Britain 2011 - Day 28


Our last day on this trip. We headed north, making the pilgrimage to St Martha on the Hill at Chilworth to pay our respects to Sir Bermard and Lady Barbara Freyberg. And then we found our way through Reading to visit a long-lost family friend. Then it was a short hop to Heathrow to drop the rental car (it was their problem what to do with the Alfa from Edinburgh) and then onto the plane for the long haul back to New Zealand via Hong Kong.

St Martha on the Hill at Chilworth

On our way back to Heathrow we took the time to divert into the countryside and find the small village of Chilworth. Above the village lies a long ridge with a small church - St Marthas on the Hill. This is the resting place of Lord Bernard Freyberg and his wife Lady Barbara Freyberg. Bernard or "Tiny" as he was known was the GOC (General Officer Commanding) of the New Zealand Army in WWII. He was a popular leader with the troops but did not always get on with other commanders.

Although born in England, he spent his early years in New Zealand before returning to London in 1914 (via the Mexican Revolution) to join the British Army. As he tells it, he strode down Whitehall trying to decide whether to enlist, when he spied a shortish rotund gentleman scurrying across the road. Thinking that he looked familar he stopped the man and asked if he would provide assistance for Freyberg to gain a commission to join the newly created Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Churchill willingly obliged. It was a chance meeting that served both men well in a later war. Rarely, both Bernard and Barbara were each knighted. They are buried together at St Martha on the Hill along with their son Paul.

St Martha on the Hill.
The view from the church
The Freyberg graves.
Barbara on the left, Bernard on the right and son Paul behind..
The interior of St Martha on the Hill.
The plaque on the wall recording the lives of Sir Bernard and Lady Barbara.

And then it was off to Heathrow once again to drop the rental car at Mr Budget - told him he had to get the Alfa back to Edinburgh - and then it was time to check in and board our B777 for Hong Kong and Auckland.

Phew, what a trip - tiring but worth every penny and every hour we spent.

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Last updated: 19/06/2017