William Edward Freeman (1896-1916) - Pte L/10405 2nd Bn Royal Sussex RegimentWilliam Edward Freemanwas the only surviving son of the ten children born to Charles and Matilda Mercy Freeman (nee Boxall). The family lived in Itchingfield in the late 1890s, and William went to school there, but they moved just over the parish border to Slinfold around 1902. In the 1911 census William is still living at home with his parents and two youngest sisters and is working as a groom.William joined the 2ndBn Royal Sussex Regiment on 7thAugust 1914 as Pte L/10405 on Regular Terms of Service, and was deployed to France on 20th October 1915.From the end of October until mid-November the Regiment was “at rest” but as winter closed in and the weather deteriorated they were moved into the trenches near Loos. They remained in this general area, under sporadic attack but experiencing relatively few casualties, until an improvement in the weather in March 1916 reawakened enemy activity. Even then the story is one of grinding attrition rather than all out warfare until the 2nd July 1916 when the Battalion began an eight day journey to the trenches of the Somme.All through July, August and September the Regiment fought in the trenches and on the battlefields of the Somme with huge losses until finally, in early October they were withdrawn to billets at Toueflies, near Amiens for rest, recuperation and, for a lucky few, some leave. Reinforcements also arrived throughout this period and the Regiment regained some of its former strength so on the 18thNovember they were once again marched back to the mud of the Somme at High Wood.Having survived the killing field of the Somme for so long William Freeman was killed in action on 8thDecember 1916, just after the Battalion had moved from High Wood to the Flers Line support trench.The trench was manned by A and D Coy from the 7thDecember and the War Diary entry for the 8thtells us that "our artillery was very active. The enemy replied with searching fire. 'D' company suffered four casualties and 1 Lewis Gun damaged by shellfire". The available evidence suggests that William Freeman was one of the four casualties D Coy suffered, the other three being wounded or died of wounds later.William Freeman’s body was not recovered but he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and remembered on Slinfold War Memorial.He was awarded the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal for his services..