| 21.1°C Dublin

Last surviving member of ‘Band of Brothers’ dies aged 97

Close

Bradford Freeman, a World War II veteran who served in the famed ‘Easy Company’. Photo: David Simmons

Bradford Freeman, a World War II veteran who served in the famed ‘Easy Company’. Photo: David Simmons

Bradford Freeman, a World War II veteran who served in the famed ‘Easy Company’. Photo: David Simmons

Bradford Freeman, the last member of the famed "Band of Brothers" World War II soldiers, has died.

The World War II veteran who was a member of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division Company E — better known as "Easy Company" — died on Sunday at the age of 97, according to family members.

He enlisted in 1942 and was one of the men to volunteer to become an Army paratrooper, which was a relatively new tactic at the time.

Mr Freeman’s company was the subject of a book by Stephen Ambrose and an Emmy-award winning HBO miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg called, Band of Brothers

The show followed members of the company through D-Day, Operation Market Garden, the forests of Bastogne, France - famous for the Battle of the Bulge - and the capturing of Adolf Hitler's mountain fortress, the Eagle's Nest.

He was portrayed in the show by actor James Farmer.

David Simmons, a family friend, told NBC News that Mr Freeman was a "kind, generous and humorous gentleman".

"He went to three schools, spoke, answered lots of questions, and it was apparent he had a brilliant memory of each event he experienced," Mr Simmons said.

Mr Freeman worked as a mortarman in Easy Company and was tasked with launching explosives from just behind the front line during battles.

"Me and my buddies did a job for America…Now it’s time for new faces to take up the cause," Mr Freeman said last year at Columbus Air Force Base during a ceremony honouring his time in the US Army.

He was wounded in the woods near Bastogne, France, around the time of the Battle of the Bulge. A German rocket - nicknamed a "Screaming Mimi" - exploded near him and launched shrapnel into his leg.

The injury earned him a Purple Heart, a commendation for military members wounded in battle.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

The leader of Easy Company and the protagonist of "Band of Brothers" Richard Winters, died in 2011.


Most Watched





Privacy