Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The mysterious life and death of Harry Freame

Over the last few months, my Armidale Express history columns have been devoted to the mysterious life and death of Harry Freame, soldier, orchardist and spy.

This post brings all the columns together into a single series so that you can follow the story through post by post. Each post opens in a new window, so read, close and then click the next link in this post.

The first part of the series discusses Australia's early intelligence activities beginning pre-Federation and then through to the immediate period after the ending of the First World War.

We then trace the life of Harry Freame from his birth in Japan through the First World War including Gallipoli to his early involvement in espionage activities as a consequence of his fluency in Japanese. .

Harry then becomes a soldier settler and orchardist  at Kentucky south of  Armidale and Uralla. There Harry and his wife became involved .in a variety of community activities, a son was born, but also experienced troubles.because of May's illness.

As war with Japan becomes closer, Harry is again drawn back into intelligence work, this time with fatal consequences.       

Setting the Scene
The Life of Harry Freame
A Note on Sources

I have called Harry Harry because that is the name normally used in Australia. He was Henry to his wife's English family. I have called his wife May rather than Edith, her formal first name, because that seems to have been how she was known.

 I have used John Fahey's Australia's First Spies: The remarkable story of Australia's intelligence operations, 1901-45 (Allen & Unwin 2018) for background material on Australia's intelligence operations as well as his chapter on Harry Freame. I have also drawn from James W. Courtney, 'Freame, Wykeham Henry Koba (1885–1941)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/freame-wykeham-henry-koba-6241/text10743, published first in hardcopy 1981, as well as military history web sites. 

Family material including references to family letters is drawn from Sheila Goodyear's WYKEHAM HENRY KOBA FREAME, DCM: an ANZAC in the family

Material on the Kentucky period is drawn especially from Sheila Goodyear supplemented by the regular reports on Kentucky activities contained in the Uralla Times accessed via Trove. 

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