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Robert Freer

Robert Henry Freer was born in the first quarter of 1873 at Brawby and his birth registered at Malton . He was the eldest son of John and Rachel (nee Ward) Freer who were married in the Pickering area in the first quarter of 1860.

In 1881 John and his family lived in Brawby where he worked as a shoemaker .

1881 census – resident in Brawby

FREER, John, Head, Married, M, 59, Shoemaker, Butterwick Yorkshire, ,

FREER, Rachel, Wife, Married, F, 49, , Butterwick Yorkshire, ,

SMITH, Emily, Daughter, Married, F, 19, Ag Labr Wife, Brawby Yorkshire, ,

SMITH, Florence M, Grand Daughter, Single, F, 0, , Brawby Yorkshire, ,

FREER, Sarah E, Daughter, Single, F, 18, , Brawby Yorkshire, ,

FREER, John, Son, Single, M, 12, , Brawby Yorkshire, ,

FREER, Thomas F, Son, Single, M, 10, Scholar, Brawby Yorkshire, ,

FREER, Robert H, Son, Single, M, 8, Scholar, Brawby Yorkshire, ,

FREER, George E, Son, Single, M, 6, Scholar, Brawby Yorkshire, ,

but by 1891 Robert had left home and it is possible that he was working at Muscoates for Mr and Mrs Brown.

1891 census - resident at Sunley Court, Muscoates

FREER, Robert, Servant, Single, M, 17, 1874, Farm Labourer, Ampleforth Yorkshire

He married Mary Ellen Monkman in Acklam on 13th July 1898, and they had a daughter Olive Marjorie in the first quarter of 1900

By 1901 Robert was working as a groom at Birdsall Kennels , possibly for the Middleton Hunt,

1901 census – resident at Birdsall Kennels
FREER, Robert, Head, Married, M, 28, Groom (Domestic), Brawby Yorkshire

FREER, Ellen, Wife, Married, F, 24, , Leavening Yorkshire

FREER, Olive, Daughter, , F, 1, , Birdsall Yorkshire

but by 1911 the family had left Yorkshire for Staffordshire where he was working as a stud groom.

1911 census – resident at Etwall , Staffordshire
FREER, Robert Henry, Head, Married, M, 35, Stud Groom, Yorks Brawby
FREER, Ellen, Wife, Married 12 years, F, 31, , Yorks Leavening
FREER, Olive Marjorie, Daughter, , F, 10, School, Yorks Birdsall

From Etwall, Robert made his way to Southampton where he enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment.  At some point he must have left them and transferred to the 5th (Service) Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment which formed part of the 11th (Northern ) Division.  Depending on when this happened he may have seen service at Gallipoli and in Egypt before service on the Somme.  By 7th June 1916 Divisional HQ had been set up at Flesselles. By 27 July, the Division had taken over part of the front in Third Army sector. The Division then took part in the following operations: The capture of the Wundt-Werk (Wonder Work), the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the Battle of Thiepval in 1916 and after a winter lull British attacks in the Ancre area began again in January 1917, in the course of which Robert was killed on 11th january 1917.

Robert is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and also on the memorials in Old Malton Priory and the Memorial Hall

Robert’s daughter, Olive married George F. T. Bosworth in the third quarter of 1924 in the the Burton on Trent area.