Engineer Commander Charles Edwin Hurst, RNR was was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire,11th December 1873, fourth son of Owston Hurst, a Cabinet Maker, and Mary Ann Hurst ( née Rhymes). He was educated at the Salisbury Rd Council School and then the Bootle Science and Art Classes, prior to beginning a five year apprenticeship as an engineer with the White Star Line on February 11th, 1889. He married Emily Maxwell Squires on April 6th 1899 St Leonard’s Parish Church, Bootle, Lancashire.
A young Charles Edwin Hurst (at far left of photograph)
On completing his apprenticeship he was appointed sixth engineer on the Teutonic. Three years later he had risen to the rank of fourth engineer, and joined the S.S. Germanic. He was still serving on the Germanic when she went down in New York Harbour, 13th February 1899 (the ship was later raised and determined to be worth saving was returned to Belfast for repairs). He served on several of the other chief liners of the White Star Line, returning to the Germanic when he was appointed chief engineer in July, 1904. He was on the Suevic in 1907 when she ran on rocks at Lizard Point, Cornwall but in the largest rescue of its kind, all passengers and crew were saved.
From Hurst’s personal photo album while on the R. M. S. Laurentic before the war
From Hurst’s Personal album
Party of Masqueraders, R. M. S. Laurentic 1914 (from Hurst’s photo album)
Charles Edwin Hurst was the chief engineer of the Laurentic when the war broke out and the ship was taken over by the Naval authorities. At this point he was appointed Engineer-Commander, R.N.R. He was commended for his watchful care and skillful handling of his department.
He had been on a visit to his family just before the ship sank after 22 months absence in the East, and only left home a day or so before the tragedy occurred. Most of his life was spent in Liverpool and the whole of his career had been with the White Star Line. He left a widow and seven children – the youngest only three years of age.
H. M. S. Laurentic Crew (Charles Edwin Hurst centre)
Charles Edwin Hurst is commemorated on the following memorials:-
St Leonward’s Church of England, Bottle
Liverpool Masonic Hall
Litherland Roll of Honour (1915)
General Register Office UK
British Newspaper Archive
Hurst family photograph archive