Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II
283 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
Undesirable delay is being experienced in securing a ship to take the draft of 5000 ex-furlough and reinforcement personnel to the Middle East. In the first instance the Admiralty was informed that the draft would be ready to embark on 30 October, but we found it necessary to postpone its departure until 30 November. The Mooltan, with a capacity of 4289 only, was then allotted and was scheduled to arrive here on 9 December, but we have just been informed that it will not now arrive until early January. This further delay will result in our 2nd Division being without a large number of experienced officers and NCOs who are returning from furlough, and will also disturb the reinforcement training plan in Egypt, besides delaying the departure for New Zealand of the second furlough party referred to in my telegram of 8 November.
His Majesty's Government in New Zealand realise that it is probably impracticable to speed up the arrival of the Mooltan, but it would be greatly appreciated if arrangements could be made for an earlier embarkation, and preferably in a ship capable of taking the whole draft of 5000.
With further reference to my telegram of 8 November, I have now been informed that the approximate number to be lifted will be 2700.