Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II
264 — General Freyberg to the Prime Minister
General Freyberg to the Prime Minister
With reference to your telegram of 22 May (No. 261), I am cabling separately on the general question of the scheme. I should be pleased, however, to receive an early direction regarding non-divisional Engineers. They are sharing in the scheme of exchange on equal terms with other field units. After the draft has left in June the situation will be as follows:
The Railway Construction and Maintenance Group will have sufficient to maintain two companies instead of the present three. General Headquarters, Middle East, desire to use this Group, or what is left of it, in the forthcoming operations.
The Railway Operating Group will have sufficient to maintain one company instead of two. General Headquarters desire to use this Group, or what is left, in the forthcoming operations.
The 18th Army Troops Company is practically unaffected. General Headquarters desire particularly to use this company in the forthcoming operations.
The 19th Army Troops Company is affected to a small degree and the 21st Mechanical Equipment Company not at all. These companies are carrying on with their present work in North Africa.
I presume that the approval given in your telegram of 22 May applies to these units also, and that I can now tell General Headquarters that they may be used within their remaining capacity, but I would be pleased to have confirmation of this.
As regards their later disposal, there would appear to be three possibilities:
To keep them up to their original strength—in which case replacements will be required when the draft returns from New Zealand in early August.
Not to send replacements but allow them to gradually disappear.
To break them up here and use them as reinforcements for the 2nd New Zealand Division.
I suggest that their future disposal could be discussed when I am in New Zealand.