One who loved his fellow men

Lieutenant Aubrey (Harold) FreemanKilled in Action, Flers, 8 November 1916, age 27.

Known as Harold, his father was very proud of his eldest son who had followed in his footsteps as a civil engineer, with the Queensland Railways. Educated at St Josephs College, Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, he was appointed resident engineer for construction, at Cloncurry in 1913 where under his direction the first section of the Mount Cuthbert Railway was built, to support the local copper industry.

Mount Cuthbert town and mine

Ascanius

Harold was promoted to Corporal before embarking for overseas, and after arriving in Egypt was transferred to the 4th & then 5th Field Company Engineers.

Emerging unscathed from the Gallipoli campaign, Harold remained for several months in Egypt before being promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and being transferred to an Engineers Training Depot in Wales.

Australian soldiers, Longueval Road, 1917

Battle of Fleurs

His brother Robert who was also serving in France, had the grim duty of notifying their father of Harold’s sudden death, which was confirmed by the Commanding Officer Major N.C. Harris’ telegram.

We now know that the battlefields of France were mush and mud and that many men lost their lives. Thousands were in the field and many on the front line. The paper battle was difficult to say the least.

As an engineer he could have built many bridges and roads in civilian life. The Mount Cuthbert railway officially closed in 1994 after road transport took over, his only legacy.

Corporal Robert Freeman was accidentally injured in the face and hands, and returned to Australia on 26 May 1919. He passed away in 1945 aged just 51.

AIF Burial Ground, Flers, France

The descendants of the Freeman family can be proud that his name, listed on the Roll of Honour, is to be projected onto the exterior of the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Memory this month, 100 years on.

He is not forgotten.

Researched and authored by Joy Laing, guest blogger.

Further Reading:

Marg Powell

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