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Henry W Freeland


Henry William Freeland was born in 1860 in London.

Early Life

The family lived at 50 West Gate, Chichester, for a time and then moved to Wandsworth, in London. He was baptised on May 27, 1860 at St. Mary’s Church Balham, in Wandsworth London. Henry had an elder brother, Edwin, a younger brother Charles and two younger sisters Rosa and Alice. Henry’s father was a Railway Signalman.


Henry attended Chester College and left in 1882. By 1891 he was teaching in Hammersmith, London, and living with his wife Mary and son Gordon (aged 4) and daughter Hella (aged 4 months) at 15 Aldersley Road, in Hammersmith. In the 1911 Census, he had moved to 72 Mayfield Avenue, in West Ealing, Middlesex to continue his teaching career.

In 1912, Henry joined a Freemasons Lodge, Number 3624 Kensington Battalion Lodge which was a Lodge for servicemen in the forces. He was 52 years old at the time and his occupation is given as Sergeant.

Military Service

Henry enlisted into the Army on August 31, 1914. He served with the London Regiment, 13th Battalion. At the time of his discharge in August 1918, he had become a Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. His medical papers state that he was unfit for service due to an enlarged heart and associated cardiac problems. He had been admitted into hospital a month earlier. As a result, he was entitled to wear a silver war badge. This small silver badge is a pin designed to be worn on civilian clothes after early discharge from the army. It was first issued in 1916, when it was also retrospectively awarded to those already discharged since August 1914. The main purpose of the badge was to prevent men not in uniform and without apparent disability being thought of as shirkers - it was evidence of having presented for military service, if not necessarily serving for long. However, in Henry’s case he had served over four years until just before the end of the war.

Lest We Forget

Henry died of his heart condition a year later on July 19, 1919.

Post Mortem

In his will, Henry left his effects in the sum of £1156 to his widow Mary Ann with probate being shared between her and William Greatbatch, the Assistant Secretary of his Freemason Lodge. As Henry survived the war there is no Commonwealth War Graves Commission Certificate.

An anomaly: Records show Henry as a Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant (R.G.M.S) with the correct service number 490475 and giving his trade prior to entering the Army as a schoolmaster. The problem is that his age at discharge is recorded as 38, but clearly this is too young. The only explanation is that a simple mistake was made when writing the age - 38 instead of 58.