Major J H R Freeborn FRIBA FRICS (1887-1971), Benhilton’s almost Olympian hammer thrower

The third ringer to be covered in this series on those who rang in the officers’ peals of 1919 is Major J H R Freeborn who has already been extensively covered on this blog as he was a ringer at Benhilton before the war, although he was not actually included on the original Surrey Association roll of honour. The original blog post on him is therefore reposted below for completeness. He was a captain at the time of the peal, only gaining the rank of major during the Second World War.

Head and shoulders sot of a moustached man in army uniform, standing just in front of the right hand end of the arch over a church doorway.

Major John Harley Bridges Hesse, from the photo taken of the band at the peal attempt at South Croydon on 3 May 1919 (he is back, second from right, in the full photo)

halfmuffled

John Howard Richard Freeborn moved to Sutton after graduating from Cambridge in 1914. He rang at Benhilton several times in 1915, but then – despite having lost the sight of his left eye following an accident in his youth – managed to obtain a commission in the York and Lancaster Regiment. His existing injury meant he had no overseas service, and finished the war a captain having spent much of his period in the army as an adjutant to regiments of the Volunteer Training Corps (the Sutton unit of which he had been involved with even before receiving his commission). He was a regular ringer in Benhilton again from late 1918 into 1919. He was commissioned again in the Second World War, that time serving between 1940 and 1943, and leaving the army with the honorary rank of major, after which he was universally known as Major Freeborn. He is…

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