FOR CHARLES WILLIAM
Charles Freeman was one of over 250 people
lost off St Abbs Head, Berwickshire, when HMS Pathfinder became
the first ship torpedoed and sunk by a submarine. The torpedo
struck a magazine, which exploded. The ship was lost within
minutes; only eleven of her crew survived.
Charles sent the postcard above of HMS
Amethyst to his father at 4 Lea Cottages. The postmark is, we
believe, for Sheerness in September 9th 1913. The card
"Dear Dad, I just right to tell
you I am getting on alright. I writ to mother last
week. I think we are going to Scotland today.
I expect mother has gone hopping. I hope she has
fine weather." In the top left-hand corner the card
is signed "Charlie XXXXXX"
HMS Pathfinder was well-known to Dovorians; she had been in Dover for some time just prior to the war, and as
a Chatham ship carried several Dover and other local men amongst her crew.
Left, part of a local newspaper report of the sinking, with list
of casualties from Dover. Charlie's name is amongst
Above and below right are the death
plaque and its envelope received by Charlie's parents.
Charlie's parents also received his medals, with boxes, and scrolls
from the Admiralty and King George.
Alice Davidson sent the postcard
below of HMS Pathfinder to Mrs Freeman on 15 August 1916,
from Dover. She wrote, "I thought you might like
this postcard, as it is your poor boy's ship. Hoping
you are quite well."
The caption on the picture reads,
"HMS Pathfinder. Light Cruiser, 2940 tons, speed 25
knots, armed with nine 4" guns. Sunk in the North
Sea on Saturday, September 5th, 1914, in consequence
of striking a mine."
In Loving Memory of our dear son
Charles William Christopher Freeman
who was killed in action on HMS "Pathfinder", aged
September 5th 1914.
"Gone but not Forgotten"
|A sudden change, I in a moment fell.
I had no time to bid my friends farewell.
Think nothing strange, death comes to all,
I today, tomorrow you may fall.
|Forbear, dear friends, to mourn and weep
Whilst sweetly in the sea I sleep,
This toilsome world I've left behind,
A glorious crown I hope to find.
Loved by All
For his Country's sake
with grateful thanks to
all images are courtesy Christopher Freeman