Freeth, William Thomas Campden

William Thomas Campden Freeth was born in the June quarter of 1920 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/26A/45) the son of Joseph  Henry & Dorothy Nellie Freeth (nee Campden) who had married in St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton, on the 4th August 1919.  Joseph Henry, 25, a bachelor and Ironworker lived at 53, Brook Road, his father  had the same name and occupation.    Dorothy Nellie Campden, 22, and a spinster had the same address as the Groom, her father was William Henry Campden also an Ironworker.

Joseph Henry Freeth had come from Moxley, Wednesbury, Staffordshire for work as he is seen on the 1911 census living with his family at 2 Queen St Moxley.   Head of the household was Joseph Freeth, 51, an Iron Puddler, and his wife Jane , 48, tell us that they had been married 26 years and 9 children had been born, very sadly 4 had died.   The four remaining children were Sarah, 23 , single and a Bolt Screwer, Joseph, 17, single and a Bar Dragger, Elsie, 12 and Emily age 5, all had been born in Moxley

Joseph Henry had been in WW1, in the Pioneer Corps, Service No. 621814 and his discharge date was the 12th August 1919, so he was really still in the Army officially just by a couple of days, when he married, his address then was – Woodlands, Brook Road, Shotton, Chester and he had a Pension because on the record it states – Disabilities – D.A.H.(Tachycardic) – State whether attributable to or aggravated by Service or non-attributable – Due to.

Joseph Henry was the brother of Abraham Freeth who came to live in the Campden Household and is seen on the 1911 census living at 53, Brook Road, and that is where Dorothy Nellie Campden must have met Abraham’s brother Joseph Henry and eventually married her as above.   Sadly Abraham was killed in WW1 and his story is told on this website, please click on the link to read his story.    Abraham was named on 2 other memorials – the Hawarden Memorial and the memorial screen at St Ethelwold’s Church, where his name is spelt Frieth on St. Ethelwolds.   Somebody made an effort to ensure he was remembered.

We see the little family of Joseph Henry & Dorothy Nellie Freeth on the 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th of June 1921, they are still at 53, Brook Road, Shotton and there had been an addition to the family.    Joseph Freeth was now 26 years and 11 months old and he was a Bar Dragger in John Summers & Sons Rolling Mills at Hawarden Bridge Steelworks, Shotton, but was “Out of Work”, probably because of the Miner’s strike.   Dorothy Nellie Freeth was now 24 years and 5 months old and was doing “Home Duties.”   Baby William Thomas Freeth was now 1 year and 2 months old and had been born in Shotton.

The next time we see William’s family is on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939.   The address is 8 North Street, Shotton.   Joseph Henry’s date of birth is the 20th July 1894 and he is a Foreman Roller in the Steel Mill, Dorothy Nellie’s date of birth was  the 9th February 1897 and as is usual in this Register, most married women, unless they had a job were listed as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties,” William’s sisters, Gwendoline Edna’s date of birth was  the 13th January 1922 and she was a Silk worker, Sylvia Jean’s date of birth was  the 28th July 1929, both the girls went on to marry after.    There were 3 closed or redacted records, probably too young to be put on the Register.  They were living in the same street as Arthur Payton, who also died in WW2 and whose story is on this website, plese click on the link to read his story.   They must have been mates.

I cannot find William on the 1939 Nation Register anywhere and the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Enlistment Registers1920-1946 tells us that he enlisted on the 8th January 1942, so any help would be appreciated to find out where he was in September 1939 and likewise with Adelina, although I suspect, when you look VERY closely at the National Register for her family, she may have been on there under one of the redacted or closed records, the writer may have printed her coming married name of FREETH.

I don’t know when William Thomas Campden Freeth met his bride to be, but he married on the 5th January 1942 to Adelina Victoria Jones, 20 a Spinster and Silk Worker, who lived at 333, Chester Road, Flint, her father was John Jones, Steelworker.   William, 21 and a bachelor states he was a steelworker and lived at North Street, Shotton, his father Joseph Freeth was also a Steelworker.   They married at St. Mary’s Church, Flint by Licence and the witnesses were Joseph Glynne Freeth & Lorna Jones, siblings, I believe of the bride and groom.

However the Casualty List (Page 12)lists his death and also noted that on that list alone, on the 17th July 1944 – 22 men are on the Casualty List as dying that day – 3 on the 16/17th July 1944 –  different Regts.)

The Cheshire Observer  5th August 1944 reports William missing and that he enlisted 2 years previously and he was a married man and resided in Oakenholt.   He had also attended Shotton Central School and was a keen athlete.

By the 11th August 1944 the County Herald had reported him to having been killed.  This reports him as having been in the R.W.F. for 2 and a half years, previously working at Summers and his brother Glyn, 19 is in France.

Excerpt taken from the CWGC Website:- For the most part, the men buried at Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery were killed in the fighting from the second week of July 1944, when Caen was captured, to the last week in August, when the Falaise Gap had been closed and the Allied forces were preparing their advance beyond the Seine.

The bloody battle for Hill 112 – Excerpt from the above Website:-

On the 16th July the British put in another attack to try to break the deadlock that had emerged around Hill 112 outside Caen. Sergeants Laing, Mapham, Midgley and Walter of No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit were present to record various aspects of the day – and we have a reasonably complete photographic history of different units of the British Army as they prepare to make an assault.

In Normandy the bloody battle for Hill 112 had begun on the 10th July, with British troops gripped in a bitter struggle with the SS Panzer Divisions to seize the high ground on the battlefield outside Caen. Casualties were high on both sides. For the British commanders there was the knowledge that their losses were replaceable, whereas the German losses were not.

For those locked into this struggle there would have been little consolation that they were fulfilling their of role of grinding down the enemy and preventing the transfer of Panzer forces to the west, where the Americans were preparing to breakout of the bridgehead. These are accounts from men of the 7th Somersets:

Captain Marshall: – We had reached the farm buildings around Chateau de Fontaine, dug in positions in the meadows. Mortar and shell fire was devastating. Col. Lance [who had won a DSO in Africa] was killed by a shell from an 88mm while sitting in his jeep, the Gunner BC Major Mapp was killed, the Adjutant A. Scannell wounded and evacuated. A steady stream of wounded was arriving at the RAP. Maj. Young and Maj. Chalmers shared command of the Battalion with that of their own coys[Companys]. Snipers were at their worst.

Shortly after Col. Lance was killed, Maj. Young’s Coy was clearing some farm buildings. A shot whistled unpleasantly close. Maj. Y. turned to Pte. Lace (Battalion sniper) with ‘That’s the fifth shot that basket has fired at me, we must get him.’

They found him hidden in a junk—heap in the middle of a duck pond! They found another not more than seventeen years old, who had buried himself in the mud of a wet ditch — only his head, arms and rifle were free, even these covered with slime and weeds. Another was burned out from a hayrick set on fire by a German shell.

Several days after the occupation of Chateau de Fontaine, snipers were still being found. One had barricaded himself in a room on the first floor of a barn while a platoon of ‘D’ Coy occupied the ground floor. They got him with a Bren gun burst fired through the closed door when he refused to come out.

The enemy trenches in the area were full of German dead, passed over by the leading troops, and the usual scene of mutilated farm animals all around. Air was rancid with the smell of dead animals and flies.   – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Second World War; Territorial and War Service

The 4th, 6th and 7th Battalions, all Territorial units, served in 158th (Royal Welch) Brigade assigned to the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division.[48] They took part in the Battle of Normandy at Hill 112, where the 53rd Division suffered heavy casualties. Due to heavy fighting and casualties in Normandy, some of the battalions were posted to different brigades within the division. The 53rd again suffered heavily during Operation Veritable* (the Battle of the Reichswald) under command of the First Canadian Army, in which action the British and Canadians, and the 53rd Division in particular, endured some of the fiercest fighting of the entire European Campaign against German paratroops.[49] 

*That took place between 8 February and 11 March 1945 during the final stages of the Second World War.

Also :-

And :-

Operation Jupiter (1944) – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the 1944 Operation Jupiter in France. Part of the Battle for Caen

Date      10–11 July 1944 – Location- West of Caen, Normandy, France

Units involved -United Kingdom VIII Corps

Operation Overlord – Invasion of Normandy

Operation Jupiter was an offensive by VIII Corps of the British Second Army on 10 July 1944 during the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War. The objective of the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division (Major-General Ivo Thomas), was to capture the villages of Baron-sur-Odon, Fontaine-Étoupefour, Chateau de Fontaine and to recapture Hill 112. An attached brigade of the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division would take Éterville, Maltot and the ground up to the River Orne and then the tanks of the 4th Armoured Brigade, supported by infantry, would advance through the captured ground and secure several villages to the west of the River Orne. It was hoped that the initial objectives could be captured by 9:00 a.m., after which the 4th Armoured Brigade would exploit the success.

The British advance went well at first but fighting for Hill 112 took all day and Maltot changed hands several times. On 11 July, counter-attacks by the 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen, 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg and the schwere-SS Panzer Battalion 102 in the afternoon, forced the British off the top of Hill 112 to positions on the north-facing slope.[3] The operation was a tactical failure for VIII Corps but a strategic success for the Allies, attrition having reduced the II SS Panzer Corps to a condition from which it never recovered. British operations of the Second Battle of the Odon conducted in the Odon valley continued in July and the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division occupied Hill 112 almost unopposed on 4 August, after the Germans withdrew during Operation Cobra and Operation Bluecoat further west. A stone memorial to the 43rd Division was built on the hill in the late 1940s.

Another local lad, William Arthur Nuttall was also killed and is remembered on the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial.

Both William Thomas Campden Freeth, who died on the 17th and William Arthur Nuttall, who died on the 18th, were first buried, probably on the day they died, at Evrecy, and then reburied at Banneville-la- Campagne War Cemetery on the 25th January 1946.   See the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Concentration Report Forms below.  Please click on the link to read William Arthur Nuttall’s story, he is on the Connah’s Quay & Shotton WW2 War Memorial.

Evrecy (Calvados) The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Excerpt taken from above website – please read.:-

On 17 July the battle continued and was still raging in the Evrecy area, particularly at Mondeville farm, and the Germans counterattacked with the SS Panzer-Division Hohenstaufen and the SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 22 (10. SS Panzer-Division Frundsberg), preventing the British from controlling the sector. During the fighting for the liberation of Evrecy and the taking of the 113 mark of 16 to 17 July 1944, 120 soldiers of the 158th Infantry Brigade are killed.

Probate search for Will for William Thomas Campden FREETH – Cost £10.:-

Surname              First name           Regimental number        Date of death

FREETH WILLIAM THOMAS          4209219                                17 July 1944

William was well loved both in Oakenholt and also in Shotton, (On the bottom of the WW1 names after “Y,” as his name was put forward after the WW2 War Memorial plaque had been finished), he was also added to Hawarden War Memorial as well and the St. Mark’s Church Roll of Honour.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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