Freyberg, Bernard Cyril, 1st Baron “the Salamander”.

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Freyberg, Bernard, born on 21-03-1889 in London, one months before Adolf Hitler
    (did you know), to James Freyberg and his second wife, Julia (born Hamilton) was of partial Austrian-German descent. Bernard moved to New Zealand with his parents when he was two years old. He studied at Wellington College from 1897 to 1904. He was a good swimmer, winning the New Zealand 100m swimming competitions in 1906 and 1910. On 22-05-1911, Freyberg received a registration as a dentist and then worked as an assistant dentist in Morrinsville, Hamilton and Levin. He was a British-born New Zealand Victoria Cross recipient and soldier who later served as the seventh Governor-General of New Zealand.  Freyberg left New Zealand in March 1914. Records of him are in San Francisco and Mexico, where he took part in the Civil War there. When World War I broke out, he traveled to Great Britain in August 1914 and enlisted in the New Zealand Hauraki Regiment. At the end of 1914 he met Winston Churchill  and asked him to join the Hood Battalion in the newly formed Royal Naval Division. Freyberg was the first soldier on the beach during the Gallipoli Campaign  and the youngest General in the British Army during the First World War, later serving on the Western Front where he was decorated with the Victoria Cross. He liked to be in the thick of action, Winston Churchill  called him “the Salamander” due to his love of fire. During the Second World War, he commanded the New Zealand Expeditionary Force   in the Battle of Crete (see Bruno Bräuer , the North African Campaign and the Italian Campaign. Freyberg here with Montgomery was involved in defeat in the Battle of Greece, defeated again as the Allied commander in the Battle of Crete and performed successfully commanding the New Zealand division in the North African, including the Battle of El Alamein. He was injured in a plane crash in September 1944. After six weeks in hospital, he returned as commander of the New Zealand Division and was involved in their final military operations, which involved crossing a number of rivers. The division advanced 402 kilometers within three weeks. During the German surrender, the New Zealand division had reached Trieste and met the Yugoslav partisans led by General Petar Drapšin . By now the division had liberated both Padua and Venice. In July 1945, a third buckle was added to his DSO and he was also named a Commander of the American Legion of Merit. In Italy, he was defeated again at the Second Battle of Cassino as a corps commander, but later relieved Padua and Venice, and was first to enter Trieste, where he successfully confronted Josip Broz Tito‘s Partisans. By the end of World War II, Freyberg had spent ten and a half years fighting the Germans.

Death and burial ground of Freyberg, Bernard Cyril 1st Baron “the Salamander”.

 Freyberg died at Windsor, age 74, on 04-07-1963, following the rupture of one of his war wounds, and was buried in the churchyard of St Martha on the Hill near Guildford, Surrey.

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