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Harry Parker (1884-1916)

Hebburn dynamo attendant served in the Royal Navy on HMS Queen Mary at the Battle of Jutland

Harry Parker was born on 3 January 1884. His father was Henry “Harry” Parker (1849-1908) who was originally from Broomfield, Somerset. At various times Harry senior worked as a seaman, a contractor and a licensed victualler as he moved his family from Hebburn to Stockton-on-Tees via Middlesbrough. His mother was Margaret Parker (1846-1906) from Scotland. Robert was the youngest child of four and had two sisters and a brother.

In the early 1880s Harry’s family lived in Price Street, Hebburn. They had moved to 179 Linthorpe Road by the time of the 1891 census and were living in 4 John Street, Stockton-on-Tees at the 1901 census. At this time Harry junior was an ironmonger’s apprentice.

Harry joined the Royal Navy on 18 June 1908 at the age of 24. He planned to serve five years full-time followed by seven years in the Royal Fleet Reserve (RFR). His civilian occupation when he joined was noted as a dynamo attendant. He was rated stoker 2nd class and given the service number SS107255. He served on HMS Britannia a pre-dreadnought battleship in 1909 and 1910. He was given 14 days in the cells from 18 August 1909 but no reason for this is recorded. This did not stop him becoming stoker 1st class on 19 March 1910.

Harry was onboard Torpedo Boat No26 in Portsmouth, Hampshire at the time of the 1911 census. He then served on HMS Hecla, HMS Topaze II and HMS Minerva II until he completed his initial five years service on 14 June 1913. From this date Harry transferred to the RFR with service number PO/B/6113. He was recalled to service at HMS Victory II on 2 August 1914 on the outbreak of war. He was given 28 days detention for absence from 2 November 1914.

On 15 May 1915 Harry was posted to HMS Queen Mary a newly built battlecruiser. In January 1916 Harry married Mary Elizabeth Gertude Parker nee Garvey in Sunderland before returning to his ship. HMS Queen Mary put to sea on 31 May 1916 to take part in the Battle of Jutland. She came under fire and one shell hit and detonated one or both of the forward magazines which broke the ship in two near the foremast. A further explosion, possibly from shells breaking loose, shook the aft end of the ship as it began to roll over and sink. A total of 1,266 crewmen including Harry were lost in the sinking.

Harry’s body was not recovered for burial. He is honoured on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial

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

Civil Parish: Hebburn

Birth date: 03-Jan-1884

Death date: 31-May-1916

Armed force/civilian: Navy

Residence: 179 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough (1891census)
4 John Street, Stockton-on-Tees (1901census)
Torpedo Boat No 26, Portsmouth, Hampshire (1911 census)

Employment: Dynamo attendant (1908 Royal Navy service record)

Family: Parents: Henry “Harry” Parker (1849-1908), Margaret Parker (1846-1906)
Siblings: Clara Parker (1871), Frederick Parker (1873), Margaret “Maggy” Parker 1878

Military service:

Stoker 1st class
Royal Navy, 18 June 1908 to 16 June 1913
Stoker 1st class
Royal Fleet Reserve
HMS Victory II, 2 August 1914 to 14 May 1915
HMS Queen Mary, 15 May 1915 to 31 May 1916

Medal(s): Star
Victory Medal
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Gender: Male

Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham