Octavius Starling was conscripted into the army on 8th July 1916. He was 36 years old and working as a porter at the Lewes Workhouse at South Common, Chailey. His surviving papers in the WO 364 pension series at the National Archives indicate that his preferred choice of regiment was the RAMC as he had fifteen years’ experience of hospital work. Nonetheless, he was sent to the 14th Royal Sussex Regiment on 11th July, a reserve battalion established to feed the three South Down Battalions with replacement men. He was given the number 6369, later changed to G/6256.
Octavius was a married man and father of three children. His wife is noted as Delilah Starling whom he had married at Malling in
on 12th September 1914. His children are recorded as Gladys Mary
Gamblin (born 7th April 1907 in south Kent Wales),
Arthur Gamblin (born 14th July 1908, also in south ) and Anna May Starling, born
4th September 1915, presumably at Chailey.
Delilah was presumably a widow when she married Octavius (her name is
recorded as Delilah Gamblin) and Gladys and Arthur were her children from her
previous marriage. Wales
From the 14th Royal Sussex, Octavius was posted to the 3rd Battalion on 1st September and two months later sailed for
the 13th (South Down) Battalion on 13th November 1916. He remained overseas
until 9th March 1917 when he was posted back to the regimental depot. He was
discharged from the army on 3rd July 1917. No wounds are noted on his service
record but as the cause of discharge was being “no longer physically fit for
war service”, this must have been due to some kind of sickness. France
Octavius received the King’s Certificate on his discharge and in November 1920 was living at
123 Church Street, Eastbourne. He is not mentioned in Reverend Jellicoe’s
monthly roll call of serving parishioners in the Chailey parish magazine.
Medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.