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Author Topic: Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO  (Read 6718 times)

Robin Knight

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Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO
« on: 23 June 2013 10:24:28 AM »

I'm looking for any information about Mike Cumberlege. He joined the RN from the Nautical College, Pangbourne, in about 1922. By the start of WW11 he was a Lt. Cdr. In about 1940/41 he was recruited for secret operations. During the German invasion of Crete he was captain of the caique Dolphin which had been armed and refitted in Haifa for clandestine missions. He won the DSO at some point and loved Greece and the Greeks. He spent months ashore on Crete in 1943 but was eventually captured by the Germans, tortured and shot by the SS in Saschsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin in about 1944.

He was reported Missing during WW11. In his obituary in the NCP's Log in 1945 he was described as "truly Elizabethan in character - a combination of gaiety and solidity and sensitiveness and poetry with daring and adventurousness and great courage."

If anyone out there can add to this record I would be most grateful - details from his service record, for example, or anything more about his activities on Crete and his death.
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PhiloNauticus

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Re: Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO
« Reply #1 on: 24 June 2013 11:04:46 AM »


I can add only a little - he was not RN, but rather RNR.   Shown in Navy Lists as Midshipman, Royal Navy Reserve, seniority 1 May 1922.
 
Promoted Sub-Lieutenant RNR 7 March 1928
Placed on the Retired List (RNR) 24 September 1937 at own request.
1940 - recalled to service
Promoted to Lieutenant Commander, RNR, 21 February 1944

London Gazette shows he was awarded two DSO's:
1st gazetted 20 Jan 1942  whilst CO of caique Hedgehog
2nd gazetted 3 Dec 1946 (i.e. posthumously) "for gallantry and determination of the highest order in clandestine operations behind enemy lines in Greece Jan-Feb 1943".

Also awarded Greek War Cross (3rd class), gazette of 11 August 1942
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PhiloNauticus

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Re: Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO
« Reply #2 on: 24 June 2013 02:03:18 PM »


...and a little more. He was awarded the first DSO for taking the caique  'Hedgehog' to occupied Crete, where, after successfully landing an SOE agent, picked up 86 soldiers that had evaded capture during the German occupation of the island.

He was captured as part of a team that was attempting to block the Corinth canal.
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PhiloNauticus

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Re: Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO
« Reply #3 on: 24 June 2013 02:04:32 PM »


.... and a search on the internet reveals that he spent 1937-40 in Cap d'Antibes, France, skippering private yachts in the Med.
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Robin Knight

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Re: Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO
« Reply #4 on: 02 July 2013 08:45:39 AM »

Many thanks indeed for your help!

The first DSO was won in November 1941 for the rescue of the 86 Allied troops from Crete mentioned above. Many of these were New Zealanders according to the official NZ history of WW11. This was, in fact, the second such rescue Cumberlege undertook - he had achieved a similar feat in Hedgehog the month before of about 50 Allied troops.

If anyone comes up with anything else, do please let me know!
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spooks1959

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Re: Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO
« Reply #5 on: 19 August 2013 12:08:33 PM »

Thanks to Hans Houterman at http://www.unithistories.com the service history of Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO is now available - follow the link below.

http://t.co/Y0ZgSKtjRR
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spooks1959

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Re: Lt. Cdr. C.M.B. Cumberlege RN DSO
« Reply #6 on: 03 April 2014 11:32:24 AM »

Robin's research has culminated in an article 'In search of Mike Cumberlege' which has just been published on the Royal Navy Research Archive web site.

Follow this link to read about the life and death of an unsung British hero:
http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/Mike_Cumberlege.htm
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