Memorial bench for Second World War tragedy

Thursday 20th September 2018 1:05 pm
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Four generations of the Freeborn family at the Dartmouth War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday, pointing to Frederick’s name

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A memorial bench has been dedicated to the over 1,400 lives lost when the HMS Hood sank in 1941.

At St Clement’s Church on Thursday, September 13, the memorial stone bench was erected particularly in memory of Warrant Officer Frederick Charles Freeborn MBE and the 1,414 other lives lost during the sinking on May 24, 1941.

There were only three survivors when the ship was sunk by the German battleship, SS Bismarck.

The battlecruiser HMS Hood referred to as ‘The Mighty Hood’ was launched in 1920 and between the world wars was the largest and most powerful warship in the world.

However, by the time of the second world war she became outdated and could be penetrated by the massive high trajectory shells from the German ships.

The stone bench dedicated to Frederick Freeborn and his comrades who sunk with the ship was given by his son Tony Freeborn, 89, a wing commander in the RAF and a long serving member of the Probus Club of Dartmouth.

The service was jointly led by Father Will Hazelwood, Father Bob Boyle and Padre Keith, the BRNC Naval chaplain.

In attendance was Captain Jolyon Woodard and serving members of the BRNC, members of Probus, Freemasons, Old Darts, our parish churches and family and friends of the Freeborn family.

The bench is sited at the north side of the church where many people can sit to rest and enjoy the view.

The Naval Prayer was read by Tony Freeborn RAF, the only son of Frederick Freeborn and the wreath was laid by Captain Woodard.

Frederick Freeborn was awarded the MBE after he died and the honour was awarded to his wife and son at Buckingham Palace after HMS Hood had sunk.

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