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Cuthbert Freyberg

Group Photo, WW1, Auckland Sub-Lieutenants of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who are attending the Royal Naval College Greenwich. From left to right : Back row – J.T. Merry , H.A. Le Pine , R. Philson , G. S. Reid , W.I. Nolan , W.R. Ingram V.W. Back, L. Jenkinson, T. C. Webster. Middle row – E.C. Alexander, A.E. Choyce, C. Reston, T.E. LeHoquet, W.A .Smith, J. C. Hewson, S, H. G. McIlveen, C. Freyberg, Front row - A. V. Swales, D. V. Hanna, Lieutenant J. O. Ingram R.N.R. Capt W. H. Montanaro, R.N.R. Lieut. W.J. Le Lacheur (members of the college staff) C. Leys, C.F. Foote, and R.P.H. Mays. (Copyright © Royal New Zealand Navy Museum. Photo number ABX 0015. All enquiries for use: )

Group Photo, WW1, Auckland Sub-Lieutenants of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who are attending th …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Cuthbert AWMM
  • Surname
    Freyberg AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • WWI 2/91 AWMM
    • WWI 801233 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    16 July 1886 AWMM LondonEngland AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • WW1 Pre 1 August 1914 AWMM 34 MacDonald Crescent, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW1 Pre 1915 AWMM 34 MacDonald Crescent, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW2 Pre 6 November 1940 AWMM Palmerston North, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • WW1 Mrs Julia Freyberg (mother), 34 MacDonald Crescent, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW1 Mrs Julia Freyberg (mother), 34 MacDonald Crescent, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW2 Mrs Helen Mary Stuart Freyberg (wife), 97 North Street, Palmerston North, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status


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  • Medals and Awards

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
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  • POW serial number

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  • Medical notes

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Cuthbert Freyberg was the son of James and Julia Freyberg.

    The Freybergs migrated to New Zealand and moved to Wellington in 1891.

    Four brothers served in WW1: Oscar Freyberg (RNVR) killed 1915; Cuthbert Freyberg (2/91); Paul Milton Freyberg (12374) died of wounds 1917 and Bernard Cyril Freyberg (4006) who went on to serve in WW2 as well

    Gazetted temporary Lieutenant (on probation) for duty with the RFC 14 March 1917

    Excerpt from the Yachting Monthly August 1917. The Origin of the “ML.”.

    "The American Press claims for the United States the Initiation of the M.L. Patrol, and I have denied their right so to do. I have no wish to disparage the fine work done by Americans, but I feel it is but right that credit should be awarded where it is due. It is indeed my duty to give the following information, for probably none other can do so:
    On the outbreak of war three New Zealand brothers offered their services, which were immediately accepted. Being yachtsmen they looked to the sea for work and two of them joined the Naval Division. These were the eldest and the youngest, Oscar Freyberg and Bernard Freyberg. The body of the former now lies at the bottom of the Mediterranean, he being drowned on June 7th of last year. Bernard, aged twenty-eight, is Brigadier-General Freyberg, V.C., D.S.O., now fighting in France, and the youngest officer of his rank in the British Army. The third brother, Paul Freyberg, served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in France, and many a charming letter I received from him, written in the trenches, and all breathing the same sentiment- a great desire to get back to the sea and to the boats he loved. I say loved, for recently his letters ceased. I made enquires as to the cause and I have just learned of his death. It was some time before I discovered the identity of the brothers, and I believe a fourth, Second Lieutenant Cuthbert Freyberg, is in the Royal Flying Corps and now in training.
    However, all this is beside the question, and can wait. My present concern is with Oscar Freyberg, the eldest of his family. It was when the war was young that he first called upon me, whilst going through a course of training with the naval Division, in which he held a commission. The problem of the submarine was arousing some concern at the time, and Freyberg having employed a novel method of hunting whales in New Zealand, formulated a scheme for submarine warfare on the lines of his whaling experience. He had, he said, a fast motor launch which carried a harpoon gun forward. With this boat he attacked his quarry and wore it down. Speed and one reliable weapon accounted for the whale; why not a submarine? With that idea he developed his system, which was to build a large number of motor launches carrying one good gun and having a speed of 25 to 30 knots. That was his scheme, and in the light of fuller experience its shrewdness cannot be denied. He put the matter before the Admiralty; the idea met with approval and he was invited to put his boat on paper, with the details of construction and power installation. To do so he came to The Yachting Monthly, which he knew as an old New Zealand subscriber. He told me of his proposals, told me of “My Lords” request, and within a short time he was in touch with a naval architect, capable of producing the necessary facts, and figures. When next we met he had the satisfaction of knowing that his idea was accepted; but, unfortunately perhaps, he was not retained to follow subsequent stages of the scheme. It was, I understood, turned over to the “proper department” and with great satisfaction I awaited events. What a magnificent chance for our builders, I thought, hundreds of lissom, clever craft, manned by our more experienced yachtsmen! And what sport! With 25 to 30 Knots tucked away in the engine room, and a good gun in the eyes of her! I made suggestions and enquiries alternately. Courteously thanked for the former and sidetracked in regard to the latter I remained a puzzled if expectant watcher. It is not difficult to imagine my grief when I learned that the whole contract was taken to the United States and placed there at rates which were sufficient to “boost “boat building stock to levels beyond the dreams of avarice. And while British builders were trying to keep the wolf from their yard gates by building, as direct of sub-contractors, gigs, cutters, and pinnaces for war vessels in course of construction. That matter, however, can wait also.

    But to Oscar Freyberg of Wellington, New Zealand, and some time Lieutenant in the Naval Division, belongs the credit of the M.L. Patrol as far as its inception is concerned, and I think it is due to his memory that he should receive full credit for it." AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    26 September 1973 AWMM
    Age 87 AWMM
    KaeoNorthland AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Kerikeri Cemetery, Wiroa Road, Bay of Islands, New Zealand AWMM RSA Section. Block VIII. Plot 23 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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