Rank: Stoker 1st Class 32221
Regiment: Royal Navy
HMS Fearless, which acted as a support ship to British submarines operating from Russia
Frederick Harner was born in Beer on 30 March 1890, the third son of George Harner, a blacksmith. He was younger brother of William. At the time of the 1911 census the family lived at 2 Rose Cottages, Clapps Lane, and Frederick’s occupation was given as boot repairer.
He joined the Royal Navy at Devonport (HMS Vivid) on 13 April 1916, as a Stoker 2nd Class. His RN record describes him as 5ft 7ins tall, with dark brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.
On 4 June 1916 he joined HMS Ajax, a King George V class battleship with a crew of 900. The ship, which was part of the Grand Fleet, had been in action at the battle of Jutland only days before. He left Ajax on 6 October 1916 and joined HMS Fearless at Scapa Flow. Fearless, on which he was to spend the remainder of his service, was a Boadicea-class cruiser with a crew of 405.
On 13 October, only a week after Frederick had joined Fearless, his ship was sent on a special mission to northern Russia, in company with three submarines (G2, G4 and G6). Based at Port Romanoff (later re-named Murmansk), Fearless acted as support ship to the three submarines as they carried out patrols in the White Sea. The little force remained in Russia for a month, before sailing to Kirkwall in the Orkneys, and then to Cromarty. After a short period based at Cromarty, Fearless moved to Scapa Flow in December 1916, and was based there until 15 July 1917.
On 1 February 1917 Frederick was promoted to Stoker 1st Class, and throughout his service his annual assessments described his ability as ‘superior’.
Frederick was discharged from the Royal Navy on 27 February 1919.
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