Sir Bernard Freyberg was known for many things; as an extraordinary soldier, Governor-General and champion swimmer.
But one of the most astonishing things he did was completely alone and naked.
On the troop ship the Kennet, young Freyberg was detailed to take a platoon ashore at the Gulf of Saros, the morning of April 25, 1915, at the start of the Gallipoli campaign.
The platoon was tasked with lighting flares on the beach to distract the enemy from the main attack, but Freyberg, a champion swimmer, asked to do it. He was sure his swimming ability would help.
So, naked, except for a revolver and a knife, oiled up and blackened, he slipped over the side and began the swim in icy waters towing a raft filled with flares. At one point he was aware of something big swimming with him.
He made the shore, slowly making his way up the beach, getting close enough to the enemy lines he could hear them talking.
Crawling along he lit the first flare. Immediately he was surrounded by gunfire but continued lighting more as he went.
Then he got back in the water and swam back.
It worked to divert the enemy from the main landing.
What was even more astonishing was the night before he had spent most of the night helping to dig the grave of young English poet Rupert Brooke.
Freyberg was born in Richmond, London on March 21, 1889, the youngest son of James Freyberg and Julia Hamilton. The family came to New Zealand in 1891.
He attended Wellington College. He was not academic but made his mark as a swimmer, being the 100 yards champion in 1906 and 1910.
At first he wanted to be a doctor, but instead trained as a dentist, practising in Hamilton and Levin.
In 1914 he set off for San Francisco but at the outbreak of war went to England.
He was wounded badly several times and during the first battle of the Somme he so distinguished himself in the capture of Beaucourt Village that he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
He continued to fight despite being wounded a number of times. He ended the war by leading a squadron to seize a bridge at Lessines in Belgium - one minute before the armistice came into effect.
On June 22, 1922 he married Barbara McLaren, a widow with two children and would have a son with her.
At the outbreak of the Second World War he took command of preparing troops and in 1939 was appointed to command the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
He was badly wounded in 1942 and again in 1944.
In 1945 Freyberg accepted an invitation to become New Zealand’s Governor General.
He later left in 1952 to return to England where he was made Baron Freyberg of Wellington, sitting in the House of Lords.
He died on July 4, 1963 from complications from a wound he sustained at Gallipoli and is buried in the churchyard of St Martha on the Hill.