BARKER, Harold Studholme
|Rank:||Commander (Rtd)||Service Number:||NZ127003|
|Date Joined:||15 Sept 1906 (Royal Navy): 26 Nov 1940 (NZ Division)||Date Discharged:||13 Nov (Royal Navy): 13 April 1945 (RNZN)|
Harold Studholme Barker came from two well-known pioneer Canterbury families, born in 1893 to John Mathias Barker and Emily Studholme. He was cousin to Captain Alexander David Boyle and, like him, was sent to England to join the Royal Navy as a “colonial cadet”. In Barker’s case, he signed up just days before his 13th birthday.
After completing his training and passing out as a Midshipman in 1911, Barker briefly served in HMS BRITANNIA (part of the British Home Fleet). He was then posted to HMS DRAKE, flagship of the Australian Station, in December 1911. When responsibility for the Australian Station passed to the Royal Australian Navy in 1913, Barker returned to the UK to serve in HMS DREADNOUGHT.
Barker served entirely in British waters during the First World War. He was posted to HMS FORWARD based at the Humber estuary on the East coast of Northern England, and then to the destroyer HMS METEOR in July 1915. METEOR was part of the Harwich Force which was on standby for the Battle of Jutland, although they did not take part. From late 1916 until the end of the war, Barker served in the battleship HMS WARSPITE based at Scapa Flow.
Barker returned to New Zealand aboard HMS Chatham in 1921 but was invalided out of the Navy with poor eyesight in 1923 with the rank of Lieutenant. In 1924 he married Shirley L’Estrange Nolan with whom he had one daughter.
Upon his return to New Zealand in 1921, Barker had opened the General Trading Company in Central Christchurch. The shop became a private company in 1927 and he continued as company director until the time of the Second World War,
At that time, as a Commander on the RN retired list, he offered his services to the Navy Office, Wellington, and was appointed as Intelligence Officer in 1940 aged 47. He was later made Director of Naval Intelligence and served until 1945.
Described during his naval service as a reserved and quiet man, he was a keen and talented sportsman in his younger years. Harold Barker passed away in Christchurch on 20 September 1955 aged 62.
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