The Home Front Volume II
CHAPTER 15 — Manpower is Directed
Manpower is Directed
TOWARDS the end of 1941, with more than 81 000 men and more than 1000 women gone from industry into the Services, it was clear that the work-force would very soon have to be directed, focussed and increased. Appeals in the public interest against military service, hitherto the only stabilising factor, had become inadequate when all other workers were free in the growing labour shortage to sell themselves to the highest bidder. Plans for control, modelled on British experience, were on the stocks well before December 1941,1 but were brought forward by Japan's attack, which at once sucked thousands into the Army while vastly increasing the need for industrial and defence construction workers.
Civilian manpower controls began on 10 January 1942 and were gradually extended. The Government Placement Service, once concerned with relief of unemployment and the matching of jobs with people, became overnight, in its 22 centres, the Manpower Office, a branch of the National Service Department. To begin with it was decreed that workers in industries declared essential could not leave or be dismissed without the consent of the District Manpower Officer. A worker wanting to leave, or an employer wanting to be rid of him, had to give this official at least seven days' notice, and receive his permission. For serious misconduct an employer could still dismiss a worker, but he might be reinstated, not necessarily to the same position, if the Manpower Officer thought the dismissal unjustified. In such matters, either side could appeal to Manpower (Industrial) Committees in the main centres. Despite better pay offering elsewhere, the outflow of labour from essential work was checked, though as the future soon proved, a good deal of job movement was still possible within ‘essential’ boundaries.
Traditionally, New Zealand labour was highly mobile. Conditions in many firms were spartan, often worse, but both workers and management accepted this as normal, and the desirability of a job was page 664 measured mainly by the money paid. Although most factories were relatively small and relations based on understanding might have been possible Dr A. E. C. Hare, who during the early Forties pioneered research into industrial relations, found otherwise. With a few happy exceptions, businessmen relied on the surplus of labour that enabled them to engage and dismiss at will, without needing to build up a permanent staff, so that ‘employers tend to regard labour only in terms of cost, without regard to the complicated tangle of human emotions involved in the employment relationship, and the workers regard employment solely in terms of its advantages in cash.’2 For more than a year the war had promoted restlessness by favouring the worker: increasingly, he would shift from job to job without compunction, in pursuit of a bigger pay packet; he could even afford to dislike the boss. It was necessary to restrict this movement, which besides disrupting supplies and services, pushed up wages and inflation; it was considered not expedient, probably not possible, to arrest it altogether.
‘Essential’ industry became a term of very wide application. The first lists contained such obvious essentials as munitions, defence construction, mines, timber-mills, power supply, freezing works, butter and cheese factories. These lists were rapidly extended, often through the interdependence of one industry or unit on another, to cover not only whole industries and services needed by the war and the community, but many separate businesses producing, often remotely or only in part, for military orders. When an industry or firm officially explained that it was unable to obtain enough labour, the National Service Department would investigate its situation, suggesting adjustments or alternatives that might appear helpful. A declaration of essentiality, if recommended by the Department and approved in turn by the production committee of the War Council and by War Cabinet, would be signed by the Minister of Labour and published in the New Zealand Gazette. For instance, on 25 June 1942 the boot and shoe repairing industry was declared essential; on 15 July 1942, all commercial laundries, dry cleaning and dye works, except those run by Chinese.3 Firms or sections of firms were added or deleted by amendments to previous orders: in July 1942, the Wellington Slipper Company was added to the list, as were Dalgety's at Wellington, with respect only to the repair, maintenance and installation of sheep-shearing machines, and Berlei at Auckland, page 665 with respect only to battledress-making.4 In August 1942 the fourteenth list added 73 undertaking firms to the essential score, along with the Public Service, tobacco manufacturers, pastrycooks, plumbers and gas fitters.5
Meanwhile, to provide these essential industries with more labour than they attracted to themselves, men and women in various age groups, and all men with experience in certain hard-pressed trades, were required to register at local Manpower offices and were liable to be directed to urgent work. Such registration was required in March 1942 of men aged 46–9, women of 20 and 21 years, and men aged 18–70 with experience in building, engineering and metal trades. All men of 50 registered in April; in May, men aged 18– 65 who had timber work experience; in July, women of 22 to 25 years living near Hamilton (for a local munitions factory). Women of 22 and 23 years registered in August, those of 24 to 30 in September, and men aged 51–9 in October 1942.6 In February 1943 scientists and technicians and women of 18–19 years filled in their forms and, the following January, women aged 31–40. Aliens who were not naturalised were included with everyone else, except alien males of military age who were left out till 8 October 1942, when they were required to register for industry.7 Men aged 18–45 found unfit for military service were automatically listed for essential employment.
To lessen the paper work, from the outset persons already in essential occupations or unsuitable in various ways were not required to register. Thus invalids, war pensioners and those in hospital or prison were exempt from registration, along with merchant seamen, farmers, working proprietors of businesses, civilians employed in the Services, police, firemen, miners, railwaymen, gas and electricity suppliers, doctors, dentists, opticians, chemists, hospital workers, judges, magistrates, ministers of religion, members of Parliament. Fit men held on appeal from military service were also excluded.8
To prevent luxury or frivolous undertakings enticing workers away from occupations more valuable to the community but not protected by being declared essential, labour inflow to the low priority jobs was checked by an order in May 1942 (1942/135). This made Manpower consent necessary for the engagement of any employee in page 666 listed areas where labour was scarce in scheduled non-essential occupations (such as making beer, cordials, confectionary, fancy goods in general, washing machines, lawn mowers and refrigerators, frocks, millinery, umbrellas) and work in retail shops except those selling food or drugs. The inflow check was stiffened in November 1942 by another regulation (1942/319), which required Manpower consent in labour-short areas for the engagement of any worker except for work in five categories: in any essential industry or firm; on any farm, orchard or market garden; on any ship or wharf; at midwifery and nursing; in casual work lasting not more than three days.9 From May 1942 to August 1945, employers sought permission to engage 86 791 persons for non-essential work and were refused in only 4550 cases. Women were more readily permitted to engage in non-essential work than men were and there was automatic consent for persons of less than 18 years, for widows of servicemen and for down-graded returned servicemen.10 Women over 40 years of age and most men of 60 or more were outside Manpower range.
Through the 22 District Manpower Offices, the State reached out into the lives and occupations of thousands as it never had before. The officials themselves were not over-numerous: they totalled 195 men and 48 women in March 1942, 317 men and 189 women a year later, and increased only slightly thereafter.11 But the word ‘Manpower’ came into wide and varied use, indicating how these regulations penetrated the whole fabric of employment: ‘Manpower is holding on to him’; ‘He's been Manpowered into cement’—or carpentry or the meatworks; ‘How did he get past Manpower?’; ‘Her firm came under Manpower last week’; ‘Manpower will catch up with him sooner or later’. By 1945 it could even enter the title of a locally-produced children's book, The Three Brown Bears and the Manpower Man.
Such power had to be used discreetly, if it were not to excite resentment and defeat its purpose. From registration forms Manpower officers sorted out those already in work of national importance, leaving them as they were; from the others they strove to meet the stream of assorted vacancies that poured upon them, some straightforward, some incessant and difficult. The first directions were of persons whose transfer would make the least disturbance to themselves and their employers: those not employed, or in light-weight page 667 jobs, those who lived near vacant jobs, those whose skill, training and current pay matched positions needing them. It was not policy to shift skilled workers to unskilled jobs or to pay them less than they were receiving or to drain any particular undertaking in comparison with others. Manpower respected industries not declared essential but still important in community value, and even in less essential concerns sought to leave a nucleus sufficient for rapid recovery when peace came. In each group, registered direction was progressive; the easiest directions were made first, but after further groups were registered and sifted to the same extent, earlier groups were squeezed again, with dislocation and hardship gradually increasing as national need persisted.12
Apart from the willingness or unwillingness of workers to accept new jobs, the reluctance, often anguish, of employers faced with the loss of valued staff perplexed Manpower officers and appeal committees. For instance: a flatlock machinist who produced 24–5 dozen men's athletic vests daily was, declared her employer, the best girl he had ever had, 20 per cent ahead of the rest. Her work made a difference of 100–120 dozen to the weekly ouput of his small firm, which although it had obtained an Army contract could not be declared essential because it had fewer than 12 hands. She had been moved to a double sewing machine in a firm with war contracts and a staff of 85, who were asked to work 53 hours a week and were expected to produce a minimum of 10 canvas kitbags each an hour. This firm, finding her versatile and a very good worker whereas most of those sent by Manpower were of very little use, held her against the appeal of her first employer.13
Tact was officially prescribed. ‘Interviews should be conducted in a spirit of mutual understanding in the light of the national emergency and Manpower officers should try to obtain the willing co-operation of every man interviewed, at the same time explaining the powers vested in them under Regulation 31.’14 After a year, National Service claimed that administration had been ‘carried out with a wide exercise of discretion and the avoidance of harshness, and in the early period considerable leniency was allowed.’15 More robustly, an Auckland Star article had stated earlier: ‘People are not sent into industry willy nilly … it is largely a question of “horses for courses”. Were it otherwise, industry while getting the required number of workers, would not get the required production.’16 In the first few page 668 months of 1942, up to 30 June, only 4066 directions were issued to men and 475 to women, but by the end of that year Manpower officials had grown bolder, giving out more than 4000 directions in December 1942, more than 6000 in both April and May 1943, though the monthly number thereafter eased back considerably. The rate was to quicken during 1944—5 when the Third Division returned to the labour field, with a peak of 9375 in July 1944.17
With workers tied to jobs, it was established that firms would not be declared essential unless their wages and conditions were up to the general standard of the industry.18 Current rates of pay, even if above award levels, could not be reduced and incoming workers received the same rates.19 In October 1942, as protection against loss of pay if work were intermittent, minimum weekly wage rates covering all essential industries were fixed: £5 10s> for men, £2 17s 6d for women and £1 15s for juniors.20
Transfers were limited by the difficulty of sending workers to highly essential jobs with lower pay than they were already receiving. Manpower did not wish to install aggrieved workers, and the Federation of Labour asked in October 1942 that those transferred should not suffer financial loss.21 Some might be willing and able to accept reductions as part of their war effort, slight when ranged against soldiers' sacrifices; for others it would mean a severe and unequal reduction of living standards. Manpower authorities proposed financial assistance, pointing out, for instance, that a Christchurch girl, on £2 15s a week as a shop assistant, if transferred to the Kaiapoi woollen mills, would receive £2 4s 9d, less 7s 6d in bus fares, leaving £1 17s 3d a week, an effective reduction of 17s 9d or 32 per cent of her former earnings.22 Treasury proposed that losses in earnings of transferred workers should be made up for three months, giving them time to adjust, urging that continued subsidising would be costly and create jealousy among the other workers.23 It was finally decided by War Cabinet that workers transferred to lower paid jobs could claim compensation, up to a maximum of £2 a week for men or £1 for women, with total income, exclusive of overtime, not exceeding £8 or £5 respectively.24 Further, a married man directed away from his home and maintaining it while paying board could page 669 claim separation allowance of 30s a week; for workers sent away from home fares were also to be paid.25
Up to 1944, National Service ran such assistance very thriftily. On compensation for direction to lower paid jobs, only £2,650 had been expended by March 1944 (£1,753 to men, £897 to women); in the following year subsidies to women totalled £5,210, to men £2,726 and in 1945–6 rose to £15,713 for women, £8,378 for men. This was distributed over a wide range of industries, but farming, clothing, tobacco, engineering, woollen goods, railway and social services such as hospitals claimed the largest shares.26 Separation and travelling allowances expanded similarly. The former totalled £8,364 up to March 1944, rising steeply to £22,391 and £27,526 in the next two years, while travelling expenses totalled £9,068, £11,778 and £16,682 for these three years.27
By the end of 1942, essential industries had claimed some 230 000 workers, about one-third of the working population.28 By March 1944 this figure had increased to 255 000, about 180 000 men and 75 000 women, 40 per cent of the 634 000-strong labour force.29 At the same time, another 153 000 were in farming, which despite its importance was never declared essential, though its labour demands were eased by other means: by direction, by braking on military recruitment and by seasonal or more lasting releases from the Army—apart from some 2000 Land Service women, and teachers and students working in their summer holidays.30 Farming was not declared essential partly because unwilling workers could not be trusted with animals and partly because the living arrangements of farmers and their workers were often so close that holding reluctant parties together would have produced intolerable situations.31
Within those industries classified as essential there was plenty of room for movement, provided that reasons could be given to Manpower officials. Up to March 1943 there were 62 000 applications to terminate employment, many from seasonal work and unavoidable, and only 8400, or 14 per cent, were refused. Of the rest, 22 per cent transferred to other employers in the same industry, 50 per cent to another essential industry, 5 per cent to non-essential industry page 670 and 23 per cent retired altogether. However, Manpower authorities claimed ‘a very considerable reduction in labour turnover’, stating that many thousands who would otherwise have left their employment had refrained, realising that their applications would have little chance of success.32 During 1943–4, some 6000 changes a month, a turnover of 2.3 per cent, were permitted, making a high yearly labour turnover of 27.6 per cent,33 mostly within essential industries. By March 1946, applications to terminate employment had totalled 304 218. Of these, 93 033 were from employers, of which 2676 or 2.9 per cent were refused, and 211 185 from employees, of which 30 733, or 14.6 per cent, were refused.34 The regulations required work to be performed with diligence and Manpower authorities were aware of some directed workers' attempts to make their employers glad to be rid of them.35
Figures of directions into essential industry show the volume of Manpower work, while the directions withdrawn, slightly more than one in ten up to March 1943, rather less during 1943–4, and slightly more again thereafter, suggest readiness to accept argument.36
|January 1942 to 31 March 1943|
|Total directions given||25 013||5 766||30 779|
|Number withdrawn||2 462||922||3 384|
|Number complied with||22 250||4 716||26 966|
|Number not complied with||301||128||429|
|1 April 1943 to 31 March 1944|
|Total directions given||46 325||13 354||59 679|
|Number withdrawn||4 083||1 308||5 391|
|Number complied with||41 295||11 692||52 987|
|Number not complied with||947||354||1 301|
|1 April 1944 to 31 March 1945|
|Total directions given||59 043||19 111||78 154|
|Number withdrawn||5 226||2 902||8 128|
|Number complied with||53 536||16 044||69 580|
|Number not complied with||281||165||446|
Between April 1945 and March 1946, men complied with 21 427 directions, women with 5128, making 26 555 for the final year and 176 088 for the war's total.37
With so many industries classed as essential the question arose, how essential was essential? Employers could and did claim that the making of prams or corsets or hair curlers or teddy bears, plus the continued existence of their own firms, was necessary for public well-being and morale.38 The Press on 13 March 1943 held that application of the term had been so widened that the purpose of the regulations, to distinguish plainly between essential and non-essential industries and to provide labour for the former at the expense of the latter, had been whittled down and blunted. Certainly problems were complex and far from clear-cut. Every woollen mill employee was necessary to clothe and blanket the forces and the nation; there could be no question about the need for munition workers or railwaymen, and presumably many public servants were needed, but it was hard to see the whole Public Service in this light or to be sure that every girl typing or driving for the Army would not be more usefully employed by her old firm; it was hard to see that a man could properly leave plough or cow to make mattresses or gumboots or biscuits.
With sections of firms declared essential, there was inevitably a good deal of looseness: one week 20 girls might be sewing khaki shirts while 10 sewed women's dresses, but the proportions might vary from week to week. Manufacturers were supposed to notify Manpower when military contracts ended or were reduced, and such commitments were supposed to be under constant review, but inevitably there were blurrings and time-lags. An employer with an Army contract would be loath to lose staff and have to queue again at the Manpower office if the contract might be renewed in the next month, and meanwhile there would be keen civilian demand for anything he could produce. For instance, an Auckland engineering firm which had contracts for munitions and for service buckles and badges claimed that at times about 80 per cent of its staff of 47 were on essential work, but an investigator from National Service found the munitions contract almost complete and the buckle-makers producing trinkets of jewellery, brooches and badges which had lately ‘been on the market in some abundance’. The Manpower office promptly removed six girls and threatened to take more; they were doing work ‘just the antithesis of what we expected’.39 A further page 672 employment restriction order of 23 March 1944,40 requiring Manpower consent to the engagement of almost any worker, attempted to check on degrees of essentiality.
There were penalties, fines of up to £50 or three months in prison, for evasions of the regulations but Manpower was not hungry for prosecutions. Its declared policy was reasonable leniency and the benefit of the doubt; anything else would have aroused self-defeating hostility. Its 1944 report stated:
Those who would advocate … rigorous severity … show little appreciation of the realities of work under wartime conditions, where pressure of work, shortness of staff, the lack of understanding of the import of regulations, and various other factors lead to the unintentional commission of minor offences by employers and where long hours of work, unfamiliar work and personal difficulties and worries frequently bring about the commission of offences by workers which do not imply any wilful evasion of obligations. In the view of the Department penalties exist for dealing with more serious and deliberate offences, and with persistent offenders, employers and workers.
It was pleasing that although 255 000 persons were subject to control, and so far more than 90 000 directions had been issued, only 796 prosecutions had been instituted in two years; 136 of these were withdrawn, 82 were incomplete, there had been 520 convictions and 58 dismissals.41
Manpower officers handled an immense amount of work and served long hours, often being available for interviews in evenings. They were aware of dealing with complex human and industrial problems, of their duty to treat both industry and workers fairly, within the framework of the war's needs. The report of 1944 stated that it was no easy thing to direct a worker to change his employment, to decide on an application to leave essential work or to deal with alleged absenteeism.
Workers and employers are thinking human beings with their own views, their own plans and tastes and hopes and interests and temperaments. Each is striving towards some goal, and is prepared to try various means of reaching it. Before a decision or direction is given, much investigation, interviewing and recording work must be carried out. Some workers and employers accept the direction or decision without question but in many cases a page 673 whole train of further interviews and negotiations is opened up by each action of the District Man-power Officer, leading at times to a modification of the step being taken or (in a few cases) to appeal, which means still more work.42
Manpower's vision of itself may well have been more sympathetic than its appearance to workers or employers, but not many appealed to the Manpower Industrial Committees set up in the four main centres (each with an employers' representative, a workers' representative and a government-appointed chairman). The 1944 report recorded that a steady 3 per cent of direction to essential work had given rise to appeals, about half of them successful; 2.5 per cent of decisions on terminating essential work produced appeals, about one-third succeeding; 3.5 per cent of fines for absenteeism led to appeals, of which a quarter succeeded.43 By 1946 a total of 494 618 decisions and directions, in these three areas, had been given, 14 450 or 2.9 per cent of them producing appeals, of which 5361 were won.44
From mid-1944, as shown by the figures listed,45 directions increased steeply, reflecting the shift of emphasis in the war effort from soldiering to production. The 3rd Division returned from the Pacific, some 9500 men being directed into essential work, while home service forces were firmly reduced. Also, under the replacement scheme, the long-service men of the 2nd Divison became available for direction. In their case most directions were merely formalities, given only with the full agreement of the men, though Grade I men under 41 years with fewer than 4 children were temporarily directed to essential industry to fill gaps left by men drawn into the Army.46 When fighting ended in Europe, Manpower controls were reviewed and at the end of June 1945 revocations of essentiality began,47 both for industries and for groups of people. By VJ Day (15 August 1945), undertakings employing in all about 10 000 workers had been freed from control by revocations, and from about this date consent was automatically given to any worker leaving a job except to men of 18 to 44 years inclusive who had not served overseas and single women of 18 to 19 years. Even within essential industries control was lessened. From the end of November 1945 it was not necessary to obtain Manpower consent for the engagement of new labour, provided that the engagement was notified within 48 hours. page 674 This requirement finished at the end of January 1946 when no employer needed official consent to engage or dismiss labour.48
After 30 August 1945 the Public Service was not designated essential, and revocations during the next three months freed 109 000 workers. In September, among the industries cleared were footwear repairs, shipbuilding, engineering, pastry-cooks' and butchers' shops; by mid-November biscuit factories, food canning, soapworks, road transport; by 6 December abattoirs, flax and paper mills, teaching, woolscouring and fellmongery were among those lately freed. On 31 January 1946 a large list included builders and their supplies trades, woollen, knitting and hosiery mills, plumbers, fertiliser and flour mills, furniture, gas, rubber, sack and tobacco manufactures, Public Works, tanneries, hotels and restaurants, timber yards, joinery, electricity, water supply and sanitation. Thereafter essentiality remained only on hospitals, tramways, dairy factories, freezing works, sawmills and coal mines. By 31 March 228 300 workers were cleared out of the 255 000 originally affected; only coalmining, meat freezing and sawmilling remained essential. By 29 June 1946 these last declarations and all remnants of industrial manpower regulations were withdrawn.49
To complement Manpower regulations in making the best use of labour there was fairly limited development of works councils and of manpower utilisation councils and committees. Before the war there was little consultation between workers and employers over production conditions and methods. Most employers did not welcome advice on how to run their factories, many employees were too new to their work to have much advice to offer, and trade union effort was towards obtaining wages and conditions as favourable as possible from employers and the Court of Arbitration. Pre-war works councils existed mainly in the large railway workshops, in meat works and in coal mines, and though concerned mainly with welfare complaints and disputes dealt also with production and efficiency.
Under war pressure, and advocated by the Federation of Labour,50 these works councils increased till by 1944 there were between 90 and 100; about 25 in meat works, 18 in coal mines, 8 in railway workshops, 17 in small government-run linen flax mills and about 30 in other undertakings.51 In general they did not function vitally; those in coal mines, notably, fell into disuse as mining's industrial page 675 relations deteriorated—but in some industries and branches of the Public Service, notably the Post and Telegraph Department, various efficiency committees proved helpful.52 In the war-activated building industries, James Fletcher, Commissioner of Defence Construction, advocating works councils in each firm with more than 30 men, circulated a draft constitution to employers and workers. But insistence that they should be optional and that employee's representatives should be chosen by management was unacceptable to the unions and deadlock resulted.53
As part of its Manpower activities, the National Service Department in 1942 began to organise national manpower utilisation councils and local committees in the chief industries. On these, workers and employers were represented in equal numbers, a National Service official was chairman and concerned government departments were also present. They were purely advisory bodies, to inform government on the manpower situation of the industry and on the effectiveness or otherwise of Manpower measures, and they met seldom. In some industries local committees, tributary to these councils and replicas at district level, were set up. They were more active than the councils, their advice improving the use of labour and keeping military service appeal boards aware of local pressures.54 By 1945, there were Dominion councils for about 22 industries. A few, such as food canning and preserving, butter, cheese and biscuit making and tanneries, had no local committees. Others, including the baking trade, clothing, gas making, electrical trades, footwear, plumbing and laundries had committees in the four main centres. A few, road transport, printing and publishing, engineering and furniture making, had 12 to 20 local committees; others ranged in between. Coal distribution had no Dominion council but four local committees; shipbuilding had its one committee at Auckland.55
The search for all available labour led even to prison gates. From July 1943, beginning in Auckland, all men and women on release were interviewed by District Manpower officers to place them in suitable essential work. This hastened the rehabilitation of ex-prisoners while avoiding waste of time and labour.56
For men, used now to military conscription, industrial conscription was not remarkable, but for women it was new and at the start page 676 it was tackled rather nervously. Later it became firmer, but continued to be gradual, tactful and far from universal. Authority tried to disturb employers, parents, conventions, and the girls themselves, as little as possible.
As the range of work accepting and seeking women widened, the number of women willing to do tedious or unattractive tasks shrank. Many girls, especially those in shops and offices, instead of waiting for direction to some distasteful task, sought out essential work acceptable to themselves, or volunteered into the Services, causing a ripple of job-movement ahead of Manpower pressure.57 There was general willingness to replace men directly, as on postal rounds, driving, on the trams and in work such as munitions-making that obviously contributed to the war effort.58 But there were many necessary, unglamorous jobs, such as domestic work in hospitals and hotels, waitressing, mental nursing, jam and pickle making, in woollen mills and meat canneries, which did not quicken the patriotic pulse and where employers turned anxiously to the Manpower office.
Several of the first industries declared essential, notably clothing, woollen mills and boot and shoe making, were largely staffed by women, who were thus in the Manpower bag from the outset, and other such declarations followed. There was no delicacy about holding women in jobs that they had already chosen, but there was, especially at the start, concern at giving directions to those who registered by age groups. At no stage were women caring for children under 16 years old obliged to register, though they were asked to volunteer if they could make arrangements for their children or for part-time work.
Besides the general recognition that willing workers were better than conscripts, authority did not wish to have industry studded with martyred ladies thrust into situations repellant to them. The Manpower approach could itself affect workers' attitudes, and tact was again clearly prescribed: ‘In the direction of women into essential work considerable care should be exercised in the method of approach which should be in the nature of the offer of an opportunity to give practical and valuable assistance to the war effort, and not a dictatorial direction to do so compulsorily.’59page 677
At the start WWSA interviewers helped to sort out registered girls as available, possibly available and not available;60 then Manpower officers interviewed the first two groups. Foremost for direction were those not working or in jobs of light responsibility and those, such as dressmakers, with skills that could be switched to war purposes. Girls willing to transfer were shifted first, and those who had no solid reason for objecting were coaxed, cajoled or ordered to move. At first, childless women keeping house for their husbands were not directed to work but, as pressure grew, policy changed and by the latter half of 1943 mere marriage was not enough to keep women from work of national importance.61 At Auckland in 1942 the first transfers of young women were from clothing establishments without service contracts to factories making uniforms etc.62 In Wellington by mid-May, 62 women had been directed to new jobs, 50 as clerical workers in the Services, while among the others a housemaid and a dressmaker became battledress machinists, a metal press operator was moved from match boxes to munitions and an upholsterer from civilian furniture to ships' upholstery.63 In Christchurch by the end of August, 120 women had been directed, mainly to the clothing trade, hospitals, woollen mills and to firms making gas masks.64
More than with men, it was ‘horses for courses’: girls from Remuera homes were not pushed out to Westfield. Manpower officers tried to match the girl and the job, and to offer choices. For instance, an Auckland office assistant in 1943 was offered laundry work, the Westfield cannery or mattress-making. The smell of meat and the thought of slaughter put Westfield beyond the pale, while mattres-smaking would fill her hair with fluff, but the laundry, though hot and exhausting, proved acceptable, with a cheerful atmosphere and plenty of pleasant company assembled from many a more elegant occupation.65 There was little embarrassment about a wide range of work that normally would have been considered unsuitable: hairdressers were happy as postgirls, shop assistants as railway porters or cooks.
Of course, not all were willing to change, for various reasons, and here Manpower officers had to decide whether or not compulsion would produce worthwhile returns. A mother objected to her daughter going to the Kaiapoi woollen mills lest, mixing with the crowd page 678 of girls there, she might learn to drink or smoke or forget her home training.66 A doctor's receptionist, with experience of filing in a government department, when asked to work in the records of Inland Revenue promised that if compelled to go there she would confuse every file that she could lay her hands on; she heard no more of the proposal.67 A nurse-attendant at Greenlane Hospital, who early in 1942 had accepted this position as the least of several evils, after some months no longer enjoyed the work and wished to leave in order to join one of the Services. Her appeal was dismissed, the chairman of the Auckland Manpower (Industrial) Committee saying, ‘Many people conscripted into positions are not happy, but today if they do not like it, they must be disciplined.’68 A 19-year-old wardsmaid, after three court appearances, was gaoled for 48 hours for failing to take up and remain in employment at Wellington Hospital.69 Three probationers who had volunteered for nursing later sought release on grounds that they had been mistaken in taking up this profession. This was refused by Manpower authorities, whereon they staged a sit-down strike at Blenheim hospital. ‘Have you ever worked at a job you loathe?’ one asked the magistrate, and another said that he could not force them to stay at nursing against their will. He replied that young men in the Army were giving their lives in work they did not like, and that he had power to make the girls work for three months in a place much more uncomfortable than the hospital. They were each fined £5.70
Some jobs were acutely unpopular, with mental hospitals and Westfield probably well in the lead. The enlarged canneries of the Westfield Freezing Company, working on overseas orders, needed about 450 women and were chronically plagued by staff shortage and absenteeism.71 The difficulties of transport, despite the Army truck pick-up system begun in 1943,72 work on Saturday mornings, the closeness of the main freezing works and the heavy smell of cooked meat were powerful detractions, despite publicity about pleasant facilities, good cafeteria, locker rooms, showers, gay chatter, no raw meat, and the sense of directly serving the fighting men; wages were from 45s to 70s 6d according to age, for a 40-hour week.73 A woman factory investigator cheeringly reported that the page 679 main room where the meat was cooked resembled a huge kitchen; the smell, though strong outside, was not noticeable within and there were hot and cold showers ‘so that girls need not take the atmosphere of their work away with them, as they did at some other factories.’ It was not, she concluded, a ‘job that we would seek in normal times, we girls from shops and offices, but it is not so terribly terrible as we would believe. The outside is a long way worse than the inside.’74 Despite such assurances a young woman, told in the Manpower office that decision on her case was reserved, withdrew declaring ‘I won't go to Westfield, I won't’, her mother following with a firm ‘Manpower or no manpower, she won't go to Westfield.’ The officer in question stated that every young lady sent to Westfield had protested vigorously, but more would have to be found.75
Appeals against work in mental hospitals were also conspicuous: for example, of 13 young Nelson women so directed 12 lodged appeals;76 in June 1943 there were 20 appeals, on the grounds of fear and hardship, against direction to Porirua;77 a month later, out of 31 girls so directed, there were 13 appeals, 6 allowed.78 The remoteness of some of these institutions, plus cold and cheerless staff quarters, may well have increased reluctance,79 and there was scattered public protest about the unsuitability of such work for young women, for instance from a few clergymen and others,80 by H. Atmore MP81 and the Mt Eden Borough Council.82 At first girls were persuaded to volunteer, but the shortage continued, intensifying the work of existing staff; direction was toughened, and there was strong reluctance to release anyone who wanted to leave.83
By March 1943 there were 110 503 women listed for work of national importance: 21 436 were aged 18–19 and 41 322 were 20–3; in the 24–30 years group, 20 898 were single, 13 746 were married but childless, and there were 13 101 others, either married with children but contriving to work, or women of more than 30 years who had volunteered.84 When the age range was extended to 40 years, the total rose to 146 862 by the end of March 1944; a further 10 646 registered during the next year, 8212 being the inflow page 680 of 18-year-olds, the rest of assorted ages, bringing the grand total to 157 508 by 31 March 1945.85
Not nearly all these were available for Manpower manipulation. Apart from family responsibilities, many were already in essential work or work of sufficient value for them to be left undisturbed. Thus by September 1942, in the Auckland area where 4233 women of 20–1 years had registered, only 1000 were liable for direction; the second group, of 22 to 23-year-olds, had yielded 2500 registrations of which 600 to 700 could be directed. It was expected that of the 24–30 years group in the Auckland area about one-fifth would be available. Continuous review went on, however, with the threshold of availability being lowered as demand increased.86 In the first six months of the regulations 7000 workers, including 1000 women, were drafted to new jobs.87 By March 1946, women had complied with 37 580 directions, men with 138 508.88 It must be remembered that one person could comply with several successive directions.
The Labour Department reported in 1943 that while thousands of women had entered essential occupations of their own accord, ‘various analyses’ had shown that a ‘fair number’ were not in any employment before direction.89 Statistics were not kept until October 1943 but, between then and March 1945, women sent into industry who at the time of direction were not gainfully employed numbered 8205. Of these, farming (which included vegetable-growing etc) claimed 1517, engineering 441, food and drink 705, textiles and footwear 1547, other secondary industries 451, shops and warehouses 82, offices 676, hospitals 1147, hotels 1285, miscellaneous 354.90
Apart from those not previously employed, there was a general swing away from shops, offices and less essential factory work to the growing list of industries labelled essential. Sometimes this meant going to quite different work, sometimes movement within one's trade. Among the first to be moved were clothing machinists, from non-essential to priority work. This pressure towards military orders and utility clothing had to be sustained, for neither the girls nor their employers favoured such work, and Service orders fluctuated. By 1943 a pro rata system was established: firms not on war work page 681 with a staff of 4 to 10 were expected to yield one employee for essential work when demanded, a staff of 10 to 20 would lose two, and so on.91 Without such a quota system, small businesses depending on a handful of skilled women could have collapsed, worsening existing shortages and leaving the post-war industrial stage very empty. Women, to a greater extent than men, were permitted to engage in work not covered by declarations of essentiality,92 though these declarations covered a wide field.
In the clothing trade, for instance, it was not only firms with military orders that bore the stamp of essential industry: those making shirts, pyjamas and other utility lines, and children's clothing, shared the label. An advertisement in January 1943 instances the coaxing tone adopted in the competition for workers, with ‘essential industry’ being an advantage, implying not serfdom but security, with youth no barrier:
Children's Clothing and Underclothing. Apprentices, 13 to 17, are required in this always essential industry. Parents, have your daughter taught a trade that will always be useful in her private life. Light, dainty, interesting work in light, airy, pleasant surroundings, 40-hour 5-day week. Very high standard of pay with easily earned bonuses. Paid holidays, cafeteria under qualified matron. This is a declared essential industry and all our employees' positions are guaranteed permanent.93
When those in essential or permitted occupations, plus those with domestic responsibilities, were sorted out, relatively few were available for direction within range of their homes. In country towns girls remained lightly employed.94 Many on their own initiative moved to the cities, finding board for themselves or through friends, and they were urged to do so by the National Service Department.95 At Wellington, the YWCA helped both girls and the Department through its transients' hostel, and by systematically searching out good landladies.96
Some manufacturers, especially of clothing, met their labour problems by establishing factories in smaller towns. This began in 1942, notably at Masterton which by 1945 had five clothing factories, and at Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Hawera, Wanganui, Napier, page 682 Levin, Thames and Timaru.97 In 1939 there were 515 clothing factories in the four main centres, 70 in secondary towns; in 1945 there were 524 in the main centres, 91 elsewhere.98
Other small towns retained numbers of potential factory workers, eyed hungrily by Manpower officers, especially at Wellington and Auckland, but untouchable unless suitable boarding arrangements could be made within reach of their pay. Beginners' wages, especially for girls, were based on the assumption that they would live with their parents. In July 1942, several directions sending country girls to mills at Ashburton had to be withdrawn because those under 21 would receive, after taxation, less than 17s a week.99 The obvious answer that the girls should live in hostels was tried in Wellington, with limited success. There was sturdy opposition to girls being drafted to.Wellington, and as the hostels were mainly reserved for such draftees, they did not relieve the housing needs of others, however hard pressed.
Apart from concern for girls' welfare in a troop-ridden city, there was reluctance in country areas to lose those who could help on farms or help farmers' wives. Government respected this view to the extent of suggesting to all rural volunteers for the three Services that they might work in the Women's Land Service instead.100 Even with hostels provided, the directing of groups of girls from, say, Gisborne or Westport to Wellington industry was vigorously opposed by mayors and local chambers of commerce; in particular, South Islanders were emphatic that industry should be moved south rather than girls be drawn north.101 Maori tribal committees steadily opposed their young women being drawn to the ‘vile’ cities.102
Labour and lodging problems were greatest in the Hutt Valley where, besides other industries, Ford Motors employed hundreds of girls on munitions, and Wills, handling much of New Zealand's tobacco, had hundreds more. By February 1943 the government had built at Woburn for £67,993 a hostel consisting of nine 4-unit, 2- storeyed wooden blocks, which could be converted into ordinary flats after the war. Kitchen, dining room, lounges, etc, were in one block, while the eight others could together house about 350 girls, two in page 683 a room, paying 27s weekly. It was run by the YWCA, as the agent of the government, and the staff included seven superintendents and matrons, who sought to organise recreational facilities and to supervise, more or less tactfully, the leisure of women compulsorily directed far from home and living near an American camp.103
At Richmond Road, about half a mile away, a similar, seven-block, hostel was completed late in 1943. It was then diverted to Army use as a convalescent home, but the Army did not actually occupy it. When the Woburn hostel's kitchen and cafeteria were damaged by fire in February 1944, the Richmond Road facilities were used as substitutes for two or three months, and in April 1944 were fully restored to the girls of industry and the YWCA.
Meanwhile the government had taken over the Orient Hotel at Oriental Bay, Wellington, intending it for about 90 girls, mainly working at Wellington Hospital and at Godfrey Phillips' tobacco factory. It was opened in December 1943, again under YWCA management, though long delays thereafter in completing renovations, fire escapes and heating reduced its capacity.104
Woburn was occupied fairly consistently, but Richmond Road and the Orient hostel during its first year were by no means fully used. They were reserved for Manpowered girls from outside Wellington, but the girls proved hard to muster and pressure for them fluctuated: some industrial programmes were changed, so that anticipated drafts of girls, to whom rooms were allotted, were cancelled; interlocking uncertainties and inertia kept rooms empty. Richmond Road, which could have housed 276 girls and staff, was in use for barely 18 months before it was returned to the Housing Department in September 1945, and for only a few months in mid-1945 was it fully occupied. Throughout, one block holding 46 girls was used by the WAAC, and for most of its time only three of its blocks were in use.105 Much the same situation prevailed at the Orient hostel till the YWCA, uneasy about empty rooms while other girls were desperate for accommodation, in September 1944 obtained permission to admit local girls provided they worked in essential industries.106
These difficulties in Wellington hostels caused National Service to turn down proposals, in July 1944, for hostels at Auckland,107 page 684 though there was talk about the need for them.108 But even if Wellington's hostels were not an unqualified success, they eased an acute employment-accommodation problem for, at most, about 550 girls who were working long hours, and they may well have been more pleasant for not being fully packed. The tobacco employers reported that their directed, hostel-living girls worked well and cheerfully, with less ordinary absenteeism than there was among local girls though many, on account of travelling difficulties, were late in returning from holidays.109 After the war, many chose to remain in Wellington instead of returning to their home towns, those in munitions transferring to other labour-hungry places such as woollen mills, clothing and biscuit factories.110
By 1941 the growing labour shortage had put workers in a position of strength, able to take a day off here and there without fear of dismissal, and employers noticed an unpatriotic readiness to exploit the situation. The term ‘absenteeism’, properly defined as persistent lateness or absence without leave or reasonable excuse, was bandied about by some employers and newspapers, alarmed at labour's recalcitrance and the government's weakness in meeting it. There was little attempt, at the start, to distinguish between absences that were delinquent and those reasonable in the context of industrial conditions and wartime stresses.
Some newspapers gave a good deal of publicity to absenteeism, particularly to belated returns from holidays at Christmas and Easter. Thus, on 9 January 1941, the Evening Post had a double-column article on the war effort being hampered by workers who, despite pre-Christmas appeals by Cabinet ministers and employers, had failed to resume on Monday 6 January. Some factories with war contracts reported high absence rates, one of nearly 90 per cent, and ‘inquiries made today revealed that this practice was general throughout the industrial strata of the city.’ Workers were trickling back, bronzed but unrepentant, their attitudes keenly resented by proprietors: ‘The humiliating part is that I cannot tell them what I think of them,’ stated one. The tendency to take days off without leave or notice had been going on for some time. The cause was high wages. Many young girls, with more to spend on themselves than had the average married man, were working four-day weeks. The manager of a large staff, who had promised a £2 bonus to those who worked full-time page 685 between 1 October and Christmas, had paid out only £20.111 The secretary of the Manufacturers' Association said that there had been an increasing tendency in recent years for workers to absent themselves for trivial reasons, although they now worked 50 fewer half-days in a year than they used to and had other holiday privileges. Yet at many factories large and small throughout the country, especially in Wellington and Christchurch, post-Christmas production had been seriously affected.112 In Christchurch, Millers, a large clothing factory, reported 37 per cent absenteeism on 6 January. There was no trouble at Dunedin, where one large firm had no absences at all and another only 4 or 5 among 830 hands,113 nor were excessive absences reported at Auckland.
An Evening Post editorial on 10 January reproved the absentees' carefree abuse of their sheltered conditions in the war and called for firm action by the government. Next day Sullivan, Minister of Supply, stated that his inquiries showed that absenteeism was not a disease affecting every factory; some workers had been irresponsible, the majority had loyally returned on time. Ten large Wellington factories showed absentee rates on 6 January varying from 40 to 3 per cent, and at Christchurch the range was from 42 per cent to almost nil. He pointed to the absence of trouble at Auckland and said that relations between employers and staff in individual factories largely affected absences. Besides this, the Post published a further column of local employers' views, claiming that while other parts of the country might not have suffered serious disorganisation, Wellington industrial concerns had been severely affected.114
Staffs in clothing factories were prominent offenders. A machinist whose son had enlisted and who had herself gone back to work but found it too hard, wrote of the industry's background:
This year apparently most workrooms closed for ten to fourteen days. It is not so long since we used to get three to four weeks off at Christmas and the employers did not worry how we managed to live in the meantime. The wages were then 38s per week and very little overtime for thoroughly experienced hands. The girls in these workrooms are not deliberately disloyal, believe me, but modern methods and the bonus system work the girls to the limit of endurance. The awards specify 70 hours' overtime in one page 686 year unless a special permit is obtained, but most workrooms work far in excess of these, and when Christmas comes the majority of girls are tired mentally and physically. The award rate for clothing employees is now £2 17s 6d, so the girl must work hard to make £3 14s in four days, as one of the employers maintains. Now that the worker is calling the tune and having a fair time for recreation, the employers are kicking and crying disloyalty. I say no, only getting a little of their own back.115
These details show the type of complaints and defences that were repeated during the next two or three years. In another instance an Otago Daily Times editorial on 10 April 1942 attacked Otago freezing workers for late returns after Easter. This drew vigorous and detailed rebuttal in several letters, including one from the union secretary who suggested that the author of the editorial would be ‘more profitably employed on the slaughtering board, guthouse or other appropriate department.’116 Women were the most frequent offenders. Complaints about girls, uppish with overtime and bonus payments, or with plentiful boy-friends, forsaking their machines, their trays or their mops, were heard repeatedly, newspapers giving ample and indignant coverage, especially to clothing and footwear workers. Such absences did not occur in shops or offices, though they were very common among waitresses. In the context of the war, this withholding of effort was obviously deplorable; in the context of work-force feeling it was more comprehensible. Until the demand for skilled labour grew acute early in 1940, girls who stayed away without very good reason would promptly have been dismissed; they might also have been dismissed to balance fluctuations in factory orders. The knowledge that they could take time off without being sacked would be as agreeable to girls as it was disturbing to management. The lamentations from some Wellington clothing factories in November 1941 bear witness. Said one, ‘Girls are the most irresponsible creatures imaginable, yet in these days we are entirely at their mercy.’ Another said that it was now impossible for a man to be boss in his own factory, as he would find himself without employees: ‘Sack a girl because she is useless and with her go all her friends too. They do not care two hoots, knowing perfectly well that when they want to earn some more money they will have no difficulty in getting another job.’117
Tales of 16-year-old girls getting £3 10s a week, even £5 for factory work,118 were exaggerated, said other managers: the starting page 687 wage was 20s to 25s, with periodical increases for experience, and though some girls of 16 might have two years behind them, generally girls earning high pay were highly skilled. One manager claimed that his absentee rate was almost negligible and his girls were keen, especially on essential production, with overtime willingly worked and just as willingly paid.119 The award wage for an adult female clothing worker was £2 15s (plus 5 per cent cost of living increase), but many firms were paying above award rates to get and keep staff.
It was not hard, given reports of a few outstanding payments, to believe that these were general. It was not widely realised that with production boosted by piecework and overtime, girls on monotonous and exacting tasks became genuinely very tired, and such things as a sunny day (or a very wet one), a headache, a period, or the husband or boy-friend being on leave, seemed plenty of reason for a day off. The regulations, beginning in January 1942, which checked movement from job to job, created worker restiveness while removing still further the threat of dismissal.
Other regulations, passed on 20 May 1942, required employers to report any absence exceeding four hours to Manpower officers, who would investigate. At this stage further and better excuses were usually produced and often it was decided that real absenteeism was not fully proved. Otherwise a warning would be issued in the first instance, and for repeated offences the Manpower officer could direct the employer to deduct up to two days' pay, which would go into the War Expenses Account. Appeal against such fines could be made to the Industrial Manpower Committee, but two fines of pay, or attending unauthorised ‘stop work’ meetings, could bring offenders before the courts, facing fines of up to £50. By VJ Day, Manpower officials had received 48 237 complaints; 11 252 were not proved, there were 29 085 warnings, and 7900 fines were taken from pay packets.120
In the DSIR, an Industrial Psychology Division was established. Its first report, for private circulation only, covered research between November 1942 and August 1943 into 34 engineering firms employing nearly 6000 workers, mainly men, and 11 other firms employing 961 women. It found average absentee rates of 6.5 per cent for men and 12.1 per cent for women, very close to current Australian figures of 5 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.121 It also found that conditions in many factories were unhelpful: heating and ventilation were often not good, and refreshment facilities were page 688 scanty. Thus, in the 34 engineering factories there were only three canteens, one good, one too small and one poor; ten had reasonably pleasant mess rooms, providing tea or hot water; in three these were unsatisfactory; 18 had neither canteens nor mess rooms, and some firms disapproved of tea breaks. Among such workers, sustained mainly on sandwiches, pies and fish-and-chips, their days lengthened by persistent if not excessive overtime, both ill-health and absenteeism seemed probable. The waiting and weariness of travel on crowded buses, trams and trains which did not mesh with overtime hours would also contribute to fatigue.
Good relations between workers and management, however, emerged as the most important single factor in keeping absence rates low.122 The report held: ‘Up to a point absenteeism is an unavoidable outlet for the strains and tensions of wartime industry (fatigue, monotony, irritation and social dislocation).’ Absence rates of 5 per cent for men and 10 per cent for women would be reasonable, and the rates of many firms were well below this. There was no single, simple remedy but the most important contribution would be a ‘substantial advance in methods of personnel management’. This would involve the training of managers in modern practices and outlook; better keeping and use of labour records; less criticism of shortcomings, remembering that good workmen were not born but made, and awareness that absenteeism was to a considerable extent a problem of youth. Fines, it seemed, lessened individual absences, but had no marked deterrent effect on the rest of the firm. Rewards for good attendance had not proved a lasting answer, and more severe penalties, unless applied with great discrimination, would certainly be unjust to many genuinely maladjusted to the industrial situation. There was a case for stepping up penalties immediately after holiday periods, but stringency of the Russian sort was unthinkable. Ventilation and heating facilities for meals, and first-aid and accident prevention, should be improved. Overtime should be limited and monotony lessened, while informative publicity, arousing feelings of urgency, loyalty, interest and usefulness, should be developed along with workers' committees.123 The investigators agreed with the clothing machinist quoted above124 in believing that Depression experiences should be kept in mind when assessing the root causes of absenteeism.125
The Psychology Division found wide variations in absence rates from firm to firm, suggesting the importance of specific internal page 689 factors.126 Among men the usual reason given was sickness. Women, absent more often, also pleaded business (which included personal affairs, shopping and hairdressing), family (illness of children or husband, husband or boy-friend on leave, household duties, death in the family) and miscellaneous reasons, such as the dentist or a parade in town; or they offered no excuse at all.127
Women's absences had been noticed quite early. In June 1940 Sullivan had said that though young girls in factories were doing splendid work while actually on the job, they sometimes stayed away for days at a time, producing serious dislocation.128 Only during a few bad times did many New Zealanders doubt that somehow the war would be won. Assurances, often repeated, that workers' full efforts were needed for victory became unreal when reviewed beside the delays and checks which almost inevitably litter factory production, and were even more remote from such tasks as housework in hotels or non-military hospitals or waitressing in restaurants. Probably most women felt less involved in the war than did men, basically because life-and-death military service was not expected of them. Many could not imagine that what they did or did not do could affect the war's progress or outcome. Therefore they sought to live with the war, getting what they could from things as they were. Young girls, with their normal courting and marriage routines disrupted, accepted or sought what fun was going. Mostly such fun was with servicemen, often with Americans, affluent and fascinating. Employers allowed for such factors in assessing staff needs. When girls with husbands on leave stayed away from work, it was rated ‘only natural’, but there was less tolerance for other attachments.129 A Dominion article early in 1943 complained, among much else, that free-spending male escorts contributed to the slackness of girls, who were ‘reported to keep very late nights, to be absent from work frequently, and often to be indifferent to the job when they are there.’130
For different reasons, absence rates were high among married women. If they had homes and husbands, let alone children, they were doing two jobs. They were not wholly dependent on their earnings and they felt that they did enough for the war effort without putting in every day at the factory.131 No one could reproach a page 690 mother who stayed home with a sick child, while even housework and shopping could get out of hand and husbands grow fidgety. By no means all absences were reported to Manpower: up to 31 March 1943 only 7564 persons had been reported, fewer than the workers who would have been absent on a single day.132 Some employers, who attributed all absence to irresponsibility and excessively high wages, were exasperated by the kid-glove method of Manpower inquiries and believed that distinguishing between irresponsible and excusable absences might well have been left to the courts.133 They complained that it was no use complaining.134 Others, who accepted a high rate of absence, some mentioning 10 per cent, some 20 per cent, as one of the trials of the times, allowed for it in their arrangements and saved themselves the trouble of making charges.135 Up to March 1943 the National Service Department had dealt with 6960 of the 7564 complaints, giving warnings in 5109 cases and fining in 424 others, or six per cent; 1427 charges were not sustained.136 Fraser told the House in June that on 8 March Manpower officers were instructed to take a more severe line in future.137 Later in the year, the National Service Department told employers that it was taking stricter measures and asked them to report absences for which they had not received genuine reasons. The Department recognised that many employers had ceased notifying in view of many experiences of inactivity by Manpower officers.138 In the year ending March 1944, of 18 814 cases dealt with, 10 983 were warned, 3272 or 17 per cent were fined, and 4559 were not sustained. In the following year, from 16 298 investigations there were 9451 warnings, 2991 (18 per cent) fines, and 3856 not sustained. Against the total 6687 fines imposed, there were 268 appeals; in 42 cases fines were reduced and in 88 wholly remitted.139 In its 1944 annual report, the New Zealand Employers Federation said that on account of National Service ineffectiveness few employers bothered to report absences with the result that the Department claimed that absenteeism was no longer a serious problem; strong enforcement of the regulations would have benefited the nation.140 In the Wellington page 691 Chamber of Commerce, discussing a firm's complaint of major absences after Christmas 1944, it was said that both employers and employees were to blame. Early in the war employers were reluctant to report absenteeism, some ‘got into bad odour’ for reporting cases, it was easier to ignore the law and some workers took advantage of the position. Continued strain was also mentioned, and flighty girls with too much money in their pockets.141
As part of the drive against both absenteeism and failure to register for direction, Manpower officers, along with the police, had authority to question people on private premises and in public places such as hotels, cinemas and billiard rooms concerning their work obligations. In 1944 the National Service Department claimed that raids, carried out ‘tactfully and in a manner to cause the least inconvenience to the public’, had located several hundreds of defaulters and absentees.142
This tact may have been slight exaggeration for the official record. After June 1942, hotel lounges were watched for truant women, and there were sporadic raids resulting, by March 1944, in more than 1000 women being interviewed and about 10 per cent of them being made available for work.143 Thus, during two days in May 1943 Wellington police and Manpower authorities found 40 ‘known or suspected defaulters’ in hotels;144 in August, raiding two Hamilton hotels to investigate possible immorality, excessive drinking and Manpower defaulting, officials questioned more than 100 people, finding some who had left employment without leave and others temporarily absent.145 In January 1944, the New Zealand Herald noted that while more than 200 jobs for women were advertised in its columns, its reporters counted ‘hundreds’ of women drinking in hotel lounges on a Friday afternoon. The practice had been somewhat curtailed during the Manpower raids in the middle of the previous year, remarked the Herald, ‘but the numbers frequenting the lounges have again increased and suggest that further raids could well be considered.’146
In March and April 1944 these raids were intensified, and people were questioned not only in hotels but in cinemas, tea rooms, billiard rooms and golf courses in many centres. It was widely reported on 13 April that in 163 raids in various parts of New Zealand 110 persons, all women, had been located for direction to work; also 63 page 692 definite cases of absenteeism had been found and others were still being investigated. Further, said H. L. Bockett,147 Controller of Manpower, the raids had caused many people who should have registered earlier to do so.148
In the bars of six Auckland hotels the first raids, on the afternoon of 12 April 1944, were generally treated as a ‘not uninteresting novelty’. There were relatively few civilians present, most of them legitimately; they included carpenters and other out-door men who could not work on account of rain, seamen, night shift men and a ‘surprising’ number with medical certificates. About 70 names were to be checked, but were not expected to yield more than eight or nine absentees. In hotel lounges at the same time, few women were absent from work without good reason.149
At Wellington the Dominion reported in mid-April that of 538 persons interrogated in hotels, cinemas and billiard rooms during the past month only six were absent from essential industry without excuse, while 31 not gainfully employed had been ordered to report to Manpower, nine of them being directed to essential work. A large number of young people proved to be on shift work, had a rostered day off or were actually on holiday, disproving the impression apparently held by the public that numbers of young people at places of public amusement were malingering. The raids, it was held, had deterred absenteeism; some places of amusement were less patronised and one had closed in the afternoons.150
These reports do not suggest a very large haul. The District Manpower Officer at Christchurch, questioned at this time, would not give figures but said that the greatest value of the raids was ‘not in the absentees detected, but in the absenteeism they prevent’.151 The raids clearly were in response to complaints against absenteeism, but no conspicuous improvement was claimed; there were other places to be in besides pubs and pictures.
It was tempting to believe that longer hours would increase production in proportion; consequently, regulations facilitated longer hours by lowering rates for overtime and by permitting extra work by women and boys. Reports from Britain of dramatic hours worked after Dunkirk were countered, after a few months, by statements that such effort could not be sustained and that production actually page 693 fell; but, as Dr Hare remarked, ‘The idea that output can be automatically increased by increasing hours of work is deeply ingrained and dies very hard’.152 After Japan's entry, long hours were worked on defence construction, while in munitions and engineering 10–30 hours of overtime weekly were normal during the first half of 1942.153 Engineering efforts, such as the making from scratch and in a rush of Bren gun and universal carriers,154 involved a tremendous amount of work, spread out in many factories. Pressure extended over many fields: in a firm making and repairing agricultural machinery, men worked 55 hours a week and by July 1942 this was ‘getting them down.’155 A pamphlet, Hours of Work in Wartime by Leslie Hearnshaw,156 a Wellington University College lecturer, published in August 1942, concluded that long hours diminished human efficiency so much that production fell, workers' health suffered and overtime pay was handed out for nothing at all. Hare's pamphlet, Labour in New Zealand 1942, also warned against excessive overtime, and his views were supported by some newspapers.157 Already some Wellington firms, from their own records, had found that overtime was being cancelled out by absenteeism and were reducing it as much as possible.158
Overtime paid better than normal hours. In Britain ‘Dog-tired men would take the day off in the middle of the week, losing an ordinary day's pay—then turn up on Sunday to earn double pay. A vested interest in Sunday work and in overlong hours was created, and stood against Ernest Bevin's159 well-conceived attempts to revive sanity.’160 Overtime and absenteeism, through exhaustion and the pay motive, readily became a cycle in which workers got more money for the same or less work. This was the case in Britain and to some extent in New Zealand. Especially if workers were absent in normal hours, overtime would be needed to catch up on orders. Frequently, awards required that on overtime evenings payments must be made for at least three hours, whether or not the full time was worked. As an instance, trainee girls in a clothing factory on 17s 6d a week had to be paid 1s 6d an hour overtime, with a minimum of three page 694 hours. Thus they would receive 4s 6d for three hours or less on overtime, but only 3s 6d for eight hours' normal day work.161
By 1943 the excessive post-Japan hours were largely reduced: for defence works, engineering trades and the railways they were usually between 48 and 56 a week, though longer hours—up to 60 and 70 a week—were worked sporadically on the wharves and by ship repairers, railway drivers and cement workers.162 During 1944 hours continued to shrink, with building and construction trades, railways and engineering work running at between 45 and 48 hours weekly, though there were exceptional cases of 60 hours or so.163 Some hours, however, were lengthened. From March 1944 the Auckland Transport Board's traffic staff worked a 6-day week of 54 hours. They had previously been averaging 48 to 50 hours; the increase was to meet the inroads of absenteeism, though it was realised that ‘longer hours before long would bring increased absenteeism.’164
Throughout, with both men and women absentee rates varied greatly from firm to firm. This was noted by the Industrial Psychology Division researchers who found rates varying from 1.37 to 9.40 per cent among men and from 5.45 to 21.70 per cent among women.165 Sullivan drew attention to it in January 1941 and at the same time the Otago Daily Times had found in virtuous Dunedin one firm with a very high absence rate.166
On 4 January 1943, when absenteeism was reported to be ‘rife’ in Australia, Auckland returns to work were satisfactory, except in the clothing trade. In shipbuilding and some other heavy industry, work had continued over the holidays, and there was no trouble at Westfield's freezing works or other equally essential industries. Ten clothing firms questioned in Auckland reported that only a small proportion of their staffs were present on the day the firms re-opened, but it appeared that this day was not held to be compulsory.167 There was no large-scale absenteeism, however, and some clothing firms that were overhauling machinery had arranged to open later.168 Again Dunedin was fully on the job, and there were few complaints from Christchurch where most large factories had arranged to re-open a week later on 11 January.169 At Wellington few complaints page 695 were lodged officially—an early report stated that 95 per cent had returned on time170 —but a local survey declared that absentee rates were very serious, ranging from 26 to 80 per cent. Details for seven firms with very high rates were given, with no suggestion that others were less affected, and employers were said to be demanding that the penal regulation be applied.171
Four months later, at Easter, a Dominion article found that, in the absence of sufficient penalties, in eight Wellington firms 163 employees, 11 per cent of the total 1476, resumed late. The numbers varied greatly from firm to firm: 2 out of 180, 17 out of 300, 27 out of 160, 53 out of 254, 13 out of 140, 22 out of 80. Employers called on the National Service Department to state the number of cases investigated, prosecuted and fined.172 This was supported by a Dominion editorial on 29 April, attacking the government's weakness with slackers. The Christchurch Manufacturers Association at the same time reported that at four Christchurch factories with a total of 1000 employees, 140 were absent on the Tuesday after Easter.173
After 1943 there was less outcry in the press against absenteeism. Manpower officers were imposing more penalties, victory was closer and possibly investigators such as Dr Hare and the Industrial Psychological Division, along with overseas findings, had persuaded some employers' spokesmen that, for continued effort, rest was needed and if not given would be taken. The Industrial Rest Period Regulations of December 1943 (1943/194) had decreed that, for the efficient prosecution of the war, all workers whose awards did not already entitle them to at least five days' paid annual holiday should have such a holiday from 27–31 December inclusive, while those whose work had to continue over these days should have an equivalent rest period within six months.174 On 7 January 1944 the New Zealand Herald reported that Auckland absences varied from rather high to almost negligible and that managers did not regard them seriously, some saying that factories had been working very hard for a long time, often up to 60 hours a week, that some lateness was expected, even that an extra day or two off now would mean more output in the long run, and that the weather was ideal for holidaying. Some clothing and footwear proprietors had themselves arranged not to open for a further week, acknowledging that workers needed a longer page 696 rest than in normal times.175 In Wellington, many manufacturers were very pleased with the rate of returns, though one firm had a 33 per cent female absence on Tuesday 4 January. Here too some employers had approved longer holidays, one reporting that this had ‘worked out pretty well’; the ‘habituals’ were still away but few of the others.176 There were reports of men returning late to the Wanganui freezing works and to some West Coast mines.177
A New Zealand Herald article stated that there was increasing evidence that Auckland employers were interesting themselves more and more in industrial health and were realising that while nothing could be done about certain types who stayed away for no reason, these were only a small proportion of their employees. It quoted from the Medical Journal of Australia that to fulminate against all absentees as slackers or worse was plain foolishness. The problem deserved careful study. It was in part a medical one and doctors must insist on this being accepted. Bureaucracy could be both insensate and unintelligent. Past a certain point long hours did not improve production; fatigue was cumulative.178
After Easter 1944 Wellington manufacturers who surveyed 12 firms employing 2123 persons found that absenteeism ranged considerably, averaging 10.5 per cent, almost all by women.179 There was a calm tone in the New Zealand Footwear Manufacturers' annual report, presented in July 1944, although theirs was a hard-pressed industry. They had suffered to some extent from absenteeism but only with a very small number of workers was it persistent or avoidable. ‘It is well known that in industries which employ a large percentage of female labour, where inexperienced labour is being used to a substantial degree, and where long hours of overtime are being worked, there is usually a chronic absenteeism. In the footwear industry last year, however, manufacturers, in conjunction with workers' organisations and Department officials, have, with the goodwill of the operatives, reduced absenteeism to a minimum.’ The effort made by married women was warmly commended.180
By December 1944 the Annual Holidays Act had decreed that, except where existing awards were more favourable, every worker should have two weeks' holiday on full pay. Most took these holidays at Christmas, many factories being closed for 19 days. There were fewer reports of absenteeism, with suggestions that some was page 697 expected, as in the mines and freezing works.181 Of 12 Wellington firms, half reported their staff position as practically normal, half found it bad; again women were the offenders.182 The New Zealand Herald featured two articles which reported on work conditions and staff welfare in factories in the four main centres and advised that improvement was necessary.183
In all, newspaper reports and the industrial research of Dr Hare backed up the National Service Department's opinion that there could be seemingly identical factories in the same neighbourhood with widely different absentee rates, and that the solution was mainly in sympathetic adjustment between management and staff, in improved individual handling of cases of absenteeism, and in elimination of conditions which promoted ill-health, undue fatigue and lack of interest.184 In the last year of the war the Department repeated that real unavoidable absenteeism was difficult to determine. Incidence had changed little in the past year. Among men it was highest in heavy industry, mining, sawmilling, the freezing works, iron foundries, building and construction. Among women, most occurred where routine was monotonous and sometimes physically exhausting, as in textile and clothing manufacture and in the domestic work of hotels, restaurants and other institutions. It was believed to be higher with persons held under direction, among young persons imperfectly adjusted to work environment and among women with domestic responsibilities; in general, women continued to be worse than men.185 The annual report of the New Zealand Employers Federation, considering the health and character training of children, future employees, said that there should be flexibility in current hours: no restriction should be placed on mothers who wished to work shorter hours or to stagger those hours.186 Probably it could be said that the great increase of industry during the war, combined with the labour shortage, brought absenteeism to the fore, and that after the initial impact, industry learned to live with it while learning also that its own conditions must improve.
Broadly speaking, in the first nine months of 1942 effort was concentrated on home defence, but towards the end of those months page 698 New Zealand was moving away from coastal defence, air fields and camps to its tradition of sending troops to meet the enemy beyond its shores.187
Meanwhile, as American demands for food grew and shortages of all sorts increased, there was widespread restiveness about mobilisation and manpower. For employers and the public in general the manpower problem loomed over and through all other difficulties. There were recurrent demands that the government should make a thorough survey of military and industrial needs and of the men and women available, and shape policy accordingly; that it should make up its mind and take the people into its confidence. The interdepartmental War Planning and Manpower Committee in August 1942 attempted to frame an ‘all in’ plan covering the total economy, but it was soon clear that the administrative complications and disruption involved would be immense and might create as many difficulties as solutions,188 while in the improving war situation problems were changing faster than the scheme could have been applied. Perforce, the government answered pressures with piecemeal adjustments and withstood grumbles.
There were several lines of thought concerning the competition between the Army and industry for manpower. Some wanted the main Pacific effort to be not in soldiers but in feeding and servicing Americans, while others protested that the providers of biscuits and cheese, of potatoes and cabbages, could not claim a speaking place in the post-war Pacific. It was also argued that New Zealand already had quite enough men in the forces, and that overseas commitments could be drawn from those in camp without calling up the older men, thus further disrupting economic and family life. Again, many thought that after, say, six months of training men should be returned to their civilian jobs, ready for recall in a military crisis. There were complaints that soldiers were held uselessly in camps at the dictate of the Army which cared nothing for the total manpower problem or any aspect of the war effort except the supply of servicemen.
Mobilisation was highest in July 1942, with 154 549 men and women in the Services, 52 651 of them overseas. By November 1943 the home forces had dropped to 60 965, while those overseas page 699 had reached the peak of 75 952.189 After the call-up in June 1942 of 21 000 family men aged 32–4, the Director of National Service considered that the armed forces had now claimed all the men that the national effort could afford, and he urged that there should be no more ballots.190 But 35 000 men in the Army were not fit, by age or medical grading, for overseas service,191 the Air Force was seeking volunteers from Army ranks and to meet overseas commitments in two divisions it was necessary both to probe into the higher age groups and to comb out those from earlier ballots held in essential industry. More than 22 000 men aged 35–7 were called up in the 17th ballot of 15 September 1942, nearly 22 000 of 38–40 years in November, and 32 000 of 41–5 years, for limited home service only, in December.192 The early complaint that people did not know there was a war on was replaced by murmurs that New Zealand was over-committed. Fraser, on 21 November 1942, said that there was a lot of loose thinking about manpower, and alarmist talk about the effect of ballots on industry; only 25 per cent of those then being called were reaching camp, and only 20 per cent were expected from the 41–5-year-olds. Among the older men, more skilled and responsible, it was found necessary to postpone service for increasing numbers; by October 1942 fit reserved men were reckoned to exceed 30 000, and by mid-November about 10 000 fit men had been released from camp.193
Farmers and others reiterated their needs for labour if production were to be maintained, complaining that the Army held men for home defence after the danger had passed, often squandering their time on useless routines. The New Zealand Herald wondered if a large Army rather than a strong Army had been created;194 Truth complained that men were taken in too quickly for proper training and regardless of civil dislocation, hinting that the Army was guided by its need to balance the number of senior officers.195 The Wanganuipage 700 Herald suggested that merely putting more and more men into uniform did not necessarily improve military strength, and that to recall the 2nd Division for Pacific service might avoid further calling-up and disruption;196 there were murmurs about a standing army awaiting most improbable attack.197 The Southland Daily News on 26 January doubted the wisdom of calling men from important jobs to a routine of eating and marching day in and day out. Manufacturers spoke of men who could be infinitely more useful in vital jobs than as soldiers, of production falling because staffs were exhausted by long hours and concentrated effort while it was known that thousands were wasting time in camp. They suggested that the government, though sympathetic to manufacturing problems, was guided by Army views.198 As noted elsewhere,199 conferences at Christchurch and Auckland drew together all such discontents, including grave misgivings about an active Pacific force, in proposals that it was time to reduce the home Army and move from defence to production.
Fraser, on 4 December 1942, said that in the improved situation all agreed that it was time to decide on the minimum force needed to defend the country, how many could be released and how they could be recalled if danger loomed again.200 McLagan on 23 December announced that the utilisation of manpower would be re-considered early in the New Year and that the 41–5-year-olds just balloted should stay in their jobs till further notice. The New Zealand Herald on 29 December remarked that most of these men, ‘putting two and two together’, felt that their military service would not be more than ‘a sort of glorified Home Guard’, with perhaps three months in camp and some spare time training. In fact, they were never called to camp; the sending out of their notices had been in part a continuation of action initiated a good deal earlier, and it served to bring this group under Manpower direction.
At the other end of the age range there was increasing uneasiness about boys of 18 and 19 remaining in camp, many of whom had not even started on a real job, apprenticeship or university work. In May 1941, when the intake age for Territorials had been lowered to 18, training was for a few months only, and did not itself break normal career development very much; but in January 1942 such service became permanent home defence. By the end of the year, page 701 there were thousands of lads with months of Army routine behind them, and the prospect of a year or so more of it before they were old enough for overseas service. Non-sentimental groups, such as the RSA, Chambers of Commerce and manufacturers, feared that work attitudes might be gravely impaired by long exposure to routine garrison duty, and meanwhile employers were reluctant to take on 17-year-olds, knowing that they would soon be called up.201 Recognising this, the government announced on 16 March 1943 that the Army would release those of 18 and 19 years who wanted to return to civilian life.
There was, at the start of 1943, strong public pressure for the reduction of home forces, and some for the Pacific force being on garrison work only. This did not prevent the government from responding to another strong pressure, that New Zealand should bear its part fully in the Pacific, by deciding on 6 March to increase the 3rd Division to full divisional strength, transforming it from a garrison to a combat force.202 These would be Grade I men; it was the lower medical grades in the main that were to be released to industry.
There had, in fact, been many releases already. No sooner were men rushed into the Army in the post-Japan flurry than there was urgent need to get vital workers out again. Even in the three months April–June 1942, 2300 men considered key workers were released, the recommendations of appeal boards being approved by the Army.203
Pressure for more widespread releases came strongly from rural areas. About April 1942 county councils, led by Inglewood's, sent in with monotonous regularity a resolution expressing grave concern at the withdrawal of workers from industry, urging that after a period of training men should return to their homes, with full equipment, to be members of a compulsory militia, incorporating the Home Guard, kept efficient by compulsory parades. In July the Farmers' Union conference passed a similar resolution. The government replied that it was not possible to combine such demobilisation with effective defence,204 but fully realised that to maintain production, to keep cows in milk and ensure that sufficient crops—potatoes, wheat, barley, oats, fodder, linen flax, vegetables, tobacco—were planted page 702 and harvested, farmers must be sure of adequate labour, particularly to meet their surges of work. With spring approaching and the battle of Midway won, Fraser on 8 July 1942 announced that men on farms liable for military service would be left there in the meantime, and farming men already in camp would, where necessary, be returned to the land.
In camps such men were listed, farmers could apply for them, and the men themselves could apply to return to their previous occupation. Primary Production Councils had increased responsibility: they had lists of men called in ballots and other information, and they advised Manpower authorities of needs in their districts, recommending recalls, either temporary or permanent; they could even, on grounds of public interest, institute appeals that they thought justified where the people concerned had not appealed or where the Army had failed to return men considered essential to farming. They also advised and encouraged farmers about crops needed and organised the pooling of equipment.205
As military service appeal boards were flooded with applications and speed was vital, provisional leave was readily granted to get men on to the land immediately, while longer or continuing needs were sorted out. Farmers might not get the special men they wanted, Polson explained, but they would get good farm hands.206 Men who convinced their officers that farms needed their labour were released, usually for 14 or 28 days, pending inquiry by the boards.207 About 12 000 of the Territorial force, that is those whose age or medical grading disqualified them from overseas service, had come from farms. By August appeals totalled almost 8000 and in the first rush about 6000 men were released to a farming community which had not expected such ready compliance.208 Similarly, for freezing works, experienced men in camp, and even some without experience, could volunteer through Manpower officers, who would seek their release,209 while to lessen Army disruption some men being called up for service were drafted instead to the meatworks from December to May 1943.210 In all, stated the Minister of Defence on 14 November 1942, since 15 July essential work had received more than 10 000 men from the Army. Further figures recorded that from June to the end of November, 12 693 men (9177 for farms and 3516 others) page 703 were released from camps and only 4000 of them had been reclaimed by the Army.211 The initial exuberance was replaced by closer scru tiny and more consideration of a man's military value. Only in very exceptional circumstances and with approval from Army Headquarters were men released who were in line for overseas service and who had done a substantial part of their training, nor were Grade I single men of overseas age granted postponement or release unless they were of remarkable civilian value.212
Towards the end of 1942, with the invasion threat clearly receding, both elasticity and caution had been evolved. For dairy factories, shearing and freezing works, for planting and harvesting, an employer wanting a man or several men applied to the District Manpower Officer who, if no civilians were available, would ask the Army for suitable men. Unit commanders could on their own authority release men for up to 40 days, but if they were needed for longer an appeal board's recommendation was necessary. Always, appeal boards and Manpower officers had only advisory powers: decision on whether a man could or could not be released rested with the Army.213 There were Army decisions that seemed vastly unreasonable to farmers such as keeping a man with considerable farming experience whose alleged main Air Force task for two and a half years was pouring tea, or retaining a tractor driver to pump petrol into Army vehicles;214 sometimes farmers did not get the men they asked for but were given others;215 some men were released for a time from camp without real justification;216 there were delays and uncertainty.217 The system was not foolproof, or proof against opportunists.218 In the hurried pressures of 1942 there was little perfection, only the meeting of emergencies as they arose. As Fraser said on 9 July 1942 New Zealand, with its sparse population, had to make all sorts of compromises, between the efficiency of the Army and the efficiency of industry.219
Farming was not the only industry relieved by Army releases. Fraser on 4 December said that between 1 July and 25 November 1942, 14 519 men had been released. In the 1749 who emerged page 704 during November, there were 631 farmers, 424 shearers, 110 dairy workers, 14 miners, 68 timber workers, 41 market gardeners, 121 freezing workers and 340 miscellaneous.220 By April 1943, withdrawals from the Army totalled 20 416 (11 718 for farms, 8698 others).221 Most were not permanent: 32 per cent of the recommendations were for less than three months, 29 per cent for three to six months, 39 per cent for more than six months including sine die; in addition 1450 men had their leave extended.222
All this produced what the Press of 5 March 1943 called ‘a jostle at the camp gates, between a stream of men leaving the Army, partly trained, to go back into industry, and a stream of men in the higher age groups drafted out of industry to begin training.’ By now Army's appetite was sharpest for Grade I men suitable for overseas.223 The 41–5-year-olds were not disturbed and in March 1943 the Prime Minister, announcing new procedures for releases in which District Manpower officers largely replaced military appeal boards, said that while as many men as possible would be released to industry, only in very exceptional cases would Grade I men be released. Every effort would be made to extract Grade I men from industry,224 replacing them with men less physically fit. In September 1943 McLagan stated that since June 1942 13 800 farm workers had been released, of whom about 4000 had been remobilised, while 1500 new men had been drawn from farming into the forces, making the net gain to the industry about 8300.225
In June 1943 the Army in New Zealand was re-organised: Grade I men were to be held for reinforcements or transfer to the Air Force. Field units were to be demobilised and most of them placed on a care and maintenance basis, while the remainder were to be the core, for training and for maintaining equipment, of a part-time Territorial force, on pre-war lines.226 Anti-aircraft and coastal defence would be gradually reduced.227page 705
This facilitated the movement back to industry. In all, to the end of March 1943, 16 300 men were released from the Army.228 McLagan at the end of October 1943 announced that between 1 April and 28 September, to all industries, 12 241 men had been released and the outflow was continuing.229 By 31 March 1944 the year's releases were 18 433, as well as 5500 soldiers returned from overseas.230 In 1944–5 a further 13 900 were released from home defence units, while 9500 ex-Pacific Division men were directed to essential industry.231
In December 1943 industry still held 39 014 Grade I men, more than 12 500 of them in farming but spread through all manner of occupations from mining and sawmilling, building and transport, to the police and the clergy.232 Among these, the search for servicemen went on: in the year ending 31 March 1944, 6835 such men were found, singly or in groups.233 For instance, on 3 June 1943 appeals for 75 Category A wharf workers were dismissed, the appeal board saying that the waterfront, in line with other industries, must contribute its quota to the forces.234
From late in 1942 a major question perplexing minds at all levels was, where should New Zealanders fight? Should they beat Hitler first, in the Middle East and Europe? Should they, like the Australians, be sent against the enemy nearer home? Or should at least a proportion of them be released from the armed forces to the production front, increasing the supplies of food that New Zealand was geographically suited to produce and that were urgently needed by Britain and by Americans in the Pacific? These questions swayed back and forth during 1943, with no clear decision made till March– April 1944, when it was settled that the Pacific Division should return, temporarily; some 12 000 men would be used in food production and supporting industries,235 while 6000 would remain as cadres in New Zealand from which the Division could be rebuilt for Pacific service in 1945.236 Finally, on 11 September 1944 War Cabinet decided that the 2nd Division should remain in Europe until the end of the Italian campaign and that the cadres of the page 706 3rd Division should be disbanded and become reinforcements in Europe.237
This was hidden in the future. New Zealand's Pacific land force, the 3rd Division,238 came into being very quietly. On 6 August 1942 War Cabinet finally settled that a division should be established for service in the Pacific, based on the force of about 2350 men who on 24 July had returned from Fiji, replaced by Americans.239 An original proposal that it should hasten to Guadalcanal in late August having miscarried,240 the Division was quietly gathered at mobili sation camps. The first public mention of its role was on 27 August when Coates spoke of War Cabinet, with Parliament's secret session approval, having decided to reinforce the Middle East troops and also to supply New Zealand soldiers for any other theatre of war in which they might be required.241 On 31 August, in America, Fraser said that New Zealand's policy was to attack the Japanese in the Pacific rather than risk fighting at home.242 It was from such oblique references, plus information filtering from the soldiers themselves, that New Zealanders first learned of the new enterprise. On 29 October the advance party of Kiwi Force left for New Caledonia and by the end of February 1943 more than 13 000 were there.243
Meanwhile, at the end of 1942 the Eighth Army, for the last time, drove west across North Africa with widespread plaudits poured upon its New Zealand Division. The folks at home basked in the achievements of their troops, feeling that they had fairly come into their own at last, shining in the world's eyes as remarkably able soldiers, agile and tough, their fighting style expressing the innate quality of their nation. With the three-year-old North African episode about to end, the question arose: where should the Division fight next?
There was strong feeling that the 2nd Division should stay where it was doing so well, against Germans and Italians. Thus the New Zealand Herald, early in December 1942, looking boldly ahead to the invasion of Sicily, Italy or the Balkans, demanded to know whether it was seriously proposed at the very moment of the opening of the much-predicted second front that New Zealand should ask for the shipping and escort necessary for the safe return of the 2nd Division. It was unlikely that the troops, flushed with victory and page 707 expecting to be in the van of the attack on Europe, would wish to turn aside, wasting valuable months in travel and the retraining that would be needed to fit desert shock troops for totally different fighting.244
On the other hand many thought that New Zealand should now fight in the Pacific, in order to defend its homeland and to be heard at Pacific post-war conference tables. Early among those who advocated that the Middle East Division should return to rest and then tackle the Japanese were the ex-Labour members J. A. Lee and W. E. Barnard.245 Lee, on 17 October 1942, said that manpower targets were too vast, New Zealand was going into the war too quickly, soon women would be enrolled for active service and in street after street there would be no married men. The House and the people should know what industries were to be maintained and how this would be done.246 On 4 December he agreed with Fraser that New Zealand was a Pacific country and said that if good relations were to persist with the Americans it must fight alongside them.247 Barnard, late in November, urged that in the greatly changed situation New Zealanders were no longer needed in North Africa: after three years they deserved a rest and thereafter their experience would be valuable against the Japanese.248 In January 1943, he declared that it was no use winning the war on foreign fields but losing it on the home front through lack of foresight: there was a duty to the men overseas to maintain the economic structure. New Zealand was heavily over-devoted to military effort while called on to produce even more food for Britain. After six months' training, newly drafted men should return to industry, and the Division, instead of going on to Europe, should return to fight nearer home.249
The Auckland Star in particular campaigned for the Division's transfer to the Pacific, its editorial on 23 November 1942 setting the stage. ‘Without [the New Zealanders] the Afrika Corps would scarcely have been prevented from reaching Suez last July, and without them again General Montgomery250 might not have won the page 708 decisive victory at El Alamein.’ Though none claimed that the Division by itself won these battles, its presence had been indispensable to victory. In Greece, Crete and twice in Libya it had shared campaigns that were disastrous, costly, or at best inconclusive, but now it enjoyed the exhilaration of pursuing the enemy. It was time to consider whether it should be committed to the long, bitter struggle ahead in Europe or be brought home and, after rest and retraining, fight against Japan. ‘There are, of course, arguments against withdrawal, and these will not suffer from lack of advocacy’, wrote the Star. ‘We are concerned that the contrary arguments shall be heard, and heard in time. Perhaps our Government is even now expressing them; we hope it is. If so, it is voicing the deep conviction of a great body of New Zealanders who feel that the Dominion's war effort to date, and above all the achievements of its Division, have won for it the right to be heard—and heeded.’ It was in New Zealand's interest to shorten the Pacific war as much as possible, by supporting to the utmost the Americans who were bearing the brunt. ‘A country which wishes to preserve its independent existence in the Pacific must fight for it in the Pacific, and if … too small to sustain indefinitely a considerable effort both in the Pacific and the Middle East, then common sense insists that it should concentrate its forces in the Pacific.’251 Repeatedly the Star warned that Japan's strength grew from its conquests, which would enable it to carry on the war for 20 years if need be; that blows at the Japanese heart needed bases from which to strike, and that New Zealand could make a significant contribution if its main force, seasoned and unsurpassed in quality, were not concentrated in the Middle East.252
The Star's hint that the government was already moving to transfer the troops was shrewdly placed. On 19 November, Fraser had explained to Churchill the priority of the Pacific offensive for New Zealanders, adding that as most of the Division had been away for well over two years and it had taken very heavy casualties (18 500 out of a total 43 500), there was a ‘general feeling in the country that our men have a strong claim to return’, which would sharpen when it became known that Australia was recalling its last division from Africa.253
However, by 4 December 1942, in response to British and American reluctance and to massive shipping difficulties, War Cabinet decided, and Parliament in secret session agreed, that the Division would remain in the Middle East ‘for a further period.’254 Fraser page 709 afterwards reviewed recent events: the Axis retreat and the Allied landings in west Africa, occupying Algeria and Morocco; the German seizure of so-called Free France and the suicide of the French fleet; Russian resurgence, notably near Stalingrad; America's naval success in the Solomons and Japan's retreat in Papua to beachheads at Buna and Gona. Concluding, he hinted at change: ‘It is, I am afraid, clearer to us in the South Pacific than it is to those in North Africa and in Europe that the war with Japan is going to be a hard and bitter struggle.’ But New Zealand's own defences were much stronger than a year earlier and forward positions had been established in New Caledonia. ‘It is only right that we should take part in the Pacific offensive, which will keep the Japanese as far as possible from our own shores. This new forward move necessitates a review of our defence responsibilities and commitments.’255
Ensuing newspaper comment, while supporting the view that the Pacific war required New Zealand's effort, inclined towards contributing supplies rather than soldiers. The Press said, ‘… if the British and United States governments are in favour of a holding war in the Pacific and Asia they have failed to understand the realities of the war against Japan.’ Japan had already won all the material needed to strengthen its war machine and though this would eventually be outpaced by America, delay meant that the Japanese must be driven from strong bases instead of from outposts. Further, for some time many New Zealanders had wondered if they could sustain two fighting forces plus supply commitments.256 The Timaru Herald noted that Fraser was for the first time criticising the general direction of the war: ‘he considers, and rightly so, that New Zealand's first war task now is to co-operate in whatever moves are made to keep the Japanese as far as possible from these shores’, which must involve driving them from bases whence they could push south.257 To the Otago Daily Times, the situation now called for re-allocation of manpower in the Services and industry, and, ‘as the Prime Minister's opinion that a holding war … is not sufficient may be endorsed’, the government must face up to highly complex problems.258 The Dominion foresaw that Fraser's proposed review might alter the channels of effort, concentrating more on production and supply.259 The New Zealand Herald, urging strongly that the Division should remain in the Middle East, opposed the idea, underlined by Coates on 7 December, of sending ‘men and more men’ to the Pacific. This page 710 would impose heavy, indeed impossible, burdens on one and a half million people. The huge population and wealth of the United States must bear the brunt of the approaching offensive while New Zealand must reduce its home forces, make more use of the Home Guard, reinforce the Division in the Middle East and restrict its service in the Pacific largely to garrison duties. ‘We shall perform our duty better if we cut our military coat according to our cloth.’260
Several factors favoured acceptance of the policy filtered down from Churchill, Roosevelt and non-Pacific military leaders of merely holding Japan in check while concentrating on Germany. The slow, hard fight in New Guinea and Guadalcanal had bred the idea that driving the Japanese north would take years, but that when the full might of the Allied navies and other forces could combine in attacking the enemy mainland, all the occupied lands would fall like ripe plums.261 Japanese tenacity and the squalor of jungle fighting, the waste of time in retraining and the squandering of lives during apprenticeship to the jungle and the Japanese, were doubly unattractive set against the harvest of golden opinions which the 2nd Division was winning by hard-earned expertise. It could also be argued that if the Pacific offensive were to be long delayed, New Zealand should concentrate on providing supplies rather than soldiers for it.
Further, Pacific-mindedness was far from widespread. The Press, while noting that New Zealand was beginning to discover its environment, reminded that for more than 50 years the South Pacific and its islands had scarcely entered national consciousness. Fiji, the Cook Islands or Samoa meant less to the average New Zealander than Denmark or Holland or Egypt; six months earlier very few could have located Pago Pago or knew anything of the status of Tonga or the geography of Fiji.262 The longstanding preoccupation of radio and newspapers with the European and Middle East war reinforced this remoteness from the Pacific. And behind all the talk and tendencies was the hard military fact that as yet there were not the men and hardware needed for a major Pacific offensive. As the Press pointed out on 11 March 1943: ‘In spite of American mass production and mass mobilisation, the United Nations have not enough men, aeroplanes, and munitions to stage war-winning offensives, east and west, at once. The decision to concentrate on Germany and Italy and hold Japan was not capricious or short-sighted but inevitable.’page 711
Meanwhile, the ‘general feeling’ of which Fraser had informed Churchill,263 that the 2nd Division should return, flared up, ranging in its public expression from trade union remits to letters from fiancées and mothers. Thus late in November the New Zealand Federated Labourers' Conference urged that the Division which had served so magnificently should be returned to New Zealand's threatened shores and that other troops could go to the Middle East. If the whole Division could not be brought back, those who had been away almost three years should be returned in drafts for a spell.264 ‘Wedding Bells’ spoke for fiancées:
The past three years have been long months of anxiety and loneliness, but these last few weeks a ray of hope has crept into our dismal hearts. Surely after all the brave deeds our sweethearts have done they will be brought home for a rest. Surely, instead of always watching the others, we too will be able to wear a frock of white and carry orange blossoms and feel the warmth of a baby's arms. Alas, the ray is soon quenched when we read of the probability of our loved ones being shipped off to Europe to most likely spend another three long years on the battlefront. Bring the division home is our cry.265
The cry was echoed with variations in many letters, notably in the Auckland Star,266 but also in other papers. One urged that early volunteers, the cream of young manhood, should be breeding the future generation.267 They could be replaced by others, such as the soldiers then leaning on their rifles at home. Several warned against leaving men at the front too long till they were burnt out and broken as in the last war.268 As the Auckland Star itself noted on 5 December 1942, its own proposal to bring the Division back for Pacific service was confused, especially by next-of-kin, with the feeling that the men had done their share nobly and should now return to loving arms and well-earned rest, followed by home service or industry. The idea of sending them off again to fever-stricken islands was clearly repugnant to some.269
The evolution of the decision to maintain the 2nd Division in the Mediterranean as New Zealand's main striking force, while Pacific troops waned, is lucidly set forth by Professor Wood,270 but outside page 712 Cabinet and command counsels the issue of whether New Zealand should fight in two theatres was linked with the other question: should New Zealand soldiers fight in the Pacific or would their most useful Pacific service be the production of food and base camp facilities for the Americans? July 1942 saw peak mobilisation: 154 549 men and women, though only 52 651 were then overseas.271 This drain was accepted during the anxious period from December 1941 to November 1942, though some lifting of the burden had shown since June in the movement of men into and out of the Army, the jostle at the camp gates described by the Press on 5 March 1943.272
Obviously it would be more profitable to concentrate on production, and to practical New Zealanders more concerned with post-war trade prospects than with post-war power politics it also seemed more necessary. As 1942 closed, various bodies debated the manpower needs of the forces and of industry, and considered adjustments that would ease the strain. At Christchurch on 25 November, in a conference called by the Progress League, 40 Canterbury organisations and local bodies held that the country had bitten off more than it could chew and called on the government to review manpower. There must be food for the Allies and the oppressed countries after the war, as well as for normal customers but instead manpower shortages were reducing production. Continuous home service was ‘wasteful of manpower, inefficient, costly, tedious, and frustrating to the men concerned’; it was especially demoralising for 18-year-olds. There should be short intensive training, then release to civilian work, and fewer Home Guard and EPS parades. For a few, prisoners-of-war seemed an obvious source of labour, not only for productive work but for land clearing and development; the government should follow other Empire countries in bringing in these prisoners especially Italians who were law-abiding, excellent workers and who would not need much military control.273 A Press editorial criticised the appeal system, which kept men in suspense for months.274
At Auckland, during eight days shortly before Christmas 1942, the local Chamber of Commerce, the Trades Council, the employers' and the manufacturers' associations pondered together, and their findings were endorsed by the executive of the Auckland Farmers' page 713 Union. They agreed that the development of United States power in the Pacific had removed the immediate menace and created new problems. New Zealand should now move from maximum military defence to maximum utilisation of manpower in production for American demands. They had ‘grave misgivings’ about maintaining a large active force in the Pacific; they thought that there could be substantial economy in overseas training and still more in home defence. Military training for all between 18 and 46 years should be accepted, but it should be for limited periods only, while women in the forces could be used both more widely and with more economy. Industrial efficiency should be improved through more manpower utilisation and production committees; those already established had rendered excellent service.275
Even as these recommendations were published on 23 December McLagan, advising the just-balloted 41–5-year-old men to stay in their jobs, announced that the government would re-consider the utilisation of manpower early in the New Year.276 Several newspapers commented on the Auckland conference. The New Zealand Herald remarked that unanimity among such bodies was as rare as it should be influential. New Zealand had reached the end of its military resources and must ask whether the production front was being stripped to man the fighting front which would be disabled without adequate supplies.277 The Evening Post found the government's decision to review manpower wise and timely. The Auckland conference had rightly pointed to new problems, including production for Americans, and maximum utilisation could be achieved by training intensively as many men as possible, then releasing them to industry.278 To the Press, these Auckland resolutions were the result that might be expected from the government's indecision, weakness and reticence: unofficial organisations had begun to talk about manpower with great freedom and frankness, and the public listened. ‘Statements of this sort which are growing increasingly frequent, acutely embarrass the government and its military advisers, who cannot reply to them effectively without disclosing facts which the enemy would be glad to know.’ In war, where only the government and its military advisers knew all the relevant facts, the government's manpower policy decisions should be taken on trust, but the public did not have this trust because evidence was accumulating page 714 that the government manpower policy was no more than a set of feeble compromises.279
This pressure to contribute goods rather than fighting men was reproved by some papers. In the post-war Pacific those who had shared the heat and burden would be seriously heard, while those who had supplied the biscuits and jam would be ‘also present’, warned the Auckland Star of 23 December. The Star–Sun thought that these proposals, to satisfy the manpower needs of production and the commercial sector first and keep the residue, if any, under arms lest the Japanese break through, would ‘shock the community .… This will not suit the Britons of the South. There is going to be no gibe that New Zealanders defended their shores to the last drop of American blood.’280
At least two provincial papers welcomed the ‘strong advice’ of the Auckland conference. The Timaru Herald, with some agility, said: ‘That this country should allow total responsibility for the defence of New Zealand soil to rest with others would be an idea totally repugnant to most New Zealanders. However, such a thought is not even remotely implied.… The question is simply one of deciding what is the most effective contribution New Zealand can make to the war.’ The plain fact was that the Japanese could be driven from their outposts only by stronger bodies of troops than New Zealand could supply; ‘New Zealand will naturally have a considerable part to play in the general Pacific campaign, but that part cannot be exclusively military’. Inevitably New Zealand was a supply base, but recently Service demands had been so tough that capacity in this role had been ‘seriously prejudiced’; large releases from the forces had been necessary, and there should be still more from the ‘standing army’ of thousands unfit for overseas service. The issue was plain, and the government should not need outside advice. The present critical stage, concluded the voice of Timaru, perhaps echoing the Press, would not have been reached if the government had planned the use of manpower scientifically instead of taking a drifting policy which it was not anxious to have discussed in Parliament.281
The Wanganui Herald approved the Auckland advice as bold and timely. There was a good case for training every man fit for overseas service, but what could be said for keeping thousands of the less fit in camps, fed, clothed and housed at community expense, their wives meagrely supported by taxation? Most could be returned to civilian page 715 life and the Home Guard. ‘Why have a standing army for home defence when it has no battles to fight and looks as if it never will? And above all, why go on extending it, specially when the need for labour in all kinds of civil occupations is desperate?’282
In all, it could be said that the Auckland conference and its reception showed wide feeling that New Zealand was doing more than its share of soldiering, and that it was time to turn to other things. The line of thought that New Zealand could take an adequate part in the Pacific without actually fighting there readily linked into and augmented belief that the Middle East and Europe were the proper theatres for New Zealand's fighting men, a belief firmly held by the National party, among others. During a by-election campaign early in 1943, Sullivan stated that it was the desire and intention of the government to return the 2nd Division home as soon as possible.283 Holland, who had repeatedly said that New Zealand was over-strained and that it was absurd to have two divisions overseas, plus heavy Air Force and Navy commitments, declared this statement to be a great and painful surprise, proof that the government was hopelessly out of touch with public opinion. He could imagine no greater injury to the war effort or anything that would be more bitterly resented by the gallant fighting men than this talk of withdrawal, and nothing would please Rommel more. He added that the home front was not in New Zealand as some might think, but ‘up at Guadalcanar, at Rabaul, at Buna and elsewhere in the disease-infested tropical area’, and that New Zealanders were quite unused to jungle fighting.284 The Auckland Star commented that New Zealanders would not relish the implication that these dangers should be braved by Australians and Americans but not by New Zealanders.285
The government's action amid all this was two-fold: as stated earlier, on 6 March 1943 War Cabinet approved the increase for the 3rd Division, which would convert it from a garrison to a combat force;286 and on 25 March measures were announced to quicken releases from the Army to industry of men below overseas standard.287 In a mid-March debate, Holland and Polson strongly criticised the build-up of the Pacific force, saying that New Zealand for its size had too many soldiers and was running out of men.288 Coates, seeing the 2nd Division as ‘the spirit of the Eighth Army’, said that page 716 its recall would be very discouraging to that Army, and he was confident that New Zealand could maintain both forces for 12 months, and provide a net gain to industry of four to five thousand men.289 Several Labour members, Nordmeyer,290 Anderton291 and Frost,292 advocated the return of the Division as soon as military circumstances permitted, for retraining and Pacific service. Combs,293 another Labour man, spoke for it remaining where it had done such splendid service, a blow struck in Tunisia being as effective for New Zealand's safety as a minesweeper in Hauraki Gulf.294 Fraser reminded that New Zealand could not scuttle out of war in the Pacific now if it wished to be heard afterwards, but promised that at the end of the Tunisian campaign the Division's future would be decided by the House. He also said that everything possible must be done to release some of the longest serving men: a start must be made with the First Echelon at any rate.295 This was a reference to the furlough scheme then being discussed with Army leaders and with Churchill,296 a scheme that would soothe at least a section of those calling for the return of the Division.
Soldiers in the 2nd Division also discussed the Middle East–Pacific question and, to judge by scattered letters that reached newspapers and a few references in official documents, they preferred to keep out of the Pacific. On 6 May 1943 Jones, visiting the Division, cabled that while there seemed to be a general desire to return to New Zealand, ‘I formed the impression that there was no desire on the part of the men here to fight in the Solomons.’297 Fraser inquired (7 May), ‘What exactly is in their minds if they don't want to go into the Pacific after they return? Do they wish merely to have leave and then return to the Middle East?’ Had it been made quite clear to them that Americans were here not as garrison troops defending New Zealand but were using the country only as a base for training or recuperating after service?298 Jones replied on 10 May with what Wood has called exasperating but probably accurate obscurity that he had made it clear that there was no question of replacing Americans in New Zealand, but the Division had heard of conditions in page 717 New Guinea and the Solomons, and while he felt sure that they would serve where required, the majority, given the option, would prefer the healthier Middle East theatre.299 A soldier wrote that men of the 2nd Division had no desire ‘to limp home as worn-out veterans’, to ‘some killing garrison job in New Zealand or the islands’.300 Another said that there was no wish, after home leave, to tackle the Japanese; it would be ‘better to stay here and finish our part, then return to New Zealand and know that, for us, there will be no more active service, but perhaps a spot of Home Guard, or, better still, a job in “essential industry” making about ten notes a week.’301 Such feeling was to harden when the first furlough draft came back.
The 2nd Division was conspicuous in the Tunisian successes of late March and April 1943 and, despite the sadness of heavy casualties, satisfaction in these fighting men was confirmed and strengthened. Indeed, one colonel was later moved to write that, contrary to some popular belief, other divisions also acted as spearheads, and although he was himself a one-eyed New Zealander he knew from experience the fighting qualities of, for instance, the 51st (Highland) Division, the 9th Australian Division and the Indian troops.302 Meanwhile descriptions of the slow, soggy, slogging struggle of jungle fighting confirmed feeling that the Middle East and Europe were better battle-grounds than the Pacific. There was also feeling that the Pacific war was America's show; America was so much larger and comparatively so much less mobilised than New Zealand.303 Men of the 2nd Division disliked the idea of starting afresh, overshadowed by the big nation.
Fraser on 4 December 1942 had said: ‘I do not believe in the theory of a holding war in the Pacific while the fullest efforts are concentrated on one second front in Europe. … It is only right that we should take part in the Pacific offensive’.304 But late in April 1943 he set forth to Churchill a changed policy, based on feelings in the country, with a request that Churchill should smooth the way for its full acceptance by New Zealand's Parliament:
A message from you, which I could read to Parliament in secret session, appealing for the retention of the Division ‘on symbolic and historical as well as military grounds’ would, I feel, have very great influence especially if you could associate President Roosevelt with yourself in the message.… President Roosevelt's name, page 718 alongside your own, would powerfully reinforce the appeal, and … I feel that the New Zealand Parliament should be apprised of the United States' view.305
Churchill on 3 May cabled back in his fullest style: the New Zealand Division had held a foremost place in the ever-famous fighting march of the Desert Army from the battlefields of Alamein to the gates of Tunis, a ‘shining place in the van of the advance.… There could not be any more glorious expression of the links which bind together the Commonwealth and Empire, and bind in a special manner the hearts of the people of the British and New Zealand isles, than the feats of arms which the New Zealanders … have performed’. On military grounds, General Alexander306 and General Montgomery ardently wished that they would maintain their association with the 51st Highland Division, ‘one equal temper of heroic minds’, to the liberation of Europe.
Yet it is not on those grounds that I make this request to the Government and people of New Zealand. I make it even more upon the sentiments which unite our Commonwealth of Nations. I can, of course, replace the New Zealand Division with another well-trained division from the United Kingdom. It is the symbolic and historic value of our continued comradeship in arms that moves me. I feel that the intervention of the New Zealand Division on European soil, at a time when the homeland of New Zealand is already so strongly engaged with Japan, will constitute a deed of fame to which many generations of New Zealanders will look back with pride.307
This message did not involve Roosevelt, but a fortnight later, when Churchill was in Washington, Fraser again pressed him to discuss the Division's future with Roosevelt, and received on 17 May a further cable from Churchill, saying: ‘Both the President and I feel very strongly that it would be a great pity to withdraw the New Zealand Division from the Mediterranean theatre where it has given such splendid service. We hope means will be found to sustain both divisions in their present strength and station. If this cannot be done, it would be better when the time comes to accept a lower establishment.’ The cable pointed out that the 2nd Division would not be in action until September or October, and that shipping for its page 719 repatriation would entail great loss in the build-up for attacking France in 1944.308
Freyberg on 13 May had pleaded movingly for the Division to remain where it had fought so hard and won such honour. ‘It seems to me that just as Mr Churchill has inspired a nation with words so your Division has been his counterpart with deeds. If the New Zealand Division never fought again it would rank as one of the finest divisions of all times and be spoken of as we speak today of Craufurd's309 Light Division in the Peninsula.’ The Division itself would welcome remaining in the Middle East, where it knew its enemy and how to fight him, while its presence in a Balkan campaign would greatly encourage the people of Greece and Crete.310
Armed with these missives, Fraser on 21 May could steer the issue through a secret session ‘in an atmosphere almost entirely removed from party politics and partisanship.’311 The Pacific-minded section of Labour accepted the argument and would remain loyal in any case, while the Opposition was placated and deprived of an election plank.312 Fraser had shown to the full both his political and military intuition.
It was decided that the 2nd Division would remain in the Middle East and go on to Europe; that both divisions would be maintained as long as possible, with smaller establishments as manpower ran out; that long-service men, beginning with 6000 from the first three echelons, would be relieved, replaced in the first instance by fresh men from New Zealand, later by those returning from furlough, and that the Pacific Division would be re-organised on a reduced scale, with adjustments to its troops then in New Zealand.313
Though ground fighting in both Europe and the Pacific was apparently provided for, in reality the implications of these decisions tilted the scales towards Europe. The only men available to relieve the first three echelons were those promised in March to the 3rd Division, which would have made it a full combat force and without which it could be no more than two brigades.314 Fraser on 30 August 1943 told Admiral Halsey that eventually Mediterranean reinforcements must be drawn from New Zealand troops in the Pacific, and at about the same time, in an election speech, he said openly that page 720 within months troops in the Pacific would be used to strengthen the 2nd Division.315
The 3rd Division was accordingly of minor usefulness, the tasks given it were minor, and in all eyes it became more an available source both for reinforcing the 2nd Division and for home production. It was the Air Force that bore New Zealand's real share in Pacific service, with the Navy some way behind. Early in June 1943 Halsey's deputy, Rear-Admiral T. S. Wilkinson,316 told War Cabinet that in American evaluation of New Zealand's part ‘Air came first, Navy second, production third and Army fourth’.317 By May 1943 there were 3000 airmen in seven squadrons with 89 aircraft serving in Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, New Caledonia and Fiji with plans, depending on the arrival of aircraft etc, to build these up to 14 squadrons and 6600 men.318 In October 1944 the RNZAF had 7500 men and women in the Pacific zone and their number rose to 7972 in April 1945.319
The importance of farm production, even ranged against defence claims, was further measured by the various Army schemes that brought in the sheaves and the hay and potatoes between January 1942 and the 1944–5 season. In the midst of the post-Japan rush to camp Semple, on 16 January 1942, announced that farmers whose lately called up workers were urgently needed for harvesting could have them released temporarily.320 This worked well, with quick releases, men being out 24 hours after applications went in, while the entrance of others was delayed till the harvest was gathered.321 Apart from these releases, unit commanders helped local farmers by lending men for harvest work on their own responsibility, an unofficial arrangement with no payment involved.322
Though the Army did not ask farmers for money, the soldiers themselves were less obliging, at least in some areas, as D. C. Kidd,323 member for Waitaki, told the House in May 1942. A Captain Anderson had come to his district to explain how farmers could get page 721 men two days after an application. He also explained that the young men released from military duties for essential work had to be volunteers.
These young men held a meeting, and stated that they wanted £3 10s a week for a five-day week, working nine hours a day, or a total of forty-five hours in a week. Just imagine the position facing this essential industry! We must get the crop in. The elements are against us, and yet young men tell us that they will not work more than forty-five hours a week to put in the crop. That sort of thing irritates the farmer.324
Next season, with primary production councils pointing out that wheat acreage was increased and labour depleted,325 the Minister of Defence on 8 December 1942 announced that to make hay and silage and to harvest the main crops, unit commanders were authorised, when convinced of genuine need, to release men from camp for up to 28 days; for longer periods, application must be made through Manpower officers.326 Then, a few days before Christmas, on 21 December, the Ministers of Defence and Supply jointly stated that this was inadequate. In appropriate South Island areas Army units and sub-units would be moved to improvised camps to do harvesting work under Army control. Military commanders, aided by farmers' organisations, made reconnaissance for camp sites from which to attack the silage, hay, grain and potatoes, working out supply and transport problems. Liaison officers with farming experience were in each group, Army radios and telephones made communication easy, trucks took the men to and from the farms daily, though on isolated farms some were billeted. Farmers provided tools, teas and midday meals, and paid 2s 3d an hour per man to the Army; the soldiers received their military pay, the balance going to camp funds. Normal Army training, it was stated, would continue during any pause in harvest work; Church parades in the stubble were photographed, there were jokes about Stukas and stocking to conquer.327
Afterwards, the National Service Department claimed, ‘It is the general opinion that the harvest in the South Island was gathered more efficiently last season than ever before’, and gave full credit to the Army which, besides supplying enough men for peak demands, used its field equipment to keep page 722 several hundreds of men in each locality working as one complete body. Field radio stations kept Unit Commanders continuously posted of the latest developments. Army lorries shifted men and supplies rapidly from place to place as crops ripened or work was completed, while local resources of labour, tractors, etc., were in many cases taken over and used collectively in their own locality as the Army organisation moved through the district. Threshed grain was transported to the rail, and transport arrangements were in many cases carried right through to the flour mills themselves. At the peak of the season, some 8000 to 10 000 men were engaged in some phase of harvesting work.328
In the 1943–4 season, the Army, much diminished by overseas exodus and by home force reductions, could not repeat this performance with mobilised troops, but Territorials were called up to do a month's work on farms in place of a month's military service. They were not balloted but selected by local committees, consisting of the military area officer, the secretary of the local armed forces appeal board and the district manpower officer. After appeals, 13 240 men were listed for collective harvesting. Single or childless married men of 18–40 were preferred, then married men up to 30 years old, with up to three children. Numerous essential industries, such as railways, butter and cheese factories and electric power, had block exemptions, while the selection committees chose those whose absence for a month would least disrupt industry, and at the most suitable times: for instance, grocery assistants were not called up during December.330
Successive drafts lived in temporary camps set up and run by the Army at places chosen in the light of district needs, assessed by primary production councils. They were taken to farms in a 20-mile radius by Army transport, and wore Army denims.331 This year the scheme applied to the North Island as well, including its large vegetable farms, but about 2400 North Island men went to some of the South Island's 60 camps.332 Farmers paid 2s 6d an hour to the Agriculture Department, while the men received the Army's 7s 6d a day, page 723 plus 6d an hour bonus and 2s 6d an hour for work beyond 8 hours a day or before 7 am and after 5 pm.333 There was some hard feeling when Territorials were working alongside civilians who had better pay rates, such as potato pickers doing 80 bags a day for 6d a bag.334 Some Territorials were sent to the freezing works, but there they received normal rates, £6 4s 4d a week, plus any overtime.335
Work was needed for a considerable time, from the hay making of December to South Island potato gathering in April and May.336 Not all the men selected were actually posted and there were complaints that primary production councils had over-estimated farmers' needs.337 Some farmers were critical that many were lads under 20, willing enough but inexperienced and neither fit for heavy stocking nor worth 2s 6d an hour; consequently demand for them slackened. In previous seasons many had been older men, used to farm work; the younger men found it both hard and dull.338 There were also reports of splendid organisation and of highly satisfied farmers paying bonuses, one even taking his men to an hotel dinner.339
In the 1944–5 season, fewer men were needed: the 3rd Division and other releases were bringing the supply of farm workers nearer to normal, and more machinery was available. The Territorial organisation of the previous year was not repeated, but a limited number of mobilised men were available for more carefully checked requirements, with fewer camps than in the last two seasons.340
Inevitably, within the community there were mixed feelings about the men reserved from military service because of their value to industry. Obviously there were some men of far more use to the country in their own jobs than as soldiers. There were also borderline cases: there were government servants, whose value to the nation was not obvious to their neighbours; there were farmers' sons whose fathers had acquired more land and set their sons on it. Though it was no easy matter for appeal boards to decide whether an older or less fit man could be trained in reasonable time for a skilled job, ordinary men and women formed clear opinions on this case or that, page 724 opinions in which the term ‘racket’ occurred not infrequently, especially when their own sons, brothers, friends or husbands had forborne to make such appeals, or their employers had been too patriotic to make them. Other employers, keen to retain trained men, single or otherwise, in skilled work, thereby avoiding the mistakes inevitable with change and less experienced staff, made as strong a case as possible. The good pay, augmented by bonuses and overtime, drawn by many reserved men heightened jealousy.
A newspaper letter from an Ashburton farmer's wife, with two sons, one serving his country, the other still at school, shows some of the feelings current.
Certainly farming is hard work, but there are many farmers getting in some cases more than one son off. I agree there are certainly some genuine cases, but the ‘so-called genuine’ cases make it terribly hard for a man with a real case; he is almost ashamed to apply. Provided the farmer has a tractor, he can farm up to 400 or 500 acres with very little outside aid; my own husband does, and our farm is in first-class order. At times, when necessary, I myself go out and do my share in the paddocks, but it hurts when you see others hiding their sons behind a bag of wheat. Most farmers have daughters who can drive a car, so therefore should be able to drive a tractor, milk, etc. 1 do and I find it no hardship, besides doing my own housework. My advice to the Appeal Boards is to get one or two genuine men to go into the different districts and inquire into the cases, especially of some which had been adjourned sine die.341
To the men themselves, their friends and families, and to many casual people, it appeared differently: they were working hard, doing necessary things, without the praise lavished on soldiers. Three letters, two written in 1943–4, one a long time after the war, show some aspects of their position and attitudes:
I am sure that I speak for most essential grade I men when I say we have been appealed for on numerous occasions, and our appeals have been adjourned sine die. Many of us have opposed our appeals but to no avail.… According to our employers, we are already in the Army, but ‘on loan’ to the essential industries.… While agreeing that in some cases grade I men may have easy jobs, that does not go for all. My ‘cushy’ job is working every week-night from sundown to sunrise at the most nerve-wracking machinery342 page 725 Another letter written in September 1969 recalled how a farmer toiled to stay with his land and his young family. He had bought 120 acres just before the war, and was milking 40 cows.
We had 5 young children—a bad season and a big mortgage. On the ‘Day’ my husband's name was listed in the paper … for overseas service, I'll never forget the ghostly look on my husband's face that morning. He said, ‘What am I going to do? I want to do my share, but I can't leave you & the children & the farm, with all this debt.’
His own farm, with its 40 cows, was too small for large crops, but the manager of the local stock and station firm advised that good land nearby could be leased for wheat growing,343 and advanced credit for a new tractor and plough which made the whole undertaking possible, and the farmer's appeal was granted. ‘My husband would get up at 4 am each morning, milk the 40 cows, feed the pigs; eat a hurried breakfast, and off he'd go to the Plough … until dark, then come home, & milk the cows, coming in to tea most nights 9 or 10 o'clock.’ His wife, with the young children, could not milk, but:
grew vegetables, lots & lots of them, & flowers, & sold as many eggs as I could.… We had one aim, to reduce our debt [to the firm] as soon as possible to prove our worth in the confidence they had in us. The crops were reasonably good … and it was a wonderful feeling to know we were ‘doing our bit’ although there were the occasional few who sort of wondered ‘Why’ my husband didn't go overseas with the rest, in a sneering sort of a way. This hurt both of us, as we were really trying to do almost as much as the ones who ‘went away’. Those few never realised the big effort we were gladly making to help save our Country. The ones behind the lines, as in all things, are often doing as much sometimes more than those in the front lines.344
Another man in 1944 regretted his retention, resented criticism, and was aware that the gap between those who fought and those who stayed would persist: ‘It might be a strange fact for the RSA to digest, but there will be many Grade A men like myself who envy the soldiers.… We are aware that we are out of it; and that we will always be out of it.’ He suggested that retained men should form their own association in lieu of Service associations, its coat of arms showing a muscular worker ‘held back by an obvious official page 726 with a spool of red tape and the president of the RSA attacking our unprotected rear with an Army boot.’345
It was known that about 40 000 Grade I men were held in Industry, of whom about 13 000 were single. The latter especially were the targets of envy and criticism. Since June 1942 men had been called up in age groups, irrespective of family responsibilities, but uneasiness persisted at this departure from the 1914–18 procedure of taking first those with the least family responsibility. Mothers of young families bitterly resented their men being sent overseas while others, fit and childless, were safe;346 others shared their feeling. Thus Orr-Walker SM, chairman of an Auckland armed forces appeal board, said it was ‘monstrous’ that men with several children were being sent to camp while jobs that such men could do, given a few months' training, were filled by fit young men on good wages.347
An appeal case illustrated at workshop level the conflict implicit in many retentions. The making of munitions was organised by the government, with various engineering firms producing components to order, along with other items for both civil and military use. A government munitions liaison officer, appealing for 12 employees of one such firm, was asked by the Crown representative if he maintained that a Grade I single man who was making ploughs should not have to go to the war, even though a married man with three children might have to go in his place. He replied that it was departmental policy to urge the retention of all engineers, single or otherwise. The Crown representative, asking if this policy was made public, was answered, ‘I don't think so. Why should it?’ and replied ‘Because the public should know that though it is drummed in every mouth by politicians that single men must go there is at least one Department that is not prepared to accept that principle.’348
These many-faceted grievances, probably largely inevitable, smouldered. They flared up when the volunteers of the first echelons, with three years' service behind them, came home on three months' leave, and were expected thereafter to return to Europe.349
From the start of 1943, or even earlier, Army Headquarters in Wellington and the Middle East had considered the possibilities of giving long-service men home leave, replacing the first draft with reinforcements and successive drafts with men returning from leave.page 727
After discussions with all concerned, from Churchill down,350 this became reality. On the morning of 12 July 1943 (when the invasion of Sicily filled the headlines) the Nieuw Amsterdam, preceded by a deal of rumour351 and cryptic telegrams to next-of-kin, brought more than 6000 men of the first three echelons to the wharf at Wellington. In a cold southerly drizzle a crowd, mainly women, pressed against the gates. There was no parade—this was left for the home towns—and the men were hastened home, blessed with railway passes for holiday travel and with 10 gallons of petrol a month, the current civilian ration being 1–2 gallons a month. It was firmly stated by various authorities that they were on three months' leave and would be returning. Reports quoted men as saying that they wanted to go back to their mates and finish the job.
Almost immediately, however, feeling against their return to Europe reared up strongly. The RSA at Oamaru led off on 13 July, remarking that here they had the best argument yet for ‘getting at the shirkers’. A meeting resolved that these men, especially the married ones, should if they wished take positions in the home service army or in industry, releasing Grade I men for overseas. Employers who had had three years to replace such men could now prove their sincerity and those sitting back on ‘cushy’ commissions or as instructors could show their keenness to serve.352 An editorial approving this ‘thoughtfully worded resolution’ said that it would be widely held that every effort should be made to keep any of those men in New Zealand who wanted positions in home defence or in essential industry not so highly technical as to need a long period of specialised training.353 The Dominion on 5 August reported endorsement of this idea by the Makara–Hutt Valley Farmers' Union, and on that same day the Director of Publicity ordered that there should be no reference without his permission to soldiers on furlough replacing men in essential occupations or on farms, or to the future composition or disposition of New Zealand forces overseas.354 Accordingly there were no more published carpings, only reports in various towns of receptions and parades of the furlough men augmented by others who had been sent home earlier.
But such ideas simmered as the veterans viewed what they had been defending for three years. They saw the country on the eve of an election, in no mood of uplifted unity or effort. People had become used to the war, they picked their way through it, fitting normal page 728 lives into it as far as they could. Those with men they loved overseas lived in anxiety, deep-seated if not overtly anguished. Some people were working very hard but many merely worked their 40 hours or so, comfortably aware that with labour extremely scarce their jobs were secure despite any slackness. Many jobs offered overtime and a few paid wages above awards; the resultant pay-packets, which probably lost nothing in the telling, seemed very good to men who remembered pre-war wages. Inevitably, with three years of fighting and of North African camp life in their bones, they felt unfamiliar at home, emotionally dislocated in familiar surroundings. This feeling crystallised around resentment of stay-at-home soldiers and fit young men on good pay. They were not soothed by the presence of thousands of Americans and the pre-occupation of many girls with exotic, better-paid boy-friends.
The future of the furlough men did not become an election issue, although reports of Holland saying, at the start of the campaign, that ‘no man should be sent to the war twice before everybody had gone once’ caused the Director of Publicity to remove, on 2 September, the silence imposed on 5 August.355 The subject was avoided: the men were in the Army and politicians did not encroach on Army affairs; they were part of a scheme, approved by very high command, in which by returning they released others.
The Dominion on 1 October 1943, under the heading ‘Statement Awaited by Men's Relations’, looked all round the question of their return. During the election the Prime Minister had hoped that the married men might be able to remain and that all cases might be considered; although men must return before others could be relieved, the Prime Minister had also said that the government had never claimed that it could maintain two divisions indefinitely and that within months the Pacific Division would be used to strengthen the 2nd Division.356 Militarily, battle-trained men were extra-valuable, while replacements drawn from industry would need several months of training. There was overwhelming public feeling that at least the married men, especially those with children, should not have to go to the war twice while others went not at all, but there were harder and more practical factors to consider. Men who had gone as early volunteers would not care to go before appeal boards, feeling that this would link them with objectors to service; a line of demarcation by the government, based on domestic responsibilities and length of service, would be preferable.357page 729
Also on 1 October, the Prime Minister announced358 that, except for essential personnel, all married men with children, all men of 41 years or more and all Maoris should return to civil life unless they volunteered to go again to the Middle East. All not medically up to standard would be exempted, also those whose appeals on grounds of undue hardship were recommended by service appeal boards and allowed by the Army. Leave was extended till the end of October.
Medical boarding and the hearing of appeals started on 12 October, and thereafter some bitter letters appeared in the press by or on behalf of those liable to return: they had lived with hardship and danger for three and a half years, doing the spade work in times of inadequate equipment and air support, they had been proud volunteers and were now conscripts, while fit young men sheltered in home camps or on high wages in essential industry. ‘If 6000 cannot be raised out of those we see running around our cities, then I will eat my tin hat.’359
Naturally, the RSA espoused the cause. There was widespread reporting of Auckland RSA speeches about husky young men in and out of uniform who had never seen a day's service, and of virtual conscription after four years in the Army. They believed that the war would last another two years and if men were overseas for six years they would not be fit for civilian life afterwards. The local president stressed this last point and inequality of sacrifice, saying that the Association had already contended that length of service should be a ground for appeal. It would not be satisfied if men with four years' service were sent back while fit single men made £10 or more a week.360 The Wellington RSA on 19 October, and the national body next day, while recognising that decisions on military needs must rest with the government, that military exigencies might require the return of the furlough men to active service and that some men in other units, such as the Navy and Air Force, had been serving even longer, called firmly for a thorough review of the manpower situation. The remedy was to comb out a division from the 35 000 fit, category A, retained men, and to reduce the industries classed as essential.361
Appeal boards were uneasy. The Auckland RSA had protested strongly over board members who had never been soldiers hearing page 730 the appeals of returned men.362 Appeals could be made on hardship grounds only, but board members pointed out that the occupations of some, eg, dental mechanics or fitters and turners, would have kept them in New Zealand had they not volunteered in the first place. Also, appeal boards could not decide cases: they could only discover the facts and submit them to Army authorities which would decide yea or nay. The boards would have preferred to have the last word: one member was widely reported as saying that he would recommend the retention of every man who came before him. ‘When a man has done three years' service he has done enough.’363 Sir Apirana Ngata declared that all the furlough draft except key men should be made to stay home.364
All these awkward utterances caused the Director of Publicity on 21 October to reimpose silence concerning the furlough men365 but talk continued, and occasional references slipped into print. For instance, on 20 November in the Auckland Star a letter referred to the RSA proposal to replace with returned men home service soldiers who had ‘dug into soft jobs on the clerical side’, exploiting the war ‘for a safe, tax free, well-clothed job’ which would be ideal for the rehabilitation of returned men. An endorsing letter, three days later, said that seeing idle men, many in officers' uniforms, had a ‘disturbing and unsettling effect’ on the furlough men and ‘when they return to their units (if they do) will have a serious result on the efficiency of the Division.’366
Only 1637 men were due to return after various appeals and after 2664 had been downgraded medically,367 which number suggested that doctors were not anxious to push reluctant men back to the front. Waiting for a suitable ship delayed their calling-up for nearly two months past the end of October, which encouraged belief that the government was wavering.368 Finally, when they were called to camp early in January 1944, the majority objected to sailing again while so many fit men remained in industry. After explanations by the Ministers of Defence and Rehabilitation, about 670 sailed with the 11th Reinforcements on 12 January; others later decided to go page 731 and in all more than 900 men re-embarked. Further medical downgradings and other changes narrowed the resisting core down to about 430369
Developments in the furlough strike have been described elsewhere370 and may be summarised briefly here. Despite the ban on publicity there was a sense of public support, and the resisters, in interviews with War Cabinet on 26 February 1944 and with the Prime Minister on 14 March, insisted that they would not go again till most of the Grade I men in industry were combed out. Court-martialled for desertion, they were convicted and sentenced to 90 days detention and lost all rank. Sentences were suspended pending judgment by the Court of Appeal, which on 5 April quashed the desertion convictions but said that the men could have been tried for insubordination, perhaps even mutiny.
War Cabinet then decided that those still resisting should be dismissed for misconduct and directed into essential industry, losing privileges such as mufti allowance, deferred pay, rehabilitation benefits and any gratuity due at the war's end. Legal challenges later caused deferred pay and mufti allowances to be restored. From a second furlough draft of 1900 that returned to New Zealand in February 1944, about 100 similarly refused to return and were also dismissed. A legal part of the dismissal procedure was publication of names in the Gazette; 407 appeared on 20 June 1944 and 143 more on 26 July.
Throughout, the rebels had the silent backing of the RSA and of many others, such as more than 3000 Wellington women who presented a petition to Parliament in August 1944.371 In January 1945 the RSA decided that the dismissed men might become Association members, and at the war's end all dismissal notices were cancelled and privileges restored.
As Professor Wood wrote: ‘… against a group which was popularly felt to have a good case the legal right to coerce became unreal. No one could well deny that any country which accepted the principle that soldiers could retire on their own initiative after three years’ service would be withdrawing itself from effective participation in the war. On the other hand, any civilian might feel distinctly uneasy in forcing page 732 men to return to dangers from which he himself had been sheltered throughout. Cabinet ministers who had emphasised on so many occasions the inestimable debt owed by the country to the men who had fought in Greece and Crete and North Africa found it difficult to treat some of these men as criminals when they argued that what was inestimable was also sufficient. The situation was indeed morally awkward.… Further it was evident that public opinion was in a state not only to appreciate but to exaggerate the force of the men's case for their release.… '372
Freyberg did not ponder moral problems, but recognised battle weariness. Even before the dismissals were gazetted, he wrote on 9 June 1944 to Fraser: ‘Signs are not lacking now that many of the old hands require a prolonged rest.’ If there should be heavy fighting throughout 1945, in the interests of efficiency a replacement scheme, not furlough, was needed, beginning with the withdrawal of 4th Reinforcements;373 in fairness, men of the First, Second and Third Echelons who had returned from New Zealand would have to be included.374
By 13 September 1944 War Cabinet had decided that the cadres of the 3rd Division would be disbanded, and their members, along with those temporarily released to industry and Grade A men held there on appeal, would in succession replace long-service 2nd Division men, beginning with the 4th Reinforcements. Men over 36 years old, or with three or more children, or who had already served three years overseas would not be called on to serve overseas in future.375
On 21 September, when the 4th Reinforcements were returning, Fraser announced this publicly, stating that the 2nd Division, thus supported, would continue in Italy till the end of the fighting there. The policy of replacement will take the place of the furlough scheme in future, and as men become available for sending overseas the various reinforcements will be returned in succession, and also the men of the First, Second, and Third Echelons who returned to the Middle East at the conclusion of their furlough.'376
The news was very well received in Italy, reported Freyberg, though pleasure in it was tempered with doubt that the government would actually carry out the scheme, and ‘that its implementation is not likely to be a speedy process.’377 Certainly replacements came more page 733 slowly than Freyberg had hoped. There were shipping difficulties378 and men were not easy to extract from production,379 though the stringency of appeal hearings increased. At the start of February 1945 appeal boards were told that, except from coalmines and sawmills, they should dismiss without qualification 20 per cent of cases reviewed from then until May.380 Some boards even improved on this: the Auckland board, between 12 January and 6 March, heard 1100 cases, of which 395 were dismissed outright and 172 given short postponement before mobilisation.381 This intensive reviewing produced 4602 men for mobilisation before 30 April.382
Thus it had become generally accepted that three years overseas was all that a man should be required to give. Freyberg perceived that with longer service even troops of the highest morale did less well.383 Doubtless the men concerned were aware of the same thing, from a different angle; so, too, were Rehabilitation officers. Perhaps the fact that in 1914–18 few New Zealanders went much past this term on active service helped to establish the idea that three years overseas was both inestimable and sufficient service. The recalcitrant volunteers, however, in January–April 1944, rammed the point home.
Munitions work, the classic industrial effort of a country at war, was limited but enterprising. There was no thought of self-sufficiency, but the government, the British government and the Eastern Group Supply Council384 assessed New Zealand's resources, includeing its intelligent and adaptable work-force, to decide what could be done that could not be done more economically elsewhere, without using too much shipping space for raw materials, components and tools. About 300 machine tools of the latest design were supplied from overseas but machinery which could be used for or adapted to making munitions or allied war stores existed in the heavy engineering works of the railways and in hundreds of scattered private firms. Through the British Ministry of Supply and ammunitions page 734 advisory committee, links were established through which selected workshops made parts or stages of items which might finally be assembled in another place. Thus in May 1941 two Invercargill firms were finishing the cases of Stokes mortar bombs, the rough castings were made in Dunedin, and they were filled somewhere else.385 A Wellington firm previously working on washing machines turned to making fuses for shells and parts for Thompson sub-machine-guns and aircraft for which it was necessary to design and construct locally 29 entirely new machines; its staff numbered 100, three-quarters being women, their ages ranging from 17 to 63 years.386
The only pre-war munitions factory, the Colonial Ammunition Company making .303 cartridges at Auckland, was for security reasons transferred to dispersed buildings in Hamilton, and in July 1942 women aged from 22 to 25 years living in Hamilton and Cambridge had to register for work there. The plant was expanded to double its output and with overtime and shiftwork produced 257 million rounds of small arms ammunition.387
For the precision essential in munitions work a multitude of gauges, both for production and inspection, was needed. The Dominion Physical Laboratory in Wellington was expanded, with annexes in the four main centres, each equipped with highly specialised machinery which enabled thousands of gauges and precision tools to be manufactured, measured and tested.
New Zealand produced far more than its own requirements of some items, notably 5 500 000 hand grenades and 1 150 000 shell fuses, largely to meet orders from Britain.388 Among other things some 9500 trench mortars, with thousands of spare parts, and 1 308 000 mortar bombs with fuses were produced; 1000 grenade mortars, 3750 rifle grenade dischargers, 10 000 Sten guns, 1500 automatic rifles; 20 million 12-gauge cartridges for training air gunners and 69 000 aircraft practice bombs; 20 000 anti-tank mines for the New Zealand Army; 50 000 chemical land mines for the United States and 19 million ammunition charger clips; 20 000 jungle and other knives. A new gasolene thickener for use with flame-throwing apparatus proved superior to the standard service types: between 5 and 6 tons were produced for American forces in the Pacific.
The railway workshops and the few motor car assembly plants tackled a variety of war gear, including the assembling of some 1200 tracked Bren-gun carriers and the slightly different universal carriers. page 735 Sub-contracts for the multitude of parts were spread throughout the country. For the New Zealand Army 207 light armoured cars were produced and for the United States forces 2641 motor vehicles were re-conditioned.389 There was even some aircraft production. At Rongotai, Wellington, de Havilland Tiger Moths, sufficient for New Zealand's own needs in primary air training, were built. Their engines, instruments and wheels were imported, imported woods, linen and steel tubing were used; again some parts were contributed by other firms.390
The iron-rolling mills at Dunedin stepped up production, working two shifts from September 1940 to January 1944, to process iron and steel for building for the Railways Department and other users. A second plant, with most of its machinery locally made except for the rollers, worked in 1943 from April until October when improved overseas supplies of finished sections caused it to be suspended.391 Much material not actually munitions was made, ranging from hydraulic lifting jacks to tent pins and poles.
Radio making was deeply affected. By mid-1940 local makers, using some imported components, were just able to meet civilian needs. For military use, a general purpose transceiver already developed by 1942 attracted large overseas demands, particularly from the Eastern Group Supply Council for military use in India and other theatres. As far as possible locally made components were used to answer delays in supplies from Britain and America, while the production of domestic radio equipment was severely restricted. Full production of the transceiver began in April 1943. In all, 56 factories were involved in the production of some 14 500 sets, judged to be reliable and particularly suited to tropical conditions. The number of persons in the radio industry increased from 475 in 1938–9 to 1300 in 1944–5.392
New Zealand's metal-working and instrument-making trades were extended and stimulated by all these demands; they accepted challenges, learnt new methods and techniques, new standards of precision, and acquired some tool-making machinery of persisting value. The work-force was expanded and women were admitted, readiness to make things rather than import them was strengthened. After the page 736 war there was scope for the industry and for surplus war stocks in making equipment for UNRRA and other relief organisations, and there was great demand for locally made civilian hardware, such as builders' materials.393
Linen flax production was both an agricultural and a manufacturing industry. It was run by a committee from several government departments, topped by the over-busy Minister of Supply, which, though intended to combine talents, proved cumbersome.394 The British government in 1941 undertook to buy the fibre produced from 25 000 acres during the war period and a year after.395 The Department of Agriculture sought out areas of suitable soil and climate and supervised farmers who undertook the new crop. In the 1940–1 season nearly 13 000 acres were sown; on about 30 per cent of it the flax was too short for fibre and was harvested for seed only.396 Improvement followed; in 1941–2, 19 912 acres were grown; in 1942–3, 21 849 acres; in 1943–4, with a substantial carry-over of crop from the previous season, 9854 acres; in 1944–5, 12 599 acres.397 By 1944 Britain had increased supplies of flax, home grown in Northern Ireland398 and other Commonwealth countries: during the war period Canada had supplied 14 510 tons of fibre, Australia 6820, New Zealand 7460 and Kenya 3840.399 In September 1944 Sullivan explained that there would be no overseas market after the war; Britain would take the crop to be planted in 1944, then expected to be 15 000 acres, but would not care if it were less.400
Factories to extract the fibre were set up in country towns such as Blenheim, Balclutha, Otautau, Winton, Washdyke, Methven and Tapanui. There were three methods: retting-tanks, which meant high capital costs, straightforward technical processing, and high quality fibre; dew-retting, with capital costs low, labour needs high, and a lower quality product; scutching, with low costs and a like product. Machinery was made almost entirely by the railway workshops, notably turbine scutchers, breakers and tow-shakers, deseeders, boilers, tank reticulation, flax pullers and flax carts.401 In 1940–1 there were 11 factories with 23 retting-tanks; in 1941–2 17 factories with 99 tanks.402 Where necessary housing was provided. In February 1943 page 737 staff numbered 1105 including 281 women, for whom there were five hostels; by March 1944 there were 723 men, 207 women; a year later 517 men, 102 women.403
Apart from export, flax fibre met local needs, for seaming twine and other cordage, fibrous plaster and upholstery. A linseed oil factory opened at Dunedin in 1943, replacing an import no longer available, and by the end of March 1946 had produced more than 1 million gallons.404 It was decided to carry on reduced production to supply local industry. From March 1946 the New Zealand Linen Flax Corporation took over what plant it required at a price of £162,675; Britain, which had undertaken to pay the whole cost of this war-needed production, accepted a bill of £479,709.405 Post-war developments are irrelevant here, but flax-growing for linseed oil and its stock-food by-product continues; nearly 9000 acres are growing this crop in the 1980s.406
Early in the war New Zealand remembered its shipbuilding tradition. This had begun in kauri forest harbours in almost pre-pioneer days and had persisted both in composite vessels, with steel frames and wooden planking, and in all-steel construction such as the Auckland harbour ferries and the Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu. Now the New Zealand Navy, despite taking over most small coastal ships which could be converted into minesweepers, wanted more.
The first three, built in Auckland, had composite hulls and were powered by engines salvaged from condemned ships in Auckland's ‘Rotten Row’. They served throughout the war and then still had ‘sufficient life in them to permit, if need be, of their transformation as trawlers.’407 The Navy then called for nine all-steel minesweepers. Eight of these were not built at Auckland; one, Awatere, was launched from the Patent Slip, Wellington, in September 1942 and was fully operational in May 1943.408 Seven were built at Port Chalmers, by the Stevenson and Cook Engineering Company in association with the Fletcher Construction Company. Formerly, shipbuilding had flourished at the Port and there was strong local satisfaction that, in page 738 the phrase of Sullivan as he drove the first rivet, the clang of hammers and the tattoo of rivetters again rang across the waterfront. Work on these ships began in November 1941; the first two, Aroha and Hautapu, were launched in September and November 1942.409 Waikato, launched at Auckland in October 1943, was the seventh of these all-steel units to be completed.410 The steel for frames and plates came from Australia; prefabricated boilers came from Britain and were finished at the Port Chalmers yards and at the Woburn railway workshops. With engine forgings from Australia, the engines were constructed by A. and G. Price of Thames, who had faithfully built many railway engines, John McGregor and Co, Dunedin, and the railway workshops at Woburn. They were to give war-long, trouble-free service and some would continue in fishing trawlers for years longer. These minesweepers had an overall length of 135ft, breadth 23½ft, moulded depth 13½ft, loaded displacement of 612 tons and powerful, locally-built winches. Their speed was 10 knots and each cost £60,000.
With the minesweeper programme barely under way, the Admiralty asked for 12 anti-submarine Fairmile patrol ships, 112ft long, nearly 18ft in beam and with a 5ft draught; their loaded displacement was 80 tons and speed l8½ knots. The major wooden ship-builders of Auckland combined with smaller companies there on this project. Engines came from England and the Fairmile Company also supplied components for the hulls such as watertight bulkheads and frames of bakelised plywood, which contributed to their positive buoyancy. The keels were of hardwood and the double skin and decks of heart kauri.411 Each ship took about 14 000 feet of timber and to provide the kauri needed the State Forest Service scoured its resources. Each also had a bullet-proof fuel tank holding 2320 gallons, ‘work on which the shipwright tradesmen of Auckland were in their element.’412 Building of these vessels began in January 1942, launchings took place towards the end of the year,413 and the 12 were at work by December 1943. On average they were each completed in 35 000 man-hours, whereas the Fairmile Company's average time was 40 700 man-hours. They each cost £35,000.
Meanwhile, with steel and auxiliary units from Australia and Britain, two non-propelled steel oil-barges, similar to one already started for the Union Steam Ship Company, were built at Wellington's Patent Slip, one for the Navy, the second eventually for the Union page 739 Steam Ship Company. They were 180ft long, 36ft wide, 15¼ft in moulded depth, carried 1400 tons of oil and each cost £50,000. In addition, for the RNZAF about 27 small vessels, in all costing £20,000, were built through the Public Works Department to serve as refuelling barges, crash launches and flare path dinghies at air bases in New Zealand and in Pacific islands.
Towards the end of 1942 American authorities asked if New Zealand could build small craft for their use in the Pacific. The Marine Department's 1946 report stated: ‘At that stage, puckered up as we were with our own Navy construction programme, the answer to the question was definitely “No”’; but through the advocacy of James Fletcher, Commissioner for Defence Construction, thought was given to what could be done by combining engineering and shipwrighting firms and hundreds of other small engineering and woodworking workshops into syndicates for constructing these small craft. Fletcher, with the Marine Department at his back, had Controller of Shipbuilding added to his functions. Most of the American project was contrived at Auckland. Executives from shipbuilding firms, in an Allocation Committee, arranged contracts and sub-contracts and at the peak 200 local firms were prefabricating parts. Assembly took place at two new, hastily constructed shipyards, one for steel ships at French Street, one for wooden ships at Fanshawe Street. ‘Diluted’ labour was used extensively: hundreds of housebuilding carpenters were transferred to shipwrighting and in a few months became expert in a quite different trade.
The programme included 50 wooden tug-boats, 45ft long, 14ft in beam and 7ft in depth, with diesel engines from America. The planking and most of the wood was kauri, but frames were of beech, knees of pohutukawa, towing posts and bitts of hardwood, sheathing and false keels of totara. During 1943 about eight of these wooden hulls, each costing £7,250, began to slide down the launching ways every five or six weeks, and by November 1944 all of them were well away on active service.414
In the other yard, 22 sea-going steel tug-boats were assembled, each 75ft long with a diesel engine of 300hp. Their all-welded construction encountered a shortage of welders, answered by a training course of three or four weeks under experts and careful supervision on the job. The bow portion, the middle and the stern were prefabricated separately and were brought together in masterly fashion. From May 1944 about two were completed every month; by page 740 15 November, when the fifteenth was launched, 12 were already at work in the Pacific.415
The largest vessels were 15 powered lighters, of steel and timber, 114ft long, 24ft wide and 11ft deep, virtually small cargo ships, carrying up to 250 tons each and costing £26,700.416 Two were built at Port Chalmers, the rest at Auckland; more than ten had sailed off to the Pacific before the war ended and the remainder were completed as handy little coasters for New Zealand.
Need for work to be spread beyond the hard-pressed shipbuilders caused 140 wooden barges, 50ft long, to be constructed by coachbuilding firms in Christchurch and a building firm in Dunedin, at a total cost of £160,000. Sudden demand for 100 non-propelled steel trailers (at £270 each) was met by coachbuilding firms in Christchurch and Auckland. Sixty wooden dinghies, 12ft and 14ft long, were produced as a ‘side-line’ by Auckland coachbuilders.
When the American programme was thinning out towards the end of the war, the British High Commissioner for the Western Pacific ordered five general purpose wooden vessels for servicing Pacific islands. They were 60ft long, gross tonnage 58, diesel-engined with speed when loaded of eight knots. When the 50 45ft wooden tugboats for the Americans were finished, the British Ministry of War Transport ordered 24 similar tugs for the use of the Eastern Group Supply Council; 12 were completed by the war's end and the remainder cancelled.
In addition to all this, New Zealand's shipbuilding labour force— about 4000 men—coped with repairs on American vessels, on some units of the British Pacific fleet and on merchant ships. A central Docking and Repairs Committee, drawn from shipping companies and the Marine and Navy departments, arranged dockings to reduce delays. Repairs on American ships cost nearly £690,000, and those on New Zealand Navy and other vessels a little more than £467,500.417
In all, achievements in shipbuilding and repairs might be considered a credit to the organisation and labour concerned. They did not draw much publicity although from the start launchings of New Zealand naval vessels, which preceded their active service by several months, were occasions for ministerial inspections and speeches on achievement, pulling together and will to win. After the American base at Auckland was withdrawn in October 1944, reports on American launchings also appeared.page 741
The whole cost of ships built for the New Zealand Navy was £1,270,000, while that of the American programme totalled £2,213,000, a charge under reverse lend-lease on the New Zealand government.418 It seems good value in money and in organisation, labour, skill and timber.
1 A to J1943. H-11A, p. 13. In November 1941, J. S. Hunter, Director of National Service, addressing manufacturers on necessary changes, had included the closing down or tapering off of less essential industries, the wider use of women, and prevention of labour outflow from essential industries. NZ Herald, 21 Nov 41, p. 3
2 Hare, Industrial Relations, pp. 156, 158
3 Cited in War History Narrative, ‘Notes on Industrial Manpower’ (hereinafter WHN, ‘Industrial Manpower’), p. 23
5 Press, 11 Aug 42, p. 4
6 ′These occupational registrations revealed 2959 former metal workers, 4944 building workers and 1256 timber workers doing other jobs; while 2447 men of 51–9 years were not employed. A to J 1943, H-11A, p. 54
7 Emergency Regulation 1942/292
8 WHN, ‘Industrial Manpower’, pp. 5, 9
9 A to J, 1943, H-l 1A, pp. 46–7; Press, 15, 20 May 42, pp. 4, 4
10 A to J1945, H-11A, p. 36, 1946, H-11A, p. 32
11 Ibid., 1943, H-11A, p. 23, 1944, H-11A, p. 24
12 Ibid., 1943, H-I1A, pp. 45–6
14 WHN, ‘Industrial Manpower’, quoting instructions, PM 83/4/7
15 A to J1943, H-11A, p. 44
16 Auckland Star, 31 Oct 42, p. 6
17 A to J1943, H-11A, p. 56, 1944, H-11A, p. 41, 1945, H-11A, p. 75
18 Ibid., 1944, H-11A, p. 15
19 WHN, ‘Industrial Manpower’, pp. 17–18, 30
20 Baker, p. 451
21 WHN, ‘Industrial Manpower’, p. 55
22 Ibid., pp. 56–8, quoting Min Industrial Manpower to PM, 30 Oct 42, NS 13/2/68, pt 1
23 Ibid., pp. 59–60, quoting Sec Ty to PM, 2 Dec 42, NS 13/2/68, pt 1
24 Ibld., p. 64; Auckland Star, 21 Apr 43, p. 4
25 A to J1944, H-11A, p. 16, 1945, H-11A, p. 42
26 Ibid., 1944, H-11A, p. 47, 1945, H-11A, p. 86, 1946, H-11A, p. 147
27 Ibid., 1944, H-11A, p. 25, 1945, H-11A, p. 13, 1946, H-11A, p. 12
28 Ibid.,1943, H-11A, p. 44
29 Ibid., 1944, H-11A, p. 15
32 A to J1943, H-11A, p. 44
33 Ibid.1944, H-11A, p. 15; Hare, Labour in New Zealand1944, p. 14
34 A to J1946, H-11A, p. 31
35 Press, 6 Dec 43, p. 4
36 A to J1944, H-11A, p. 41, 1945, H-11A, p. 75
37 Ibid., 1946, H-11A, p. 140
40 A to J1944, H-11A, p. 16
41 Ibid., p. 20
42 Ibid., p. 21
43 Ibid., p. 22
44 Ibid., 1946, H-11A, p. 33
46 A to J1945, H-11A, pp. 33–4; Evening Post, 27 Apr 45, p. 8
48 Baker, pp. 507, 508–9
49 A to J1946, H-L1A, pp. 59–61
50 Standard, 9 Apr 42, p. 7
51 Hare, Labour in New Zealand 1944, p. 45
52 Hare, Industrial Relations, pp. 265–9
53 Hare, Works Councils in New Zealand, p. 31
54 War History Narrative, ‘Some Aspects of Labour Control in the War’, pp. 142, 144–5
59 WHN, ‘Industrial Manpower’, p. 28, quoting instructions to Manpower officers, PM 83/4/7
60 Press, 15 Sep, 14 Nov 42, pp. 4, 4
64 Star-Sun, 10 Sep 42, p. 6
66 Press, 23 Mar 43, p. 6
68 Timaru Herald, 10 Dec 42, p. 4
71 Auckland Star, 27 Jan 43, p. 4
72 Ibid., 15, 21, 22 Jan, 10 Mar 43, pp. 4, 6, 4, 3
74 Auckland Star, 16 Mar 43, p. 4
77 Auckland Star, 2 Jun 43, p. 4
81 NZPD, vol 262, p. 258
82 Star-Sun, 8 Sep 42, p. 2
84 A to J1943, H-11A, p. 55
85 Ibid., 1945, H-11A, p. 74
87 Press, 13 Oct 42, p. 4
88 The yearly figures are shown on p. 670
89 A to J1943, H–11A, p. 46
90 Ibid., 1945, H–11A, p. 36
91 Auckland Star, 13 Apr 43, p. 4
92 A to J1945, H–11A, p. 36
94 Auckland Star, 10 May 43, p. 4
97 A to J1945, H–11A, pp. 48–9
98 Ibid., 1946, H–11A, p. 47
99 Press, 17 Jul 42, p. 4
100 Ibid., 21 Nov 42, p. 4
102 NZPD, vol 263, p. 149
103 War History Narrative, ‘Women War Workers’ Hostels', pp. 8–9
104 Ibid., pp. 24–5
105 Ibid., pp. 20–2, 25, and appended report by Superintendent M. Sutherland, p. 5
106 Ibid., pp. 25–6
107 Ibid., p. 33
108 Auckland Star, 12, 13 Oct 43, pp. 2,2
109 Baker, p. 175
110 A to J1946, H–11A, p. 65; Press, 20 Aug 45, p. 4
113 Ibid.; a comprehensive inquiry by the Otago Daily Times found two factories on war production where employees returned late. In one 112 (17%) were absent on Tuesday, 7 January and 80 (12½%) were still away on Friday. At a smaller firm, a boot factory, 10% were missing when work resumed but production was not seriously affected. Otago Daily Times, 11 Jan 41, p. 6
115 Ibid., 10 Jan 41, p. 6, also 17 Jan 41, p. 11
118 Ibid., 4 Nov 41, p. 6
119 Ibid., 5, 7 Nov 41, pp.6, 8
120 A to J1946, H–11A, p. 33
122 Ibid., p.21
123 Ibid., pp. 40–3
125 Industrial Absenteeism, p. 30
126 Ibid., p. 20
127 Ibid., pp. 9–10
129 Auckland Star, 3 Nov 42, p. 4, 13 May 43, p. 6
131 Press, 24 Sep 42, p. 4
132 Industrial Absenteeism, p. 39
135 Press, 24 Sep 42, p. 4; Auckland Star, 3 Nov 42, p. 4
136 A to J1944, H–11A, p. 44
137 NZPD, vol 263, p. 22
138 Press, 2 Nov 43, p. 4
139 A to J1944, H–11A, p. 44, 1945, H–11A, pp. 42, 82; Hare, Labour in New Zealand 1944, p. 13
142 A to J1944, H–11A, p. 20
145 Ibid., 7 Aug 43, p. 6
147 Bockett, Herbert Leslie, CMG('61), CStJ('68) (1905–80): Asst Dir Nat Service Dept 1940; Controller Manpower 1942; Dir Nat Service 1944; Sec Labour 1947–64; chmn Conscientious Objection Cmte 1965; member Primary Teachers Appointment Appeal Board, Assessment Appeal Board 1969, etc; chmn Workers' Compensation Board
152 Hare, Labour in New Zealand 1942, p. 36
153 Munitions Controller, Standard, 18 Jun 42, p. 8; Auckland Star, 15 Jan 42, p. 5
154 Press, 16 Jul 42, p. 4
155 Ibid., 25 Jul 42, p. 4; Auckland Star, 13 Aug, 26 Nov 42, pp. 4, 2
160 Calder, p. 118
161 Auckland Star, 31 Jul 40, p. 12
163 Hare, Labour in New Zealand 1944, pp. 12–13
165 Industrial Absenteeism, pp. 20, 23
169 Press, 6, 12 Jan 43, pp. 2, 4
177 Ibid., 5, 6 Jan 44, pp. 4, 6
182 Ibid., 11 Jan 44, p. 6
183 Ibid., 5, 8 Jan 45, pp. 6, 7
184 A to J1944, H–11A, p. 20, 1945, H–11A, p. 41
185 Ibid., 1945, H–11A, p. 42
188 Wood, pp. 247–8; Baker, p. 482
189 These figures are taken from A to J 1948, H–19B, pp. 3, 10, 13. Baker, pp. 81–2, 484, says that peak mobilisation was in September 1942, with 107 000 serving in New Zealand and about 50 000 overseas. This follows figures given in A to J 1946, H–11A, p. 15, but the final official tallies of service strengths in A to J 1948, H–19B, are preferred here, and were adopted by Wood, pp. 243, 277, and Yearbook 1950, p. 208, though with some difference in the numbers at home and overseas.
190 Baker, p. 481. At the war's start the total labour force was estimated at 700 000 men and women. In July 1942 151 073 men, about 43 per cent of the male population of military age, were mobilised. Yearbook 1950, p. 208
191 Wood, p. 251
192 A to J1946, H–11A, p. 120; Star–Sun, 21 Jan 43, p. 4
193 WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1941–2’, p. 28, referring to a report to the Min Nat Service, Oct 42, NS 13/2/125, pt 1; Press, 14 Nov 42, p. 4
195 Truth, 18 Nov 42, p. 11
196 Wanganui Herald, 25 Nov 42
197 Ibid., 24 Nov, 7 Dec 42; Timaru Herald, 5 Dec 42; Press, 21 Jan 43
200 NZPD, vol 261, p. 976
201 Press, 28 Nov 42, p. 4, 24 Feb 43, p. 4; Auckland Star, 28 Jan, 4 Feb 43, pp. 4, 4
202 Wood, p. 252
204 Ibid., pp. 17–18
208 WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1942’, p. 19
211 WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1942’, p. 33, referring to A to J 1943, H–11A, p. 34, and notes prepared for secret session, 3 Dec 1942, PM 81/1/3, pt 2
213 Journal of Agriculture, 15 Dec 42, p. 323
214 Wanganui Herald, 9 Dec 42, p. 8; Press, 6 Dec 43, p. 4
218 WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1942’, p. 21
219 NZPD, vol 261, p. 529
220 Ibid., p. 954
221 A to J1943, H–11A, p. 34. These figures were for releases recommended by appeal boards, of which actual releases would be 90%.
223 To March 1944 ‘Category A’ comprised all men medically Grade I, of 21–40 years inclusive. Thereafter Category A was revised to mean Grade I men of 21–35 years with fewer than three children and less than three years' overseas service. A to J 1946, H–11A, p. 22; NZ Herald, 13 Feb 45, p. 4
224 Press, 25 Mar 43, p. 4. Armed forces appeal boards continued to deal with the movement of Grade I men, both into and out of the Army.
226 But such service was commuted to a month at farms or freezing works in 1943–4, and then forgone.
227 WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1943’, pp. 16, 31–2
228 A to J1946, H–11A, p. 22
230 A to J1944, H–11A, p. 35
231 Ibid., 1946, H–11A, p. 23
233 A to J1944, H–11A, p. 34
235 Documents, vol III, pp. 430–44
236 Ibid., pp. 438, 455
237 Ibid., p. 456
239 Documents, vol III, pp. 318–33
240 Wood, pp. 245–6; Gillespie, pp. 72–5
242 Scholefield, Diary, 31 Aug 42
243 Kay, Chronology, pp. 62, 73
245 The idea was current even earlier, expressed for example by a correspondent, GVP, in Auckland Star, 27 Jul 42, p. 2: ‘… is it the wish of the majority … that New Zealand ignore the Japanese and continue sending against the Nazis the last man and the last shilling?’
246 NZPD, vol 261, pp. 759–60
247 Ibid., pp. 971–2
248 Wanganui Herald, 25 Nov 42, p. 5
249 Press, 18 Jan 43, p. 4
250 Montgomery, Field Marshal Bernard Law, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein ('46), of Hindhead, KG('46), GCB('45), DSO (1887–1976): cmdr Eighth Army 1942–4, C-in-C British & Allied Armies N France 1944, cmdr British Army of the Rhine 1945–6; CIGS 1946–8, Dep Supreme Allied Commander Europe 1951–8
251 Auckland Star, 23 Nov 42
252 Ibid., 24, 26 Nov, 1, 5 Dec 42
253 Documents, vol II, pp. 142–4; Wood, p. 248
254 Documents, vol II, p. 148; Wood, pp. 249–50
256 Press, 7 Dec 42
257 Timaru Herald, 9 Dec 42
261 Ibid., 9 Dec 42; Auckland Star, 11 Dec 42, p. 2, 9 Feb 43, p. 2
262 Press, 26 Dec 42
265 Auckland Star, 26 Nov 42, p. 4
266 Ibid., 24 Nov–2 Dec 42
269 Auckland Star, 22, 24 Mar 43, pp. 2, 2
270 Wood, pp. 247–61, 277–91
271 Many more soon went overseas, eg, 5500 to 2NZEF as 8th Reinforcements in December 1942, about 15 000 to the Pacific by March 1943, and large numbers in the Air Force. Final figures are given in A to J 1948, H–19B. see also p. 698
274 Press, 26 Nov 42
276 Ibid., 23 Dec 42, p. 2
279 Press, 24 Dec 42
280 Star–Sun, 23 Dec 42
281 Timaru Herald, 26 Dec 42
282 Wanganui Herald, 24 Dec 42
283 Auckland Star, 21 Jan 43, p. 6
284 Ibid., 5 Feb 43, p. 2.‘Guadalcanar’ was an early and incorrect spelling.
285 Auckland Star, 5 Feb 43, p. 2
288 NZPD, vol 262, pp. 423, 427, 433
289 Ibid., p. 429
290 Ibid., p. 470
291 291Ibid., p. 489
293 Combs, Harry Ernest (1881–1954): MP (Lab) Wgtn Suburbs 1938–46, Onslow from 1946; Under-Sec Min Finance 1947–9
294 NZPD, vol 262, p. 485
295 Ibid., p.479
297 Documents, vol II, p. 193
298 Ibid., p. 197
299 Ibid., p. 198 Wood, p. 258
300 Auckland Star, 30 Jun 43, p. 2
301 'Ibid., 9 Apr 43, p. 2, also 24 May 43, p. 2
303 Auckland Star,8 Dec 42; NZPD, vol 262, p. 433
304 NZPD, vol 261, pp. 952–3
305 Documents, vol II, pp. 188–90
306 Alexander, Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis ('52), KG('46), GCB('42), DSO, MC (1891–1969): C-in-C Middle East 1942–3, 18th Army Group N Africa 1943, Allied Armies in Italy 1943–4; Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean Theatre 1944–5; Min Defence 1952–4
307 Documents, vol II, pp. 190–1
308 Ibid., p. 210
309 Craufurd, Robert (1764-1812): UK general, judged the finest commander of light troops who served in the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic War 1803–15; mortally injured leading assault on Cuidad Rodrigo; brilliantly headstrong and unconventional
310 Documents, vol II, p. 201
311 Ibid., p. 212
312 Wood, p. 259
314 Wood, p. 260
316 Wilkinson, Vice-Admiral Theodore S. (1888–1946): USN 1911; Sec Navy General Board 1931–4; cmdr USS Mississippi 1941–2; dep cmdr 5th Pacific 1943; cmdr Amphibious Force Sth Pacific 1943, 3rd Amphibious Force 1944–5; Joint COS 1946
317 Wood, p. 260
318 Documents, vol II, p. 215
319 A to J1948, H-19B, p. 13
321 Ibid., 27 Feb 42, p. 4
322 WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1943’, p. 34
323 Kidd, David Campbell (d 1954 aet 65): MP (Nat) Waimate 1938ff; farmer, member Canty Land Bd 1932ff
324 NZPD, vol 261, p. 235
326 Timaru Herald, 9 Dec 42
327 Star-Sun, 24 Dec 42, p. 5; Press, 24 Dec 42, p. 4, 8, 13 Jan, 1 Feb 43, pp. 3, 4, 3(photo); Auckland Star, 13 Feb 43, p. 4
328 WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1943’, p. 35, quoting Dir Nat Service to Min Nat Service, 13 Aug 43, NS 13/2/125, pt 2
329 Auckland Star, 9 Feb 43, p. 2
330 WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1943’, pp. 33–4
333 Dominion, 24 Nov 43, p. 4
334 Auckland Star, 22 Dec 43, p. 4
336 Press, 19 Apr 13, May 44, pp. 2, 4
338 Press, 25 Mar 44, p. 6; WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1943’, p. 36
341 Press, 9 Apr 41, p. 12
345 Auckland Star, 4 Jul 44, p. 4
348 Ibid.,20 Nov 43, p. 4
350 Documents, vol II, pp. 222–45
353 Ibid., 15 Jul 43, p. 4
359 Auckland Star, 18 Oct 43, p. 2, also 6, 15, 19, 20, 21 Oct 43, pp. 2, 2, 2, 2, 4; Press, 18, 20 Oct 43, pp. 6, 4
361 Press, 20, 21 Oct 43, pp. 2, 4
362 Auckland Star, 12 Oct 43, p. 2
363 Ibid., 20 Oct 43, p. 4
364 Ibid.,6 Oct 43, p. 4
365 Wood, p. 268
366 Auckland Star, 20, 23 Nov 43, pp. 4, 2
367 Wood, p. 268
368 Are we to take casual work … in the expectation of being called-up next weekend, next year or never, or alternatively continue on four or five guineas a fortnight. … Is the Government afraid to send us back?' Auckland Star, 2 Dec 43, p. 4
369 Figures in WHN, ‘Military Manpower 1943’, pp. 45–6, refer to Army Department's ‘Report on Mobilisation Branch’, unnumbered file, and its ‘Statement on Army Activities since 18 May 1943’ on PM file 81/1/3. Figures in these two reports vary, as they do in other accounts of the furlough affair.
371 Auckland Star, 3 Aug 44, p. 4
372 Wood, p. 271
373 The first three contingents to leave New Zealand were called ‘Echelons’, thereafter ‘Reinforcements’
374 Documents, vol II, pp. 348–50
375 Ibid., p. 358
376 Ibid., p. 362; Auckland Star, 22 Sep 44, p. 5
377 Documents, vol II, pp. 374–5
378 Ibid, p. 378
379 Ibid., p. 382
380 Ibid., p. 385
381 Auckland Star, 6 Mar 45, p. 4
383 Documents, vol II, p. 366
384 A civil regional organisation set up to co-ordinate war production in the eastern and southern Pacific, comprising the United Kingdom and colonies, India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, with the later addition of the Netherlands East Indies and Free French island possessions. A corresponding military council served the needs of the armed forces in the Middle and Far East. Elliot & Hall (eds), The British Commonwealth at War, p. 467
387 A to J1946, H-44, pp. 35–7, a report which is the basic source for this section; Auckland Star, 18 Dec 43, p. 6
391 Baker, pp. 132, 151
392 lbid., pp. 167–8, 137
393 A to J1946, H-44, p. 36; Auckland Star, 8 Nov 43, p. 2
394 Baker, p. 217
395 A to J1941, B-6, p. 13
396 Ibid., 1941, H-44, p. 20
397 Ibid., 1943, 1944, 1945, all H-44, p. 9
398 Star-Sun, 19 Apr 44, p. 7
399 A to J1946, H-44, p. 23
400 Auckland Star, 27 Sep 44, p. 4
401 A to J1941, H-44, p. 20
402 Ibid., 1942, H-44, p. 8
403 Ibid., 1943, H-44, p. 9, 1945, H-44, p. 9
405 A to J1947, B-l (pt II), p. 27
406 Yearbook1982, p. 390
407 A to J1946, H-15, p. 2. Except where otherwise noted, information here is derived from this Marine Department report. Photographs of the five largest types of vessels built appeared in the 1945 report. For security reasons, earlier reports were very reticent about shipbuilding.
411 Ibid.,30 Sep 42, p. 4
412 A to J1946, H-15, p. 4
414 Auckland Star, 27 Nov 44, p. 6; A to J1946, H-15, p. 5
416 Auckland Star, 27 Nov, 2 Dec 44, pp. 4, 6
417 A to J1945, H-15, pp. 5–6, 1946, H-15, p. 7
418 Ibid., 1945, B-1, pt II, p. xix, 1946, H-15, pp. 4–5