Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website lists George Marner as a Leading Stoker aged 28 years when he died in June 1916 aboard HMS Hampshire. The National Roll of the Great War has the same rank, date and place of death but also mentions that he joined the navy in 1913. Both refer to the address 11 All Saints Street, Landport.
Although the census records are slightly confusing it would seem that George was born in Widley, then in the Borough of Fareham, in 1888 or 89. His parents were William, an agricultural labourer, and Harriett, George being their eighth child. At the 1901 census George's family are largely absent from the records but George himself was staying with his uncle William Harfield at Fleet End, Warsash.
At the 1911 census there is only one George Marner of the right age with a connection to Portsmouth and he was an Able Seaman aboard HMS Dreadnought in Portsmouth Dockyard. If this is the right man then it runs counter to the information from the National Roll which says he did not enlist until 1913. There is no further information to clarify this matter.
Either way, at the outbreak of the war George was already in the navy and in 1916 was serving aboard HMS Hampshire. The ship took part in the Battle of Jutland on 31st May, 1916 and emerged safely to return to Scapa Flow. On the 5th June she was directed to carry Lord Kitchener on a diplomatic mission to Russia but at 8 o'clock in the evening in heavy seas she struck a mine laid by German submarine U-75 a few days earlier, and sank within 15 minutes. Only 12 men survived the sinking.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Leading Stoker George Marner (K/21178) RN, HMS Hampshire, died 05/06/1916, aged 28. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 16). Son of William and Harriet Marner, of 11, All Saints St., Landport, Portsmouth.
George Marner is also commemorated on the Cenotaph, as 'G.D. Marner'. He is listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War', Section X, p148.
It seems unlikely that anyone joining the navy in 1913 would attain the position of Leading Stoker by 1916 which puts a question mark against the National Roll entry. On the other hand, the George Marner of the 1911 census has a rank of Able Seaman which would make the leap to Leading Stoker equally improbable.
The reference to 11 All Saints Street is curious in that the 1911 census shows Harriett as a widow acting as housekeeper to John Spry, a widower of that address. In such cases the CWGC record would usually put the entry as "(the late) William and Harriett Marner" as the death records suggest that William died in 1897, probably at Widley. There is no evidence that George ever lived at All Saints Street.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014