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B.5883 (B.430031) Lance Sergeant
CECIL FREDERICK FREEMAN
(Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Canadian Artillery,
Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps and
Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers)

by
Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis, 2000

Introduction

The information provided in this research work has been taken almost exclusively from the service papers of Lance Sergeant Freeman as they were received from the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa. Unfortunately, the service papers of World War 2 soldiers are heavily redacted for privacy reasons; therefore much of the personal information is not legible in the papers. Personal information dealing with the soldier’s family, his physical description, addresses and next of kin has been "blacked out" on the papers.

Early Life

Cecil Frederick Freeman was the son of Kenneth Gerald and Annie J. Freeman of Toronto, Ontario [*]. It may be safe to assume that Cecil was born about 1918. This assumption is based on the fact that he enlisted in the Active Militia of Canada in 1928 and was probably 18 years old when he did so.

Enlistments and Postings

As noted above, Freeman served in the Active Militia of Canada prior to his enlistment in the Canadian Active Service Force (C.A.S.F.) for service in World War 2. The following table provides a summary of his enlistments and transfers between 1928 and 1952. His total service extended over a period of 24 years, with about a six year gap between 1934 and 1940. His total time of 18 years was served in six different Corps or Regiments.

Date

Corps or Regiment

1928

Enlisted in the Active Militia of Canada. R.G. Regiment? This notation appears in Freeman's service papers, but the regiment is not identified.

1934

Discharged from the Active Militia of Canada.

23 September 1940

Enlisted in the Royal Canadian Engineers (R.C.E.) at Toronto.

December 1940

Transferred to the Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.) from the R.C.E.

16 March 1941

Transferred to the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.) from the R.C.A.

October 1943

Transferred to the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.) from the R.C.O.C.

October 1945

Discharged from the Army at Toronto.

9 August 1950

Enlisted in the Queen’s York Rangers at Toronto.

1 June 1952

Discharged from the Queen’s York Rangers at Toronto.

Promotions and Appointments

The highest rank held by Freeman during his time in the Canadian Active Service Force, was that of Acting Sergeant. Following World War 2, he enlisted in the Queen’s York Rangers and rose to the rank of Sergeant. The following table summarizes the ranks he held and the dates that these ranks became effective:

Date

Rank

Corps or Regiment

23 September 1940

Enlisted as a Sapper (Service Number B.5883) Royal Canadian Engineers (R.C.E.)

December 1940

Appointed Gunner on change of Corps Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.)

13 January 1941

Appointed Acting Lance Bombardier Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.)

15 March 1941

Reverts to Gunner Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.)

16 March 1941

Appointed Private on change of Corps Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

19 September 1941

Appointed Acting Lance Corporal Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

19 December 1941

Promoted Temporary Lance Corporal Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

10 March 1942

Appointed Acting Corporal Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

1 April 1942

Appointed Acting Lance Sergeant Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

20 April 1942

Reverted to Corporal Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

1 July 1942

Promoted Temporary Lance Sergeant Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

22 September 1943

Appointed Acting Sergeant Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

October 1943

Retained rank of Acting Sergeant upon changing Corps Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.)

6 March 1944

Reverts to Lance Sergeant Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.)

2 May 1944

Reverts to substantive rank of Corporal Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.)

11 May 1944

Reverts to permanent grade of Private Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.)

8 June 1944

Rank changed to Craftsman based on the rank structure of the R.C.E.M.E. Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E.)

9 August 1950

Enlisted as a Trooper (Service Number B.430031) Queen’s York Rangers, 25th Armoured Regiment

9 August 1950

Upgraded to Trooper First Class on the same day as enlistment Queen’s York Rangers, 25th Armoured Regiment

1 July 1951

Promoted Sergeant Queen’s York Rangers, 25th Armoured Regiment

Education and Training

Freeman received basic training as an engineer soldier and as a gunner. It appears that he had technical skills as a welder that were found to be of greater value to the Army than his skills as a sapper or gunner. These skills prompted his assignment to the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps and subsequently to the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers for the duration of World War 2. In addition to this basic training, Freeman attended a course in Armour Plate Welding from the 3rd to the 18th of May 1943 while serving with the R.C.E.M.E. in England.

Qualifications

Freeman qualified repeatedly as a welder and was granted trades pay for his skills. The following table shows the qualifications he earned during his time in service.

Date

Qualification

Unit

16 March 1941

Qualified Welder, Acetylene, Group B with temporary pay Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.)

19 June 1941

Qualified Tradesman, Artisan Section, Group B, Welder, Acetylene No. 3 Detachment, R.C.O.C.

7 July 1941

Granted Trades Pay, Artisan, Section B, Welder, Acetylene No. 3 Detachment, R.C.O.C.

19 March 1943

Trade Tested as Acetylene Welder No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.)

16 April 1943

Granted Trades Pay, Welder, Group B No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.)

3 May 1944

Entitled to Trades Pay, Welder, Group B No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.)

14 February 1945

Reclassified Welder (Electric), Class B 1st Canadian Advanced Base Work Shop

14 May 1951

Driver, Class III Queen’s York Rangers

Home and Overseas Service

The following table presents a summary of Freeman’s postings during his time in service during and following World War 2:

Date

Unit

Location

23 September 1940

Military District No. 2, Canadian Active Service Force Toronto, Ontario

11 January 1941

R.C.A. Training Center Petawawa Military Camp, Ontario

16 March 1941

Camp Ordnance Office Petawawa Military Camp, Ontario

6 January 1942

No. 3 Detachment R.C.O.C. Kingston, Ontario

1 June 1942

Shop Section, No. 8 Mechanical Transport, R.C.O.C. Kingston, Ontario

5 October 1942

Camp Ordnance Officer Petawawa Military Camp, Ontario

1 December 1942

No. 3 Ordnance Depot Company, R.C.O.C. Fort Frontenac, Kingston, Ontario

11 December 1942

No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.) Enroute to England by ship

18 December 1942

No. 2 Canadian Individual Replacement Unit (C.I.R.U.) England

1 February 1943

No. 2 Canadian Individual Replacement Unit (C.I.R.U.) England

19 February 1943

No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.) England

25 February 1943

No. 1 Mobile L. and B. Unit England

19 March 1943

No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.) England

3 July 1943

No. 1 Canadian Detention Barracks Headley, England

24 November 1943

No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.) England

15 January 1944

No. 1 Canadian Detention Barracks Headley, England

7 March 1944

No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.) England

21 March 1944

1st Canadian Base Work Shop England

11 May 1944

No. 1 Canadian Overseas Replacement Unit (C.O.R.U.) England

22 June 1944

No. 1 Canadian Advanced Base Workshop England

27 July 1944

No. 1 Canadian Advanced Base Workshop Enroute to France

30 July 1944

No. 1 Canadian Advanced Base Workshop 21st Army Group, France

9 August 1944

16th Vehicle Company, 17th Army Ordnance Detachment, R.C.O.C. France

2 September 1944

3rd Canadian Recovery Company, R.C.E.M.E. France

14 September 1944

4th Canadian Armoured Troops Work Shop, R.C.E.M.E. France

24 October 1944

2nd Canadian Tank Troops Work Shop, R.C.E.M.E. France

26 October 1944

4th Canadian Armoured Troops Work Shop, R.C.E.M.E. France

9 January 1945

3rd Canadian Recovery Company, R.C.E.M.E. France

14 February 1945

1st Canadian Advanced Base Work Shop France

18 March 1945

3rd Canadian Recovery Company, R.C.E.M.E. France

31 July 1945

1st Canadian Advanced Base Work Shop France

1 August 1945

CD255, Military District 2 North West Europe

2 August 1945

CD255, Military District 2 Enroute to England

3 August 1945

4th Canadian Repatriation Depot England

20 August 1945

No. 2 Demobilization Depot Enroute to Canada

30 August 1945

No. 2 Demobilization Depot Toronto

9 August 1950

Queen’s York Rangers Toronto

1 July 1951

Queen’s York Rangers Petawawa Military Camp

5 July 1952

Queen’s York Rangers Petawawa Military Camp

Freeman’s overseas service was reckoned from the 11th of December 1942 to the 30th of August 1945. His service in the theatre of operations of the war was from the 30th of July 1944 to the 3rd of August 1945. His war service was in France and North West Europe with armoured troops and specifically with tank recovery units and workshops.

For his service during the war he was awarded the 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, and the War Medal.

Furloughs and Leave

Freeman’s records show that he was only granted two periods of furlough or leave during his time in service. He was granted a furlough with pay on the 21st of April 1942 while at Kingston, Ontario. The duration of this furlough is not specified in his service papers. He was also granted 30 days of disembarkation leave in Toronto after his return from England after World War 2 and prior to his discharge from the Army.

[*] See the research work on his father, 451413 Sapper Kenneth Gerald Freeman, Canadian Engineers, also prepared by the author.