Personal info

  • Name: Bernard Cyril FREYBERG
  • D.O.B: 21st March, 1889
  • D.O.A: 14th November, 1916
  • D.O.D: 4th June, 1963
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) commanding Hood Battalion, 189th Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division
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Beaucourt-sur-l’Ancre, France 13-14 November 1916

13-14 November 1916

More details about:
The First World War. 1916 

In the Battle of the Ancre, which began on 13 November 1916, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division was allotted the assault on Beaucourt-sur-l’Ancre. After heavy fighting the three German defence lines were taken on the first day. The British then dug in for the night. On the following morning, Lieutenant Colonel B C Freyberg personally led the successful attack on Beaucourt. The Battle of the Ancre officially ended on 18 November and was the last engagement in the Battle of the Somme.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and brilliant leading as a Battalion Commander. By his splendid personal gallantry he carried the initial attack straight through the enemy’s front system of trenches. Owing to mist and heavy fire of all descriptions, Lieutenant-Colonel Freyberg’s command was much disorganised after the capture of the first objective. He personally rallied and re-formed his men, including men from other units who had become intermixed. He inspired all with his own contempt of danger. At the appointed time he led his men to the successful assault of the second objective – many prisoners being captured. During this advance he was twice wounded. He again rallied and re-formed all who were with him, and although unsupported in a very advanced position, he held his ground for the remainder of the day, and throughout the night, under heavy artillery and machine gun fire. When reinforced on the following morning, he organised the attack on a strongly fortified village and showed a fine example of dash in personally leading the assault, capturing the village and five hundred prisoners. In this operation he was again wounded. Later in the afternoon, he was again wounded severely, but refused to leave the line till he had issued final instructions. The personality, valour and utter contempt of danger on the part of this single Officer enabled the lodgment in the most advanced objective of the Corps to be permanently held, and on this point d’appui the line was eventually formed. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 15 December 1916. 15 December 1916, Numb. 29866, p. 12307

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