Leading Seaman James (Jimmy) Freel CGM

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Reference WMO/272996


James Freel Close

riverside, beside the Walney Channel

Barrow in Furness

LA14 2PN


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Status: On subsequent site(s)
Type: Freestanding
Location: External
Setting: Roadside
Description: Other sculpture
  • Metal Metal (any)
  • Metal Silver
  • Rock/Rough Stone Rock/Rough Stone
Lettering: Incised
  • Second World War (1939-1945)
About the memorial: Steel sculpture with bronze-effect paint. The shape represents both the medals he earned and the propeller system used to power the torpedo he manned. The chains behind the sculpture are fixed so as to appear as if they are tensioned. Accompanying silver plaque on piece of rough hewn slate
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Memorial-LEADING SEAMAN JAMES ‘JIMMY’ FREEL CGM 1919-1965 DECORATED WORLD WAR II CHARIOTEER Plaque-James (Jimmy) Freel CGM James Michael Freel , born at Hindpool in Barrow on 13 December 1919, joined the Royal Navy on 9 June 1936 and became Barrow’s highest decorated war hero of World War II. After serving as a gunner on the battleships HMS ‘Revenge’, HMS ‘Royal Sovereign’ and HMS ‘Rodney’ he volunteered in May 1942 for a “Special/Hazardous Mission” and trained as a “Charioteer Driver” (aka “Human Torpedo) assigned to th e 10th Submarine Flotilla in Malta to prepare for/Operation Principal targeting enemy ships in Palermo, Sicily. On 29 December 1942, Freel and Sub Lieutenant RG Dove RNVR,with Chariot No. XVI, embarked on submarine HMS “Torpedo” to attack ships in/Palermo/harbour where they sank the Italian troopship ‘Viminate’ after which they made their way ashore where they were taken prisoners and sent to/Prisoner of War camps in mainland Italy. On 9 September 1943 (after 9 months as a POW) Freel escaped and fought with the local Partisans until December 1943, when he rejoined the Allied/Forces and was repatriated to the UK. On 18 April 1944 James Freel was gazetted for the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM) for his “courage, determination and devotion to duty”. He saw further action in the Far East and on 2nd June 1945, he was Mentioned in Despatches for “bravery, coolness of action and devotion to duty”/in the rescue of survivors from a burning tanker near Japan. He left the Royal Navy on 6 January 1950 after 12 years service and signed on the supply ship RRS ‘Discovery I’ bound for the British Antarctic/Territories. On 2 January 1951 he signed off in Melbourne, Australia, where he lived until his untimely death on 13 November 1965

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