Mr Harry Yearsley

Harry Yearsley

Mr Harry Yearsley was born at Chantry Street in Andover, Hampshire, England on 3 December 1871, later being baptised on Valentine's Day (14 February) the following year.

He was the son of Henry Yearsley (1848-1904), a grocer's assistant, and Emily Chambers (1847-1923). His father was from Dorchester, Dorset and his mother from Andover and they had married in Middlesex in 1868 and went on to have seven children: Flora (b. 1868), Edwin John (b. 1870), Eva (b. 1874), Alfred James (b. 1875), Alice (b. 1877), Emily Jane (b. 1880) and Harry.

Harry first appears on the 1881 census with his family at 47 East Street in Andover; his father was by then described as a retired grocer. The family had relocated to Southampton by the time of the 1891 census and were living in Holy Rood House when Harry was described as a waiter.

When Harry first went to sea is not certain; he was married in Holy Rood, Southampton on 9 July 1898 to Andover-native Flora Anne Louise Fielder (b. 1876), daughter of police constable Benjamin Fielder and Ann, née Willis. By then he was described as a steward.

The couple went on to have eight children (as of 1912), with seven surviving infancy: Doris Eveline (1900-1992), Flora Winifred (1901-1985), Gladys Amy (1903-1977), Ernest Benjamin (1906-1964), Irene Annie (1908-1994), Edwin John (1909-1942) and Sidney Herbert (1911-1983).

The family appear on the 1901 census living at 17 Clifford Street Court, Southampton. By the following year they had moved to 6 Gloucester Passage, Southampton, an address that Harry would live at for the rest of his life: they appear there on both the 1902 street directory and 1911 census; Harry was absent, from the latter record and apparently at sea. He appears on several crew records through 1907, serving as a steward aboard the Majestic and stating his address as 6 Gloucester Passage.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 6 Gloucester Passage, Southampton. His last ship had been the Olympic and as a saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

Yearsley is believed to have been rescued in lifeboat 9. He was not required to testify at either the British or American Inquiries into the sinking.    

He returned to Southampton and remained at 6 Gloucester Passage for the rest of his life. He continued to work at sea and following the outbreak of WWI was quick to volunteer for service and was posted to the SS Braemar Castle on which he served for several voyages in the Mediterranean and was aboard when that ship was mined in the Aegean in November 1916. Fortunately, Harry again escaped with his life. He was discharged in 1917 and was awarded the General Service and Mercantile Marine War Medals.

In 1921 Harry and his wife Flora had another daughter, Alma. 

Harry was widowed in 1923; he rallied on until 18 November 1939 when he passed away from pneumonia. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Hollybrook Cemetery in Shirley, Southampton.

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Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth
Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage
National Roll of the Great War, 1914-1918
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2019) Harry Yearsley Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #2206, updated 16th September 2019 21:09:01 PM)