(Daily Sketch 18 April 1912)
Ernest Edward Samuel Freeman was born in Battersea, London, England in early 1867. He was the son of Samuel William Kearney Freeman (1820-1888), a Royal Navy Officer, and Josephine Louisa Eliza Hooper (1836-1918). His father was native to Portsea, Hampshire and his mother to Camberwell, Surrey and they had married in Devon in 1857.
Ernest had three known siblings: Louis Wilkin Ambrose Kearney (b. 1859), Helena Josephine (b. 1861) and Fredericia Gertrude L. (b. 1870).
Ernest first appears on the 1871 census when he and his family were living at 3 Aringer (?) Terrace, Hampstead, London, his seafaring father being absent. Ernest was absent from the 1881 census, but his mother and sisters Helena and Frederica were by now living at Erroll Cottage on Station Road in Lambeth.
Ernest was married in 1890 to a woman named Mary Jane Laura (b. circa 1866 in Jersey, Channel Islands). The couple had a total of four children with only one surviving infancy, Gladys Gertrude Dorothy (b. 1891).
On the 1891 census Ernest is absent but his wife is listed as living at 7 Wyndham Street, Walton on the Hill, Lancashire and is described as the wife of a ship's steward. Ernest would again miss the 1901 census but his wife and daughter Gladys were by now living at 10 Eskdale Road in Walton on the Hill. Reappearing in time for the 1911 census Ernest was described as a sailor and he and his family were now living at "The Haven," Hanley Road, Shirley, Southampton, presumably moving to that city around 1907 when White Star changed their main port away from Liverpool. His daughter, aged 19 and unmarried, was described as a music teacher.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Ernest gave his address as 5 Hanley Road, (Freemantle, Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. He was listed as Chief Deck Steward on the Titanic but he was actually a secretary to White Star chairman Bruce Ismay. He received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Freeman lost his life in the disaster; his body was recovered by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett (#239).
NO. 239. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 47. - HAIR, DARK; MOUSTACHE, FAIR.
CLOTHING - Blue suit; light overcoat; pajamas.
EFFECTS - Memo book; glasses; pipe; pouch; knife; gold watch; 6d. in pocketbook.
CHIEF DECK STEWARD.
NAME - ERNEST E. S. FREEMAN. J. BRUCE ISMAY'S SECRETARY. 5 Hanley Rd., Southampton.
The following death notice appeared in the Hampshire Independent (unknown date):
FREEMAN--On April 15th, Ernest Freeman, only surviving son of the late Capt. Kearney Freeman, R.N., and Josephine, his wife. Lost in the foundering of the Titanic in mid-ocean. Matthew 25th, verse 39.
He was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 10 May 1912 . The inscription on his grave reads:
A grave in Walton Park Cemetery, Rice Lane, Walton, Liverpool also remembers Freeman. The inscription reads: "Also Ernest Edward Freeman lost in the Titanic disaster April 15th 1912 aged 50 years".
His wife and daughter and other dependents benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund. Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the White Star Line, also made arrangements for a personal pension to be paid to Ernest Freeman's relatives.
Ernest's widow never remarried and returned to Liverpool where she died on 14 August 1938. His daughter Gladys never married and later died in Prescot, Lancashire in 1963.