b. 1833 Barming, Sittingbourne, Kent. d. 01/07/1913 Hackney, London
John Freeman (1833-1913) was born in the village of Barming, near Maidstone, Kent in 1833. He followed his father into the occupation of an agricultural labourer but when he was 24, he chose a different career path, and enlisted with the 9th Lancers (later Queen’s Royal Lancers) and joined them in service in India. Little is known of his service career.
Apart from the affair at Agra, he was involved in many of the main engagements of the Indian Mutiny. On 10th October 1857, he witnessed Lieutenant Jones being hit and wounded during the actions at Agra. Freeman dashed forward and protected the officer, killing the leader of the enemy’s cavalry, and fending off many other rebels. Freeman was later dangerously wounded during the Battle of Bareilly in May 1858, the only British casualty. Freeman was recommended for the VC and it was announced on 24th December 1858. He would receive his medal on the 4th January 1860 at Windsor Castle from Queen Victoria.
His injuries forced him to be invalided from the Army, but he went on to live to the grand age of 80, passing away at his home, 17 Holcroft Road in South Hackney, London on 1st July 1913. He was buried in Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, in a grave which is now in a poor state of repair. His medal is part of the Ashcroft Collection and displayed at Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: ABNEY PARK CEMETERY, STOKE NEWINGTON, LONDON.
IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE
John Freeman's VC on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London. (August 2014).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT I-3, GRAVE 11724
Abney Park Cemetery image courtesy of Kevin Brazier, though recent research suggests that John Freeman VC is not buried in this grave.