Monday, 23 April 2012

Sergeant Arthur Bruce Freeman, MM

Born on 19 September 1896 in St. Thomas, Ontario - son of Mrs. Martha Freeman, St. Thomas, Ontario - at the time of his enlistment in 1916: present address same as mother, trade as laundry hand, single, no current or previous military service, Methodist, height of 5 feet 2.75 inches, chest of 33.5 inches fully expanded, fair complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair.

Joined the 91st Battalion, CEF, in St. Thomas, Ontario, on 1 May 1916 (number 190301) - taken on the strength of the 38th Battalion, CEF, on 20 or 21 August 1916 - served as a Lewis gunner with the 38th Battalion - struck off the strength of the 38th Battalion on 16 June 1919.

Awarded the Military Medal - citation (from Paul Freeman's collection): "For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during operations on PASSCHENDAELE RIDGE from October 29th to November 2nd 1917. This man was in charge of a Lewis gun crew, which duty he performed with conspicuous courage and satisfaction. He remained on duty during almost the whole of this period himself. At all times notwithstanding heavy hostile fire, he kept his gun in action and his crew organised for attack. During the intense enemy barrage on the night of October 31st, his Platoon Officer gave him permission to withdraw from his section to a less exposed position, which he declined to take advantage of, pointing out that he desired to be in readiness for any counter attack that might [sic] and held this post, protected his gun from becoming mud clogged by reason of the earth being thrown all around the position by artillery fire, by lying himself along side it. Throughout he did more than his duty at all times." - unit recommendation dated 7 November 1917: "He performed his duties with conspicuous courage and satisfaction during the operations Oct. 29th to Nov. 2/17."

After returning from the war, Freeman raised nine children and was later the grandfather to twenty-seven grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. He worked as a letter carried for Canada Post from 1935 to 1961 when he retired. Freeman was active in the post-war 91st Battalion, CEF, and 38th Battalion, CEF, Associations and was a charter member of the Royal Canadian Legion's Branch No. 41 (Lord Elgin) in St. Thomas, Ontario.

(Many, many thanks to Sergeant Freeman's grandson, Paul Freeman, for the photograph and the additional personal information.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

His brother Robert was killed in 1918 and has an interactive Image posting "identity" file on Canada's unique Virtual War Memorial, hosted
by Veterans Affairs since c 2000.