Wartime memories with mixed emotions

BORN at the start of the Second World War, Trevor Redman can look back with pride on a family which served with valour in the First.

Indeed, two of his uncles made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, says Trevor, who lives in Petworth.

“My grandmother Rose Mary Grainger (nee Freeman) was the eldest child of Richard and Fanny Freeman of 52, Oving Road, Chichester recalls.”

She died in 1945; her husband, Trevor’s grandfather, died in 1954. She had five brothers, two of whom were killed in the war.

Albert John Freeman, born 1895, was killed on HMS Bulwark when she exploded at Sheerness on November 26 1914. He was nineteen.

Of the more than 700 men who lost their lives that day, he was one of 21 who have marked graves in the Naval section of Woodlands Cemetery at Gillingham in Kent.

His younger brother, William Arthur Freeman, born 1894, also perished in the conflict.

William, who had joined the Royal Navy as a boy seaman, was killed on June 5 1916 on HMS Hampshire, when she was sunk with Lord Kitchener aboard. He was 22.

Brothers Albert and William both appear on the war memorial in Litten Gardens in Chichester as well as the Naval Memorial on Southsea Common, Trevor is proud to say.

Another brother also served - and happily survived.

Thomas Richard Freeman, born 1874, was the eldest son of Richard and Fanny. He joined the army in 1890 and was posted to the North West Frontier in India, serving 21 years, mostly in the Royal Sussex Regiment.

Having been demobbed in 1911, he rejoined in 1914 and served throughout the war, for some time on the Western Front, where due to his age he was on grave duties. He left at the end of the war and lived in Chichester until his death in 1952.

“I think it is possible that another brother, Wilfrid Charles Freeman, born 1889 also served as there is a photograph of a soldier in what is either Australian or New Zealand uniform with William Freeman in naval uniform and he is clearly related because of the likeness.

“In addition to these, my uncle Percy Arthur Grainger, born 1895 in Chichester, eldest son of Arthur James and Rose Mary Grainger of 1, Franklin Place, served on the Western Front as a Private in the London Rifle Brigade.

“He was wounded but recovered and later returned to France.

“My father, Edward Frank Redman, born at 10, Market Road in 1899, son of Frank Redman a tailor and Elizabeth Clara, joined the Royal Naval Air Service in August 1917 and qualified as a pilot in December of that year.

“On April 1 1918 he transferred when the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps combined to form the Royal Air Force.

“Amongst a variety of aeroplanes he flew a Sopwith Camel. He must have been amongst the first sons of Chichester to become a pilot.”