Private Richard Freeman, 40092

  • Batt - 9
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Section -
  • Date of Birth -
  • Died - 03/05/1917
  • Age - 25

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Source: Michael Doyle Their Name Liveth For Evermore: The Great War Roll of Honour for Leicestershire and Rutland.
He was the son of Eliza Freeman of Hermitage Road, Coalville, Leics., and the husband of Lily Freer (formerly Freeman) of 3, Church Side, Shepshed, Leics. The War Diary entry for the 3rd May 1917 records. HINDENBURG LINE. At 5.15am Battalion in position. At 3.45am Battalion moved forward to attack. Heavy enemy barrage opened simultaneously with our own barrage immediately in front of BROWN LINE. Machine gun fire opened at once from right and left flanks and from U.2.a.1.6. Heavy casualties were suffered from enemy barrage Captain F. P. COX killed and 2nd Lt. KING wounded. At 4.00am the attacking troops on the left flank of the Battalion came across Battalion front forcing our troops to the right. A tank advanced down WOOD TRENCH but was forced to return owing to machine gun fire. 2nd Lt. -?-, 2nd Lt. GROOCOCK, Lt. LEAKE, 2nd Lt. BOYD and 2nd Lt. WILLET wounded. At 4.15am the attack was held up on front of FONTAINE trench (running through U.1.b and U.2.a.). At 5.00am The situation obscure. Runners sent forward with messages to Companies but none returned. At 7.00am Lt. WALKER sent forward with 5 other ranks and a Lewis gun to work down WOOD TRENCH (see attached map). Lt PLANT killed and 2nd Lt. CHOYCE wounded. At 7.40am Report received from Lt. WALKER that enemy were holding sunken road in front of FONTAINE WOOD and village in strength. Our men holding a line of shell holes about 50 yards in front of road. Telephone communication was established and Lt WALKER remained in WOOD TRENCH until night of the 3rd/4th May sending much valuable information. At 8.45am Message received from Captain MILBURN that he was holding a trench with 1 officer and 30 other ranks with enemy on both flanks and in front. He was unable to identify his position and could see no troops on either flank. At 11.40am Reports received from Liaison officer with Battalion on our left that Brigade on left had withdrawn. Communication with Brigade HQ extremely difficult wires being continually cut. At 12.00 noon Report received from Brigade HQ that the attack of the 64th Brigade on the right on the HINDENBURG LINE had made no progress. Continual machine gun fire and sniping made communications by runner impossible. At 5.30pm Message received from Lt. SCOTT (Officer Commanding “A” Company) via runner L/Cpl. Lattet, this runner had been 4 hours getting to the HQ as he had to run from shell hole to shell hole owing to enemy fire. Message stated that Lt. SCOTT was at U.2.a.1.6. with 2 other officers and 20 other ranks. Enemy were observed bombing down FONTAINE TRENCH and had commenced working round the flanks of this party. At 7.30pm Enemy opened a heavy bombardment of BROWN LINE and appeared to be counter attacking. All troops of 6th, 7th and 8th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT in BROWN LINE and trenches in rear were assembled to counter attack the enemy. Ration carrying parties were brought up and ‘stood to’ in support trench 40 yards in rear of BROWN LINE. At 8.00pm Enemy barrage still continued on BROWN LINE. Lewis gun posts were pushed forward from BROWN LINE. At 8.45pm Enemy barrage weakened considerably and ceased about 9.15pm. At 12.00 midnight Orders received that 13th NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS would take over the BROWN LINE held by the Brigade and that all advance posts of the 110th Infantry Brigade were to be withdrawn.

Source: Leicestershire War Memorials Project.
Coalville Times article - Friday December 20th, 1918


Private Herbert Freeman, aged 22, of the Leicesters, is reported to have been killed in action in France on October 11th, and Private Richard Freeman, Leicesters, reported missing on May 3rd, 1917, is now presumed killed. They were the sons of Mrs Freeman, of 92, Hermitage Road, Whitwick, who has two other sons who have been badly wounded.

Coalville Times article - Friday May 21st, 1920



A beautiful stained-glass window has been placed in St. Andrew’s Church, Thringstone, in memory of men from the parish who fell in the war, together with a brass tablet bearing all the names, and the unveiling was performed by Col. T. Booth at a special service last Sunday afternoon, when there was a crowded congregation, which included many relatives of the deceased soldiers.

The service was impressively conducted by the Vicar (the Rev. C. Shrewsbury) and opened with the singing of the hymn, “There is a Land of pure Delight.” Other hymns sung were, “O God our help in ages past,” “The Saints of God,” and “For all the Saints,” also the psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

The window, which faces the church entrance, depicts St. Alban, the first British martyr to die for the Christian faith, and inscribed, “Christ’s faithful soldier and servant unto his life’s end.”

The tablet by the side of the window bears the inscription, “To the greater glory of God, and in memory of the following who from this parish and congregation have given their lives for their country in the great war 1914 – 1919, this window is dedicated by the congregation and parishioners of St. Andrew’s.”

Here are 27 names, as follows:

Pte. T. Jones, Durham Light Infantry.
Pte. E. Hall, Leicestershire
Corp’l W. E. Moore, R.G.A.
Pte. I. Hall, Leicestershire
Pte. E. Howe, Leicestershire
Sapper E. Robinson, Royal Engineers
Pte. L. Whitmore, Leicestershire
Pte. T. Squires, Leicestershire
Pte. M. Grainger, Leicestershire
Pte. F. B. Bowler, Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Pte. R. Freeman, Leicestershire
Sapper H. Briers, Royal Engineers
A. J. Turner, telegraphist, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Pte. J. Squires, Leicestershire
Pte. L. Haywood, Scottish Rifles
Corp’l W. Sykes, Leicestershire
Pte. T. Bailey, Royal Scots
Corp’l J. Bancroft, Leicestershire
Rfn. G. W. W. Howe, Rifle Brigade
Pte. J. Gee, York and Lancaster
2nd Lieut. T. F. McCarthy, Loyal North Lancashire
Pte. S. R. Dring, Leicestershire
J. T. Fortnam, Able Seaman, Royal Naval Division
L.-Corp’l A. Griffin, Sherwood Foresters
Pte. J. Morley, Suffolk
Pte. H. Freeman, Leicestershire
Pte. H. Lakin, Leicestershire

At the foot appear the words: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Having unveiled the memorial, Col. Booth proceeded to the other end of the church and from the chancel steps addressed the congregation as follows:

“My friends, I have been entrusted with the very solemn, but to me, the very proud duty, of coming here to address you, the members of this congregation on the subject of the memorial, that beautiful brass tablet which I have just had the honour to unveil, and I can assure you all that I am fully alive to the responsibility which that has involved upon me, and I am also very appreciative of the honour which it has imposed upon me. I am sure that as you heard those names read out, you could not fail to have been impressed, as I was, with the fact that these precious lives came from every class and from all ranks. What you may not have realised altogether is the width and scope of their sacrifice. I will try to explain what I mean. Reading out those names, I first find mention of men who went out at the start, in 1914, to help to stem the first wild onslaught of the Germans before we were ready; when everything was unprepared. Think of that. Then we pass on to other names of men who gave their lives in 1915, in those dull days in the trenches, when everything seemed dark, and when we appeared to be hammering our heads against a stone wall. Then I find more names in 1916, men who died in the great Battle of the Somme, which lasted for many weeks, but in which their services were rewarded by the first ray of hope which seemed to come to the nation. Then more names I find in 1917, men who took part in those hammering blows which we may regard as the period during which the war reached its height, when the storm seemed to be at its worst. Then in those terrible days in the early spring of 1918, I find more names, when the nation strained well-nigh to breaking point in her brave endeavour to stave off the last despairing effort of the Germans to overwhelm us on the soil of France. Lastly, and to me the most pathetic of all, are some few names of men who fell just as the dawn was breaking, a few days before the Armistice. Well, I have given a brief account of how those names covered that scope I spoke of at first. What then do we owe these men? I do not know whether you, or I, or anybody can yet appreciate the magnitude of that debt, but certain it is, we can never repay. What are we to do then – what must we do? Well, I think we must see to it that these men are never forgotten; that their names are never forgotten. This beautiful brass tablet and memorial window are the proof we intend to give that they shall not be forgotten. I think we must do more than this; we must see that we explain to the new generation that is coming on – explain to them what this tablet means; show them the names, and as they get older and more able to understand, explain to them what it stands for, what we really owe to these men; that we owe to them the peaceful possession of our houses, the freedom of the countryside to-day, the honour of our women and the safety of our little children. I think that is the duty for us in the future, and they will carry it on long after we are no more. Then, finally, I want to say a word to the members of this congregation who are relatives of the fallen. I know that nothing I can say is any real comfort; nothing that anybody can say is of any real comfort; but it may afford you some consolation to know that we, your fellow countrymen, are determined that the names of those beloved ones are not forgotten, and that brass tablet and window stand for all time as a witness to the noble and unselfish example of those brave souls, and I hope when you leave this church after this beautiful service, that you will feel as I do, and as all this congregation do I am sure, that their sacrifice has not been in vain.”

After the Benediction, the service closed with the singing of the National Anthem.

Research undertaken and submitted by Andy Murby 12/7/2018

Leicestershire Project Findings
  • Conflict - World War I
  • Cause of death - KILLED IN ACTION
  • Other Memorials - Coalville War Memorial Clock Tower
Research from Michael Doyle's Their Name Liveth For Evermore
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Cause of death - KILLED IN ACTION
  • Burial Commemoration - Arras Mem., Pas De Calais, France
  • Born - Thringstone, Leics
  • Enlisted - Shepshed, Leics

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