Edward Jerome Freeman signature

On this day in 1916, Edward ‘Teddy’ Jerome Freeman, a student, signed up in Belleville. He was born in Deseronto on May 1st, 1900 (he claimed 1897 when he enlisted), the son of John Freeman and Julia (née Meagher).

Freeman joined the 155th Battalion with the regimental number 636493. He was five feet eight inches tall, with a dark complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. His service record shows that he spent 13 days in hospital at Camp Barriefield in June 1916 with Erythema nodosum and that he arrived in England on the SS Northland on October 28th, 1916. He served with a variety of battalions in England, before being transferred to the 2nd Battalion in France on May 25th, 1917.

In January 1918 Edward was admitted to hospital with defective vision and diagnosed with short-sightedness. He was discharged four days later. On April 10th, 1918 he was appointed Lance Corporal.

In August Freeman’s right arm was wounded by a gunshot at the Battle of Amiens, in an attack which was described in his battalion’s war diary in the following way:

2nd Battalion war diary 9th August 1918

2nd Battalion war diary 9th August 1918, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

War Diary of the 2nd Canadian Inf. Battalion, Eastern Ontario Regiment. For the month of August, 1918.
IGNAUCOURT, BEAUFORT & ROUVROY 9/8/18 Transport and nucleus reached IGNAUCOURT between 2.00 and 3.30 A.M. and occupied various billets and standings vacated by the enemy. Orders were received at 4.00 A.M. for the Battalion to take up fresh assembly positions. For these, the Battalion moved off at 8.00 a.m. and later in the day leap-frogged and attacked BEAUFORT and ROUVROY-en-Santerre. The two villages were taken after stiff fighting. In the evening the Battalion was relieved by the 3rd Can. Bn., and on completion of relief, Battalion moved back to BEAUFORT and vicinity.

Freeman was treated at #16 General Hosptial at Le Treport and discharged on September 9th, 1918. On the same day he was promoted to the rank of corporal. Just over a month later, on October 21st, he was promoted sergeant.

Edward sailed home on the SS Olympic in April 1919 and was demobilized in Kingston on April 24th, a week before his 19th birthday (the age at which he could have legally been serving overseas). He married Raye Ripple on June 2nd, 1924 in Toronto, when he was working as a sales manager.