Topic: Bernard Cyril Freyberg (1889-1963)

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This article on Lord Bernard Cyril FREYBERG appeared in the May 2009 Hauraki News (No 55).

Looking wrong? See archived copy here.

Gen B.C. Freyburg

Lord Bernard Cyril FREYBERG was born in London in 1889, but came to New  Zealand with his parents at the age of two. He was educated at Wellington College, when he distinguished himself particularly in swimming, winning numerous national titles in the sport.

He initially trained as a dental technician in Paeroa. where he was commissioned into the Hauraki Regiment as a Territorial Force officer, and later worked in Levin beta re returning to Britain in 1913. While en route to Britain, he spent several months in Mexico where he fought in the Mexican Revolution. On the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 he joined the Royal Naval Division - a Marine unit raised by Winston Churchill - which he eventually commanded and with which he fought on the Belgian Front.

Throughout this war Freyberg's career was notable for outstanding exploits which won him the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order (with 2 Bars), and the Croix Militaire de Guerre. He was mentioned in despatches 6 limes and wounded 9 times. After the war he became a General Staff Officer at the War Office, until his discharge on medical grounds in 1934.

He was recalled in 1939 and offered his services to the New Zealand Government, which appointed him to command the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force which he led through fighting in the Mediterranean theatre until the end of the war. During this time he gained a forthth bar to his DSO, and was knighted.

A capable and determined commander - and one committed to avoiding fruitless waste of life - Freyberg led his Division through more major actions than any other Allied divisional commander. He subsequently served two terms as Governor-General of New Zealand (1946-52) before returning to Britain as Lieutenant-Governor of Windsor Castle. He died in 1963.

The inscription on his gravestone - 'An Unconquerable Heart’ - sums up perfectly the man New Zealand soldiers knew and loved as 'Tiny'.

 

Useful links within the London Gazette

  1. (Supplement) no. 29664. pp. 6941–6952. 11 September 1916.
  2. (Supplement) no. 35821. p. 5446. 11 December 1942.
  3. (Supplement) no. 37368. p. 5835. 27 November 1945. 
  4. no. 37417. p. 203. 1 January 1946. 
  5. (Supplement) no. 37204. p. 3962. 31 July 1945.
  6. (Supplement) no. 35519. p. 1595. 7 April 1942. 
  7. (Supplement) no. 29626. p. 6042. 16 June 1916. 
  8. (Supplement) no. 29866. p. 12307. 15 December 1916.
  9. 6th Hauraki Insignia(Supplement) no. 30106. p. 5400. 1 June 1917.
  10. (Supplement) no. 31219. p. 3224. 7 March 1919. 
  11. (Supplement) no. 31583. p. 12214. 3 October 1919. 
  12. no. 33281. p. 3629. 3 June 1927. 
  13. no. 33463. p. 867. 29 February 1929. 
  14. no. 33699. p. 1802. 17 March 1931.
  15. no. 33978. p. 6014. 15 September 1933.
  16. no. 34070. p. 4591. 17 July 1934. 
  17. no. 34238. p. 767. 31 December 1935.  
  18. no. 34444. p. 6372. 15 October 1937. 
  19. (Supplement) no. 34758. p. 8531. 22 December 1939. 

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Bernard Cyril Freyberg (1889-1963)


First Names:Bernard Cyril
Last Name:Freyberg
Date of Birth:21 March 1889
Place of Birth:Richmond, London
Country of birth:United Kingdom
Date of death:4 July 1963
Place of death:Windsor, United Kingdom
Occupation:Soldier
First settled:Wellington
Date of Arrival:1891
Fathers name:James Freyberg
Mothers name:Julia Hamilton
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945)