Captain Harry Peere Williams-Freeman, CD was born 16 July 1923 in Duncan, B.C. and moved to England in 1934 with his family. As a teenager he attended Blundell’s School and afterwards served in the British Army from 1941 to 1946 in the UK, India, Burma and West Africa. He then worked in Nigeria as a timber agent for the United Africa Co. He returned to B.C. in 1948 and was employed by the Inventory branch of the B.C. Forest Service doing fieldwork.
In 1954, Harry enrolled in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada as a lieutenant. He served in Canada, and with the U.N. in Pakistan in 1965.
He returned to Canada to live in Halifax, where he retired in 1970. From there he moved to B.C. and worked nine years as the administrator for the Canadian Outward Bound Mountain School in Vancouver and Keremeos. He was instrumental and persistent in getting the government interested in acquiring his B.C. Heritage Site residence which is now known as the Keremeos Grist Mill. This former Hudson’s Bay Company trading post and flour mill were built in 1863 and 1877 respectively and Harry strongly felt this property belonged to the public rather than private ownership.
In 1981, in his 37 ft. sloop he named ALEC PEERE, he sailed from Vancouver to the Caribbean where he spent several years. Later on he enjoyed many years of extensive travelling and chartering his sailboat in the coastal B.C. waters.
He was a true character who marched to his own drum and his own eccentricities; a family man with a tender heart, a keen intellect and a dry sense of humour who was passionate about the outdoors, wilderness and historical conservation, classical and jazz music, reading, sailing, current affairs, history, physical fitness, travel and good conversation.
He was living on Salt Spring Island, B.C. when he died peacefully 9 November 2012 at age 89 after a lengthy and devastating illness.