242272 Pte Charles Percival FREEMAN M.M. 1/5th York and Lancaster Regiment
Charles Percival FREEMAN was born 1891 at Scarborough. The census shows us that he lived at Oxford Street, Scarborough with his parents William and Mary FREEMAN. He had 1 brother and 3 sisters and was employed as a carriage cleaner.
Charles attested aged 24yrs at Newcastle on 15th November 1915 and is embodied on 14th May 1916 when he is placed in a reserve battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers but is soon transferred to the ranks of the 1/5th York and Lancaster Regiment.
By this time he has married Patience ATKINSON at St James Church Scarborough and is living at 3 Barry Cottages, Seamer, Scarborough. His dad has passed away.
Private Charles FREEMAN entered France on 29th August 1916.
In August of 1917 the 1/5th York and Lancaster regiment were involved in operations around Ypre, specifically along the Yser canal at Nieuport. The battalion war diary describes the events on 17th July 1917 to 26th July 1917 when the Germans attacked trenches in the Nieuport area attempting to disrupt British preparations for an attack of their own. It was here that Charles was to be involved in actions that were to see him recognised for bravery. The Germans subjected the British lines to constant bombardment with gas shells and infantry assaults raiding the trenches. Many casualties were received but the British held their lines at great cost, many casualties resulting from gas.
The diary specifically mention Charles on the 29th August 1917.
‘ 242272 Pte Freeman awarded MM for gallantry in Nieuport trenches ‘
The award of the Military Medal would appear in the London Gazette on 28th September 1917.
In April 1918 the 1/5th York Lancs were now in France and preparing for a major assault to take place between 10th April and 19th April 1918. The battalion advanced to Neuve Eglise and De Seule and on the 17th – 18th were ordered to take Locre Chateau. This was an area well protected by enemy machine gun but never the less the York and Lancs advanced on the position taking heavy casualties but succeeding. The war diary gives and estimate of 40% casualties being taken. It was here that Charles was shot in the face receiving what are described as severe wounds. He was evacuated back to England and discharged later unfit for further active service and was awarded the Silver War Badge number B31560.