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Ernest Hastie (1897-1916)

Railway greaser from Darlington served in the Royal Navy at the Battle of Jutland

Ernest Hastie was born on 29 July 1897 in Darlington. He was the fourth son in a family of five boys. His father was John Allison Hastie (1865-1948) a steam engine driver from Sunderland. His mother was Elizabeth Hastie nee Vitty (1868-1948) a wood turner’s daughter from Richmond, Yorkshire. Ernest and his family lived at 27 Easson Road, Darlington at the time of both the 1901 and 1911 censuses.

Ernest joined the Royal Navy as a boy 2nd class at the age of 17 years. His civilian occupation before joining is recorded as a railway greaser. He spent his first four months at the seamanship training establishment HMS Vivid I at Devonport. He was appointed boy 1st class on 30 July 1915 the day after his 18th birthday when he was signed on for the duration of hostilities. He was promoted to ordinary seaman one day later on 31 July 1915.

On completion of his initial training Ernest joined the crew of HMS Defence on 31 August 1915. Defence was a minotaur class armoured cruiser that served in the Mediterranean station before being transferred to the Grand Fleet. She was participating in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 when two salvoes hit her rear magazine. This led to a fire that detonated her secondary magazines causing an explosion that led to the total loss of her crew of 903 men.

Ernest’s body was not recovered for burial. He is honoured on the Plymouth Naval Memorial and locally at the War Memorial Hospital 1914-18, Darlington.

Ernest Hastie was awarded the Star, Victory Medal and British War Medal for his service in World War One.

Civil Parish: Darlington

Birth date: 29-Jul-1897

Death date: 31-May-1916

Armed force/civilian: Navy

Residence: 27 Easson Road, Darlington (1901 and 1911 census)

Employment: Greaser railway (1915 Royal Navy service record)

Family: Parents: John Allison Hastie (1865-1948), Elizabeth Hastie nee Vitty (1868-1948)
Siblings: William Hastie (1890), George Hastie (1892), Wilfred Percy Hastie(1894), Sydney Allison Hastie (1906)

Military service:

Boy 2nd class, 23 April 1915
Boy 1st class, 30 July 1915
Ordinary Seaman, 31 July 1915
HMS Vivid I, 23 April 1915 - 30 August 1915
HMS Defence, 31 August 1915 to 31 May 1916

Medal(s): Star
Victory Medal
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Plymouth Naval Memorial
War Memorial Hospital 1914-18, Darlington

Gender: Male

Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham