FREER family, Fimber to Blackball.
JOHN WILLIAM FREER
JOHN was married in Newcastle upon Tyne, at the registry office, on the 19 Feb. 1918.
He married LILY DUNN.
JOHN was a regular force soldier with the Kings Own Yorksh Light Infantry, before that he was a coal miner.
JOHN's parents were EDWIN FREER and SARAH JANE VICKERS. He was born in Hunslet, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. JOHN was the eldest child in the family,
JOHN'S Father was EDWIN FREER, he was born in Fimber a small village in the Yorkshire county. Edwin was one of 8 sons and 2 daughters.
Parents to EDWIN were THOMAS FREER and SARAH CARR...
When EDWIN went to school his parents had to pay 2 pence a week for his school book.
Later he was hired out to work on farms. When he was 9 years old he worked at Sledmere Hall, looking after the horses. He was also at Wetwang and lots of other farms about the area.
JOHN'S Mother, Sarah Jane VICKERS had a sister MARY ELLEN and a brother JOHN. They came from Scalby Mills outside Scarborough, Yorkshire. They were related to VICKERS who had a Ropery at Pontefract Yorkshire. EDWIN and SARAH JANE were married at Hunslet Moor on 3 march 1896.
In 1913 the family moved to Leeds Yorkshire. Where EDWIN and son JOHN both worked at Cooks Ovens until JOHN went into the army in 1914, he was 18yrs old.
JOHN was born 28 July 1896.
He was in the regular Army for 5 years. Discharged 13 Feb 1920 being no longer fit for war service. His discharge papers say he was 5 foot 9 inches tall , had a tatoo mark on his left arm, brown hair and hazel eyes.
He had 3 wound stripes and the British war and Victory Medal. He also got the 1914-1915 Star.
When JOHN went home after his discharge his wife LILY, had had a new baby, not JOHNS, but he accepted the baby girl (Louie) as his own and was always a good father to her and the large family he and LILY went on to have.
In 1927, the family moved from Leeds, Yorkshire, England. to New Zealand. They sailed on the Rangitata and settled in Blackball on the West Coast, South Island.
They arrived in Wellington very poor. With very little money and a long way from Blackball the Salvation Army took them in and helped them get to Blackball to live close to LILY'S Father, JOHN DUNN, who had already settled and was living with his second wife Maria and new young family.
JOHN went to the coal mine for work, he wasn't happy, he had been crippled during the war and it was difficult for him to do physical work.
An earthquake was a good excuse to leave mining and he never went underground again. he did work at the top of the mine sorting coal and picking stones out of the conveyor belt.
JOHN did a variety of jobs around Blackball, cleaning the deep water drains and keeping the local cemetery tidy.
They were always poor, a large family and no work was difficult, but he always managed to hobble to the local pub and he had a great sense of humour. Life was never taken too seriously and he appeared to enjoy the small things in life-- family, friends,--an old car to tinker with and a couple of drinks and a yarn at the pub..
JOHN WILLIAM FREER died 16 May 1975. aged 79 years.