Owen George Hughes Freeman, was the eldest son of Mrs and Mrs Freeman. He grew up in Walthamstow, and went to the Winns Avenue School, before being apprenticed as a compositor. However, he never completed the apprenticeship having tired of civilian life and joined the Army in 1937. Despite being too young to enlist, he joined up using his mother's maiden name, and became known as Private Hughes. He had been serving with the 1st Battalion, Royal West Kents for nearly three years by September 1939 and the outbreak of the Second World War.
The 1st Battalion were sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in October 1939, and it was whilst deployed to Belgium that Private Hughes would eventually win a Military Medal for his actions in the fighting prior to the evacuation from Dunkirk from 27 May to 3 June 1940. Private Hughes was serving as a Driver on a Bren Gun Carrier. When he advanced with men from the Battalion at the Albert Canal, near Brussels, their position came under a heavy mortar barrage. Several of the men fighting nearby were caught in a blast, and Pte Hughes helped recovered two wounded men, before helping back a heard casualty (who unfortunately died shortly afterwards). In the days which followed, he made his way to Dunkirk and finally escaped back to the UK.
Later in the war, he joined Airborne Forces and completed Parachute Course K. He joined 11 Platoon, B Coy, 10th Parachute Battalion and appears probable that he served in Italy, although this cannot be verified at present.
He was serving as a Section Commander by September 1944. He took part in the Battle of Arnhem, during Op Market Garden. He was wounded during the Battle, before managing to successfully escape across the Rhine at the end of the Battle.
After the war, in March 1947, his actions at Arnhem were recognised with the award of the Dutch Bronze Cross (although his citation had in fact been made for a Bar to his MM).
Record under construction