Born in Bridlington, Henry Freeman moved to Whitby at the top of Bakehouse Yard, which now has a blue plaque to commemorate one of Whitby’s proudest sons.
At first Henry took on his father’s trade as a brick layer but eventually fell in love with sea in around 1858. He worked throughout Newcastle, London, and Whitby, but feeling unhappy with this side of his career he moved to Whitby to solely become a fisherman and in a couple of years to come he would be a famous name around Whitby.
On February 9th 1861 Freeman was the sole survivor of a devastating lifeboat disaster which left 13 of his fellow men dead. It was his first lifeboat rescue, a storm on the North Sea had wrecked over 200 ships and on his first journey out on the lifeboats he learnt a lesson; the sea is cruel and unforgiving.
For his bravery that day Henry was rewarded the RNLI Silver Medal and he carried on his career on the lifeboats, saving countless lives, eventually rising through the ranks to become Coxswain of the No.1 Lifeboat. During his service it is believe Freeman saved over 300 lives, his name will never be forgotten on the Whitby streets as one of the bravest men to ever walk our town.