Private Henry (Harry) Freeman

Born in London, England, Henry (Harry) Freeman emmigrated to Canada with his family in 1907, settling in Tweed, Ontario.

Harry enlisted in Tweed on January 5th 1917. He was underage but told the recruiting officer that if he wouldn't let him enlist, he would simply go somewhere else to join. While only 17 at the time of enlistment, his papers record him as being 18. Harry was anxious to follow his brother Private Jim Freeman in joining the forces going to France.

Harry was assigned to the 254th Battalion, but while in France was transferred to the 21st Battalion on September 2nd, 1917. Family stories (particularly those told by Harry's younger brother Bert, who is now 96 years old) recount that Harry was a sniper during the war.

Harry fought on the front lines from Septermber, 1917 to August 1918. His war ended on August 8th, 1918 during the 21st Battalion's attack on Amiens. Harry was gassed, as well as hit by shrapnel from a German shell causing wounds to both feet and legs. He was transferred to a battlefield hospital at Rouen, where several toes had to be amputated and shrapnel removed.

Harry returned to Canada and was discharged in Kingston on August 16, 1919. While he began work as a welder and married, the effects suffered from his gas attack continued to damage his health. He died on December 16th, 1926. Even though the war had been over for several years it was still claiming its victims. Harry was survived by his wife and two small children.

This account was contributed by Harry Freeman's great nephew Lance Hogle.

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