A Good Distinguished Service Medal group to PO George James Harding R.N. who also served on HMS Agincourt at the Battle of Jutland, and served on the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert.
Geo VI D.S.M.J. 25179 G.J. Harding. P.O.R.N; 1914-15 Star, J. 25179 G.J. Harding. Ord. R.N.; British War Medal, J. 25179 G.J. Harding. L.S. . R.N.; Victory, Erased; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Italy Star; 1939-45 War Medal; 1935 Jubilee medal; 1937 Coronation medal; Geo V L.S.G.C., J. 25179 G.J. Harding. P.O. RGR H.M.Y. Victoria & Albert.
George James Harding was born on the 7th December 1897 in Brighton, Sussex. and is a Page Boy when he enlisted in the Royal Navy.
D.S.M London Gazette 1st January 1943; page 25. At which time he was serving on HMS Southern Price, which was undertaking Minelaying Operations.
His papers show service from 1913, joining Agincourt in August 1914 where he served until March 1919. Agincourt was present at the Battle of Jutland.
HMS Agincourt Service during WW1:
Agincourt was working up until 7 September 1914, when she joined the 4th Battle Squadron (BS) of the Grand Fleet. The fleet anchorage at Scapa Flow was not yet secure against submarine attack and much of the fleet was kept at sea, where Agincourt spent forty of her first eighty days with the Grand Fleet. This was the beginning of “a year and a half of inaction, only broken by occasional North Sea ‘sweeps’ intended to draw the enemy from his bases.”
On 1 January 1915, Agincourt was still assigned to the 4th BS, but had been assigned to the 1st Battle Squadron before the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. She was the last ship of the Sixth Division of the 1st BS, along with Hercules, Revenge and the flagship, Marlborough, the most heterogeneous group possible as each ship was from a different class. The Sixth Division was the starboardmost column of the Grand Fleet as it headed south to rendezvous with the ships of Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet, then engaged with their opposite numbers from the German High Seas Fleet in the North Sea. Admiral Jellicoe, commander of the Grand Fleet, kept it in cruising formation until 18:15. when he ordered it to deploy from column into a single line based on the port division, each ship turning 90° in succession. This turn made the Sixth Division the closest ships in the Grand Fleet to the battleships of the High Seas Fleet, and they fired on each ship as they made their turn to port. This concentration of fire later became known as “Windy Corner” to the British, as the ships were drenched by German shell splashes although none were hit.
At 18:24, Agincourt opened fire on a German battlecruiser with her main guns. Shortly afterwards her six-inch guns followed suit as German destroyers made torpedo attacks on the British battleships to cover the turn to the south of the High Seas Fleet. Agincourt successfully evaded two torpedoes, although another struck Marlborough. Visibility cleared around 19:15, and she engaged a Kaiser-class battleship without result before it was lost in the smoke and haze. Around 20:00, Marlborough was forced to reduce speed because of the strain on her bulkheads from her torpedo damage and her division mates conformed to her speed. In the reduced visibility the division lost sight of the Grand Fleet during the night, passing the badly damaged battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz without opening fire. Dawn found them with only the detritus from the previous day’s battle in sight and the division arrived back at Scapa Flow on 2 June. Agincourt fired 144 twelve-inch shells and 111 six-inch shells during the battle, although she is not known to have hit anything.
Although the Grand Fleet made several sorties over the next few years it is not known if Agincourt participated in them. On 23 April 1918, Agincourt and Hercules were stationed at Scapa Flow to provide cover for the Scandinavian convoys between Norway and Britain when the High Seas Fleet sortied in an attempt to destroy the convoy. The reports from German Intelligence were slightly off schedule, as both the inbound and outbound convoys were in port when the Germans reached their normal route, so Admiral Scheer ordered the fleet to return to Germany without spotting any British ships.
Agincourt was later transferred to the 2nd Battle Squadron and was present at the surrender of the High Seas Fleet on 21 November 1918. She was placed in reserve at Rosyth in March 1919.
He later in 1919 transferred to H.M.Y. Victorian and Albert where he saw various periods of service up to 1938, between various periods on shore bases..
AT the start of WW2 he was serving at the shore base Victory,, then collingwood , but ends up on Southern Prince, which at the time was undertaking Minelaying Operations.
HMS Southern Prince during WW2:
She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for conversion to the auxiliary minelayer HMS Southern Prince. She joined the 1st Minelaying Squadron based at Kyle of Lochalsh (port ZA) laying mines for the World War II Northern Barrage. She was the largest of five ships requisitioned for this minelaying operation. She was torpedoed by German submarine U-652 shortly after midnight on 26 August 1941 while returning from laying minefield SN-70A; but was escorted to Belfast for repair. After minelaying was completed in October 1943, she became the flagship of Rear Admiral Rivett-Carnac for Operation Neptune; and anchored off Juno Beach on 8 June 1944. She was used as an accommodation ship from October 1944 until returned to the Prince Line in 1946.
On the 29th June 1942 Southern Prince took part in a decoy operation Force X, a decoy for convoy PQ17.
Chief Petty Officer from 26 May 1943 on HMS Hanibal a shore base in Algiers.
Worthy of more in-depth research in to the actions for which he received the DSM.
Medals court mounted with wearing pin. WW1 trio heavy polished, and note Victory medal is erased. others NVF