Private Wesley Freeland



Wesley Freeland was born on 20 December 1895 at 172 Manor Street, Belfast, one of at least six children of English-born parents, mechanical die-maker Herbert William Freeland and his wife Elizabeth (nee Dey). His mother died when he was just four. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his father, step-mother and four half-siblings at 17 Lothair Avenue, Belfast, and working as a compositor in a printing office.

Freeland enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 22 and 24 May 1915 (No.1571).

On 1 March 1917 he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch), the predecessor to the Tank Corps (No.76332), thus becoming the first rank and file member of the North Irish Horse to serve in an armoured regiment.

At some time in 1917 or 1918 he embarked for France, serving with the Tank Corps until the end of the war. It is not known at present with which battalion of the Tank Corps he served.

In 1920 he emigrated to the United States.


The image of Private Freeland is part of the Crumlin Road Methodist Church display at the Somme Museum in Conlig, County Down, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Great War Researcher at History Hub Ulster.