James Edmund Freed



Oct 29, 1877

Born in Beamsville, Ontario to William J. and Rebecca Jane (nee Zimmerman) Freed


Apr 20, 1916

Attested into the 168th Battalion in Tillsonburg 

Ø      Number 675917

Ø      Next of kin given as Edith Evelyn Freed, wife, Tillsonburg, Ontario

o       There is a note in his file to also notify Mr. William Freed, father, at R.R. #3, Port Rowan, Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Farm Labourer and Confectionary Baker

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Baptist


Jun 1, 1916

The 168th Battalion moved to London Ontario for further training.  From here, they proceeded to Camp Borden for more training.


Jul 8, 1916

Admitted to the London Hospital with a diagnosis that reads Varicocele (a swelling in the scrotum)


Jul 10, 1916

Surgery performed to treat the problem


Aug 1, 1916

Discharged to duty from the hospital


Oct 30, 1916

Embarked the SS Lapland at Halifax Nova Scotia


Nov 11, 1916

Disembarked at Liverpool England and proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe Kent to continue training


Dec 5, 1916

The 168th Battalion was absorbed into the 39th Reserve Battalion at West Sandling Camp


Jan 4, 1917

The 39th Reserve Battalion was absorbed into the newly formed 6th Reserve Battalion


Mar 19, 1917

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Mar 20, 1917

Arrived at the CBD (Canadian Base Depot) in the Rouelles Camp, Havre, France as part of a draft of 67 reinforcements from England and TOS (Taken On Strength) the 21st Battalion


Mar 22, 1917

His medical classification was changed to “TB” (Temporary Base), meaning he was not fit for front line duty, and assigned to the Corps Headquarters for light duties


Apr 2, 1917

Attached to the Canadian Corps Composite Company for light duty


Jun 5, 1917

Forfeited 14 day’s pay for disobeying an order by smoking in a tent.


Jun 27, 1917

The medical classification was upgraded to “A” meaning he was now fit for combat and joined the 21st Battalion in the front lines.


Aug 15, 1917

During the 21st Battalion’s attack on Hill 70 the Germans put up very stiff resistance and there was heavy artillery shelling and hand to hand combat at times.  Private Freed was first reported to be missing during that action, and later determined to have been killed.  His body was never recovered from the battlefield and as such is honoured on the Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France

Following the war the British War Medal, Victory Medal, Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny), Scroll and Memorial Cross were sent to his wife, Mrs. E.E. Freed, Tillsonburg, Ontario


During the celebrations in Tillsonburg for the end of the war a parade was held.  The photo below shows a school float in that parade.  The photo is held in Tillsonburg’s Annandale Museum and supplied to this website by John Sargeant


Return to Tribute list