  Hattie died in Nottingham in 1983, George having died nine years earlier.

Elsie died in 1964 in the Melton area, Frank in 1993 in Keyworth.  Their son George died in 1999 in the Rushcliffe registration district and Laurence in 2000 in the same district.

Although the older Thomas and Eliza Jane appear to have been living in Upper Broughton at the time of the 1939 register they were living in Hickling after that.  They lived in the southernmost of the pair of cottages behind Cobblestones.  Coincidentally, one of these cottages (it is not known which) is also said to have been the home of William Collyer, who died in the Great War.  In December 1953 Thomas and Eliza Jane celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary.  In May 1954 Thomas was carrying out his usual morning tasks in his yard when he collapsed and died, aged 73.  In February 1956 Eliza Jane died after a short illness.  She was described as a well-known resident.  She was cremated at Wilford Hill and then interred in her husband’s grave.  Her sister Ethel, the landlady of the Plough, died four months later after a fall at the inn.