Warrant Officer & Navigator - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves - 159 Squadron - Service No. 1333314
Arthur James Freeman was born on 17th September 1921 in Gravesend, Kent. His father was Henry Thomas Freeman, a Printer’s Packer, and his mother was Elizabeth (née Heath). The first school that he attended was Cecil Road School in Gravesend.
In 1932 Arthur Freeman joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Arthur’s address as 54 Pelham Road, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Arthur was in Town House, he was a Prefect in 1938-39 and was awarded the Form Prize for Economics. Two younger brothers attended the School, Henry (born 1925) and John (born 1933). Henry enlisted as soon as he left school in 1941 as an Aircraftman 2nd Class in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves.
In 1939 Arthur left the School and started work at Gravesend General Post Office. In 1941 he enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves, training first at Scarborough and then in Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He joined 159 Squadron as a Warrant Officer and Navigator, Service Number 1333314.
159 Squadron was a heavy bomber unit. Arthur served first in the Middle East, then was sent with 159 Squadron to India in September 1942. On 12th September 1944, Arthur Freeman was killed when his Liberator bomber aircraft crashed near Digri airfield, Calcutta, five minutes after taking off fully laden with bombs for a mining operation at Victoria Point. He is remembered at Ranchi War Cemetery, India, Joint grave 8. A. 1-2.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: