Harry was born on Christmas Eve 1876 in Cambridge to parents David, a bootmaker and Ellen (Patten), the fourth of five children at the time of the 1881 census. Harry was aged four and the family lived at 17 Brandon Place, Cambridge. Sadly 4 years later David died, aged just 39. On the 1891 census Harry lived in a large household in Belgrave Road, Cambridge - he was one of six children from David but his mother had married again to John Shaw. He supported all six children plus Ellen had had a further three children with her new husband.
Harry joined the Navy on 7th July 1894 as a Boy 2nd Class, having left a local printing press. His file recorded him as 5’5” tall with light brown hair and blue eyes with a mark on his left arm and tattoos of a flower, clasped hands and a heart on his left forearm. Harry was aboard the dreadnought at the Battle of Jutland, being one of the longest serving ratings on the Vanguard when she exploded. He died aged 40 and had served with the Navy for 22 years, almost due his pension.
His service record follows:
HMS NORTHAMPTON - 07/04/1894 - 06/01/1895, rising to Boy 1st Class on 07/10/1894
HMS PEMBROKE I - 07/01/1895 - 23/05/1895, rising to Ordinary Seaman on 07/01/1895
HMS BLENHEIM - 24/05/1895 - 13/10/1896
HMS ACTIVE - 14/10/1896 - 29/05/1897, rising to Able Seaman on 01/04/1897
HMS PEMBROKE I - 30/05/1897 - 21/09/1897
HMS WILDFIRE - 22/09/1897 - 24/09/1898
HMS VERNON - 25/09/1898 - 21/12/1898
HMS PEMBROKE I - 22/12/1898 - 12/10/1899, spending 7 days in cells from 10/09/1899
HMS TAURANGA - 13/10/1899 - 23/04/1900
HMS RINGAROOMA - 24/04/1900 - 24/05/1900
HMS KATOOMBA - 25/05/1900 - 25/06/1900
HMS RINGAROOMA - 26/06/1900 - 07/12/1903, aboard during the 1901 census
HMS PEMBROKE I - 08/12/1903 - 03/06/1904
HMS VERNON - 04/06/1904 - 17/09/1904
HMS PEMBROKE I - 18/09/1904 - 30/06/1905
HMS PEMBROKE II - 01/07/1905 - 10/05/1907
HMS PEMBROKE I - 11/05/1907 - 07/06/1907
HMS ACTAEON - 08/06/1907 - 16/08/1907
HMS PEMBROKE I - 17/08/1907 - 31/10/1907
HMS BLENHEIM - 01/11/1907 - 04/10/1910, rising to Leading Seaman on 28/02/1910
HMS PEMBROKE I - 05/10/1910 - 08/11/1910
HMS BLANCHE - 09/11/1910 - 02/12/1910
HMS PEMBROKE I - 03/12/1910 - 09/12/1910
HMS ACTAEON - 10/12/1910 - 03/02/1911
HMS PEMBROKE I - 04/02/1911 - 09/12/1912, while attached to the shore base Harry travelled back to Cambridgeshire where he married Blanche Daisley at the beginning of 1911. The couple were recorded on the 1911 census boarding at 62 Gordon Road, Chatham.
HMS VANGUARD - 10/12/1912 - 09/07/1917
His war medals, the Star, Victory and British were claimed by his widow as was his pension. He is remembered locally on the Milton War Memorial along with his brother-in-law Alexander Daisley, the younger brother of Blanche. He was killed in similar tragic circumstances to Harry, as the ship he was on, HMS Princess Irene, also exploded while in Sheerness harbour on 27th May 1915.
He is also mentioned on the stone memorial in St Phillips Church, Mill Road, Cambridge; a stone tablet under a stained glass window in St Pauls in Cambridge. Lastly, he is also remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.
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England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 - Free BMD
1881, 1891, 1901 & 1911 England Census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 299
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 - Free BMD
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/9; Scan Number: 0049
UK, World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 116/0547/LAN-LAR
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 107
Press and News July 20th 1917