Reepham Remembers

Ron Luton-Brown from Reepham has recently been in touch about some of the research he’s undertaken into two local men who fell on the same date during Battle of Gaza.

The first is Frederick Eke who was born in the spring of 1896, one of the younger children of Edward and Emily Eke from Whitwell Street. He was just 20 when he died and a Private in the 1/5th Battalion Norfolks service number 240792.

He is commemorated on the Jerusalem War Memorial

The War Memorial in Jerusalem. Image from @CWGC

 

The other Reepham boy who fell in Gaza was Edwin ‘Ted’ Harden who was born in the January Quarter of 1897 to Edwin and Louisa Harden.  It is believed his father died in the Boer War and  that Luisa subsequently remarried. Ted was the middle of three sons and again just 20 at his death.

Edwin ‘Ted’ Harden

He too is commemorated on the Jerusalem War Memorial.

Sadly for Luisa is would appear that her second husband, Jesse Hall, also died during World War One.

Reepham Church exterior from @PictureNorfolk

Both Ted and Frederick will be remembered in Reepham on 19th April – exactly 100 years after their deaths.  They will be prominently featured in the church Memorial Book and this can be viewed in chancel of St Michael’s which is open every day.

Interior of St Michael’s Church Reepham from @PictureNorfolk

 

The Battles of Gaza are being commemorated in Norwich with an exhibition at the Forum. This is open daily until May 4th.

 

Donation to the collection

Following on from our recent plea for help in finding a photograph from WW1 we did some more research within our collections and while we didn’t find an image of Pte. Dagless we did find some newly digitised images of the Norfolk Regiment in Gaza.

These were donated to Picture Norfolk by the Freestone family and here the photographer’s family tell us more about him:

Frederick Freestone, 1894-1963

Freestone, Frederick Ernest, portrait in uniform

Freestone, Frederick Ernest, portrait in uniform

I was recently given some photographs that belonged to my grandfather, Frederick Freestone, which he had taken whilst serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps.  These photographs have been brought to life with comments he’d written on each one explaining where and when they were taken and, in some cases, his thoughts on how successful some of the battles were.

Frederick Freestone was born in 1894 to James and Anna-Maria Freestone.  His sister, Elsie, was born in 1900 and they grew up in a terraced house on Marlborough Road, Norwich.  Frederick worked for Boulton & Paul’s, constructing industrial greenhouses and as a plumber on the railways.  He was also a keen billiards player.

He joined the RAMC in 1915; the photographs suggest that some of his friends enlisted with him.

Freestone, Frederick Ernest, with ambulance group

Freestone, Frederick Ernest, with ambulance group

I can see from the comments on the photographs that he served in Gallipoli, Palestine, Gaza and finally in Cairo.  After the war he signed up for the Territorials and served in Ireland in 1923, again in the RAMC, but as a corporal.

Freestone, Frederick, inside an Eqyptian Bazaar during the First World War

Freestone, Frederick, inside an Egyptian Bazaar during the First World War

He was married on 29th March 1924 at St. James Church, Norwich to Grace Mabel Elizabeth Woods.  They initially lived at 7 Palace Plain, Norwich. They had 4 sons, Dennis, Russell, Bertram and, my father, Leonard.  Unfortunately Bertram only survived a few weeks.  After the birth of my father in 1931 the family moved to 10 Arnold Miller Close, Lakenham, where they lived until Frederick died in 1963, aged 69.

The only recollection I have of my grandfather is him visiting us in Thorpe on a scooter.  After my grandfather passed away my father replanted one of his roses in our garden in Thorpe, several years ago this same rose was replanted in my garden and is flourishing still.

Whilst I have few first hand memories of my grandfather, it has been lovely to be able to piece together something of his life and see the contribution he made during the WW1.  I am sure it must have been quite horrifying at Gallipoli and Gaza as I have read of the casualties suffered during these battles by the Norfolk Regiment.

In this centenary year I am thankful for the bravery of my grandfather and all others who fought for King and Country, we will remember them.

Michael Freestone

More of Frederick’s photos can be found on the Picture Norfolk website using the search term “Freestone.” There are also many other WW1 images in this collection including over 1000 soldier portraits.

Please do contact us if you have a WW1 story to share.

Peace and War: Norfolk 1900-1914. An Illustrated Talk

Peace and War: Norfolk 1900-1914

6 – 7.30pm. Monday 4th August 2014.

A free illustrated talk by historian Neil Storey

The Curve at the Forum

forum ww1 logo

Norfolk based social and military historian Neil Storey will be giving an illustrated talk about life in Norfolk in the years leading up to the First World War and then the first few months of the conflict when there was still hope it would all be over by Christmas.

After the talk which will last about an hour there will be time for questions from the audience.

This is a free event but space is limited in The Curve at The Forum so please do reserve your place by calling 01603 774707 and leaving a message or by emailing Sarah on sarah.salmon@norfolk.gov.uk.  Tickets will also be available to collect from the Sound and Vision Desk at the Millennium Library from Wednesday 23rd July.

NS WW1

 

Neil Storey will also be in the Forum, Norwich as part of the daytime “August 4th: The Day We Went to War” event where he will be available to interpret family military photographs and memorabilia, something he has done at ‘Who do you think you are live’ at Olympia for the past four years.