Bernard Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg
Lieutenant-General Bernard Cyril Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg
VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO & Three Bars (21 March 1889 – 4 July 1963), was a British-born New Zealand Victoria Cross recipient and
soldier who later served as the seventh Governor-General of New Zealand.
A veteran of the Mexican Revolution, he became an officer in the British Army during the First World War. 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—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, the North African Campaign and the Italian Campaign. Freyberg 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.
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 Tito's partisans. By the end of the Second World War, Freyberg had spent ten and a half years fighting the Germans. Following the war Freyberg was invited to be New Zealand's Governor-General. A popular choice for the post, he was our first Governor-General with a New Zealand upbringing. He left London on 3 May 1946, bringing with him material to assist in New Zealand government in its compilation of an official war history. He maintained a strong interest in the project during his term, which was extended from five to six years in light of an impending royal visit and other issues. He left New Zealand on 15 August 1952. On his return to England Freyberg frequently sat in the House of Lords, having been raised to the peerage in 1951. From 1953 until his death he acted as Deputy Constable and Lieutenant Governor in charge of Windsor Castle. He died at Windsor on 4 July 1963 following the rupture of one of his war wounds.
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