IV: Negotiations—Political and Service
IV: Negotiations—Political and Service
From January 1943 to the following July, negotiations concerning the expansion of the division continued uncertainly as every means was explored in an effort to carry out the original proposal to put a three-brigade division in to the Pacific. There were also political motives behind the desire that New Zealand should be adequately represented in that sphere of operations. On several occasions tentative negotiations were opened for the return of 2 Division from the Middle East, but each time the New Zealand Government, acting on the advice of the Allied leaders as to where that division could most usefully be employed, agreed to its retention in the Mediterranean theatre. Both Churchill and Roosevelt pressed for this and were supported by the New Zealand Chiefs of Staff. Any uneasiness on the part of the men in the Middle East that they should return were dispelled by Freyberg's assurance in March 1942 that the Dominion was adequately defended and that, by striking at the Germans in the Middle East, the New Zealanders were also indirectly striking at the Japanese as well. Moreover, he told his men, large quantities of armament had reached New Zealand from England and America and the American fleet had begun offensive operations in the Pacific.
On 19 November 1942, as 3 Division was moving into New Caledonia, Fraser expressed the opinion to Churchill that ‘Our own tried and well-trained troops [in the Mediterranean theatre] should be used for the defence of New Zealand in the Pacific’, and in emphasising that New Zealand should play her part in the Pacific offensive ‘to the fullest extent of our capacity’ he did not mean that 2 Division was to be returned and used only to defend the Dominion's shores. So that Nash could make this point perfectly clear to the Chiefs of Staff in Washington, he despatched a special message stating that if the division were returned it would not be used exclusively for home defence. During Parliamentary discussions in December Fraser criticised the ‘holding war’ in the Pacific, which he said he had always opposed, though a holding period was necessary in order to build up American strength of arms and was in accordance with the over-all strategy that Germany should first be defeated before the full strength of the Allies was turned against Japan. ‘Units of the New Zealand force have arrived in New Caledonia,’ he said in December. ‘It is only right that we should take part in the Pacific offensive which will keep the Japanese as far as possible from our shores.’
Although War Cabinet had approved the necessary increases for the division, Barrowclough still required a third infantry battalion page 104 for his 15 Brigade, as well as one field regiment of artillery, an ASC company, an engineer field company, an anti-tank battery, a light artillery regiment, less a battery already in New Caledonia, and the remaining units of 15 Brigade headquarters. Other units were required for the Base organisation. Puttick, in January, supported Barrowclough's request for these troops, most of which were being assembled in New Zealand, and commented on the urgent necessity for building up the division to full strength.
Early in February Major-General Peck, of Halsey's war plans staff, expressed concern at the strength of 3 Division and indicated that it would shortly be asked to undertake amphibious training, which 43 American Division had already started in readiness to move forward. Barrowclough was eager to get his remaining units to New Caledonia in order to acclimatise them. ‘There is a vast difference between the men from Fiji and those gathered later from all parts of New Zealand,’ he reported to Army Headquarters. Later in February Coates and Puttick visited New Caledonia and discussed with Halsey various problems concerning the division, including the relief by American units of the heavy coast and antiaircraft artillery to enable them to return to it.
On 6 March War Cabinet reluctantly agreed to the expansion of the division to 17,637 all ranks, with a first reinforcement of 1263, a docks operating unit of 90, and an engineer construction unit of 300, giving the force in New Caledonia a total strength of 19,290. One of the provisions was that 2211 coast and anti-aircraft personnel still in Fiji should join the division when they were relieved, as well as the battalions then in Tonga and Norfolk. But a third battalion still had to be found for 15 Brigade. The possibility of using a battalion of the Otago Regiment or a battalion of the Waikato Regiment had long been discarded, and when a suggestion to use 2 Maori Battalion, then in camp, was put forward Barrowclough replied that he welcomed the idea, but warned that some difficulty might arise through working Maori troops alongside American units which might subject them to some indignity.
Halsey and his staff, to whom the proposal was submitted, considered the inclusion of the Maoris would be both acceptable and desirable and discounted any suggestion of discrimination, but when the subject was referred to Colonel J. H. Nankivell, United States Military Attache in Wellington, he expressed the opinion that it would be unwise to send Maoris to serve alongside American formations. However, the Maori War Effort Parliamentary Committee gave no support to this suggestion; they desired to send their men to the Middle East, leaving no doubt of their intentions in a letter to the Prime Minister which concluded, ‘The Maori people of page 105 New Zealand are averse to their boys being sent to any other theatre of war where they could not be directly supporting their kinsmen. This feeling is paramount in the minds of the men of the 2 Maori Battalion’. This view was not supported by the Chief of the General Staff, who expressed the opinion that ‘every military and, as far as I can see, every economic consideration is in favour of the despatch of 2 Maori Battalion to 3 Division’.
When the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Stewart, toured Pacific formations the following month, he informed Barrowclough that 3 Maori Battalion, not yet formed, would be used to complete 15 Brigade. Although this was confirmed at a conference presided over by Coates and attended by the Maori members of Parliament and Army representatives on 21 April, the furlough scheme for men of 2 Division, which was influenced by strong public opinion, forced a drastic alteration of all previous decisions and required both 2 and 3 Maori Battalions to be diverted to support 1 Maori Battalion. It was obvious, also, that the Maoris did not wish their men to serve in the Pacific.
A suggestion to use the Fijians to complete 3 Division also ended in stalemate. The offer came from Sir Philip Mitchell, Governor of Fiji, to use the Fijian Brigade with the division, this force to include the Fijian Battalion and the commando units, led by New Zealanders, then employed with American forces in the Solomons, where they had established their reputation as jungle fighters. Barrowclough suggested, and Puttick agreed, that one battalion of Fijians could be usefully employed with each New Zealand brigade, thus making full use of their special qualifications as jungle fighters, but he insisted that they must be in addition to, and not in substitution for, New Zealand units still required.
When the suggestion was referred to the South Pacific Command it was received coldly, as the removal of the brigade from Fiji required the use of American troops to replace them in garrisoning the island and would also deprive the American forces of the use of the scouts and raiders in the Solomons campaign. For this reason South Pacific Command could not agree to the request, and a communication from Halsey's headquarters on 18 June made this clear. ‘In conference and correspondence concerning the reduction of home defences in New Zealand, it was our understanding that the 3rd Division would be brought up to full strength and that full strength would be such that the New Zealand division could be used interchangeably with American divisions in combat. Therefore, we prefer for the latter reason, and because of the reduction in strength of the Fiji garrison, that the expansion of New Zealand 3rd Division be not accomplished by the use of Fijian troops.’page 106
Further negotiations, however, brought agreement to the employment of one battalion of Fijians with the division as scouts and raiders, and its replacement by a Grade II New Zealand battalion from Tonga, but this Mitchell refused to accept, stating that his brigade could not be broken up. There were language and domestic difficulties to be considered, he pointed out, as well as public opinion in the Colony, and he suggested that the brigade might be used later as a whole formation when the tactical situation permitted it to be released. Army Headquarters thought it unwise to risk irritating Halsey with any further propositions and Barrowclough, though regretting the decision not to employ the Fijians, expressed surprise at Mitchell's objection to breaking up the brigade, since part of it was already detached and working in the Solomons. (See also Appendix IV.)
While these protracted negotiations were in progress, other factors had decided the fate of the division's strength, the most influential being the adoption of a furlough scheme for long-service men of 2 Division. Both Major-General M. F. Harmon, commanding United States Armed Forces in the South Pacific, and Major-General R. G. Breene, commanding all Supply Services, had expressed concern over the slow movement of men and stores to New Caledonia, as the division, as it was then constituted, could not be used interchangeably with an American combat division of three brigades; but the manpower position in New Zealand again held up its restraining hand. Through April and May the whole position was thoroughly examined and discussed by Parliament. From those discussions stemmed a policy, approved by War Cabinet, that 2 Division remain in the Middle East and furlough be granted to 6000 long-service men, and that the Pacific force be reorganised on a reduced scale. This meant that the 5600 men who were in camp awaiting transport to New Caledonia to build up 3 Division were used to enable men of 2 Division to take their leave. Artillery units relieved from Fiji were also diverted to Middle East reinforcements. The pressure of public opinion for the return of 2 Division or that leave be granted to long-service men, no doubt influenced these decisions. During discussions at a secret session of Parliament before arriving at these decisions, Fraser emphasised the impossibility of providing, from existing sources of manpower, resources sufficient to meet furlough replacements for 2 Division, the expansions required by the Air Force, which were particularly heavy, and the completion of 3 Division. Both divisions, however, were to be maintained for as long as possible with smaller establishments until the position was again reviewed.page 107
Apart from the vigorous requests from Churchill and Roosevelt to retain 2 Division in the Mediterranean sphere, one of the overriding factors affecting its return was the employment of shipping necessary for the movement of troops when transport was critically short and urgently required in getting men and materials to the operational fronts. There was also the question of using trained armoured units which could not be employed in a close island campaign, and which would require to undergo months of preparatory training for jungle and island operations. In May 1943, Mr. Jones, Minister of Defence, also tested the reaction of the men during his visit to the Middle East forces and found that they had little or no desire to fight in the Pacific because of the prevalence of malaria.
In May, also, the political aspect of the Pacific war, to which the Government attached considerable importance, was made perfectly clear in Fraser's communication to Freyberg when his division was under discussion for return to the Dominion. ‘You know, as I do, the very strong arguments in favour of the retention of the division in the European theatre,’ he wrote. ‘On the other hand, I believe it to be of the greatest political importance that, when the time comes to start offensive operations against Japan, the British elements in the United Nations’ forces in the Pacific should be as strong as possible. It is not only a question of the immediate security of our own shores and our island territories; we must also take the long view and ensure that when the future of the Pacific is being considered after the war we, in common with other portions of the British Commonwealth concerned, are in the most favourable possible political. Another factor which we cannot ignore is the relationship of this country with Australia.’
Through all negotiations affecting the war effort, Australia had been kept fully informed of New Zealand's actions and the Commonwealth had, on more than one occasion, expressed strong views on the use of forces in the Pacific. She had withdrawn most of her troops from the Middle East and thought that New Zealand should do the same, an attitude of which Churchill was fully aware. The Australian Prime Minister expressed the view that for every soldier kept out of the Pacific, either an American or an Australian had to take his place. In May 1943, when negotiations concerning manpower were under discussion, Curtin expressed himself rather violently to the New Zealand representative in Canberra, Mr. Berendsen, that in his opinion all New Zealand troops should be available for the Pacific theatre. When Curtin was informed that New Zealand had decided to leave her 2nd Division in the Middle East, his reactions were ‘very strong’ and relations between the Commonwealth and the Dominion reached a stage of some delicacy, page 108 overcome finally by both parties tactfully refraining from any further reference to the subject.
There was still some confusion in the South Pacific Command as to when and where the division would be used. On 3 June Rear-Admiral T. S. Wilkinson met War Cabinet in Wellington and during the ensuing discussions was fully acquainted with the Dominion's growing manpower difficulties. He informed Cabinet that 3 Division would not normally be required for active operations during 1943. However, on 11 June, Halsey raised with Barrowclough tentative plans to move the force into an operational theatre, and stated that the movement forward should be initiated by 15 August. Barrowclough then flew to New Zealand for further discussions with War Cabinet and produced a letter, dictated by Harmon, stating that the New Zealand division was required almost immediately for an active role and that delay in bringing it up to full strength would cause embarrassment, all of which conflicted with the two former views and suggested some lack of co-ordination in the American command. Barrowclough asked that his division, now well trained after six months in New Caledonia, should be employed for at least one campaign, extending over four or five months, otherwise morale would suffer, and he accepted without question the possibility that it would be reduced later to reinforce 2 Division, which was remaining in the Mediterranean theatre. Finally, on 27 June, War Cabinet approved the reduction of 3 Division to two brigades and to its employment in a forward area, subject to the commander's report that the force was suitably equipped and trained for action, which it undoubtedly was. The total strength of the reorganised division was to be 17,831 all ranks, including 2000 reinforcements.
Halsey reluctantly accepted the decision to provide only a two-brigade division, and in a letter to Fraser added, ‘I do feel that these two brigades should be maintained at full strength at all times,’ and, in reference to reinforcements, ‘I am counting on you to furnish such additional reinforcements as may be necessary to maintain these two brigades at full strength.’ New Zealand's position and her policy regarding the division were made clear to Halsey in the Prime Minister's reply:
The decision to retain our battle-trained division in the Mediterranean theatre was made by Parliament on the advice of Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt, after we had pointed out to them and their military advisers that it was not possible, at this state of the war, with its other commitments, for New Zealand to continue to maintain two divisions overseas. Unless there is a change of policy which would cause Parliament to vary its decision, the division in the Mediterranean will, when the reinforcement page 109 pool has been exhausted, require to be maintained by drawing eventually upon New Zealand troops in the Pacific.
In so far as our Pacific commitments are concerned, we have continued to work on the lines laid down and accepted by Admiral Wilkinson and the War Cabinet in June last, namely that Air came first, Navy second, production third, and Army fourth. We are making every effort to fulfil those commitments and to increase to the maximum the production of foodstuffs for which there is a continually increasing demand from your forces. I must point out to you, however, that it is not possible for a small country like New Zealand, after four years of war, to do more than we are doing, especially having regard to the fact that at the present time we have more than 68,000 overseas, that our casualties in dead, wounded, and missing have been extremely heavy, and that our reserves of grade A manpower are pratically exhausted.
We have for some months been particularly concerned that there should be no collapse of our war effort in any of its several directions, and that is why I have taken steps to inform you that there must come a time when one particular activity or another must be tapered off.
It is and always has been our intention to maintain the two brigades of the 3rd Division as long as circumstances permit.
|1943||Middle East and United Kingdom||Pacific, including New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga||In New Zealand excluding Home Guard|
|1943||In New Zealand and Pacific||With Royal Navy|
|1943||Pacific||In New Zealand||Attached RAF||Canada, training|
Denied the larger formation for which he had planned so long, Barrowclough set about the reorganisation of his force with the strength available to him and with the unhappy responsibility of disbanding several highly trained units. The 34th Battalion had returned from Tonga, via Fiji, on 13 March and 36 Battalion from Norfolk on 7 April, both rejoining 8 Brigade after being relieved by Grade II battalions from New Zealand. In the reshuffle 37 Battalion returned to 14 Brigade and 1 Ruahine Battalion to 15 Brigade. During the long period of negotiation and training, Barrowclough had accomplished some reorganisation with a view to increasing the striking efficiency of his brigades. In June brigade machine-gun companies were formed by absorbing platoons from each battalion, Major G. W. Logan taking 8 Brigade company, and Captain S. R. Rice, succeeded shortly afterwards by Major L. A. S. Ross, that of 14 Brigade. Bren carrier platoons also came under brigade command to provide for their more flexible employment in island operations.
Additional engineers under Lieutenant-Colonel H. A. Jones, as CRE Works, consisting of a works construction company under page 111 Captain W. P. Boyd, and a wharf operating company under Captain E. Blacker, arrived in May and relieved the field engineers of maintenance work, with which they could not keep pace. A third composite company ASC, the 29th, commanded by Captain D. R. Hopkins, was formed in February from existing units and attached to 15 Brigade. Units still waiting in New Zealand to go forward were 38 Field Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel W. A. Bryden, 26 Field Company Engineers under Major W. L. Mynott, 24 Field Ambulance under Lieutenant-Colonel W. R. Fea, a convalescent depot commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. H. H. Wood, a tank squadron under Major R. J. Rutherford, and various base details. The proposed third field regiment, the 37th, was disbanded in New Zealand when the division's strength was reduced.
There was some delay in approving the extra units required, but by 17 July War Cabinet finally consented to Barrowclough's request. This gave him a two-brigade division with three engineer companies and a field park, three ASC companies, three field ambulances and additional signals, who were urgently required to maintain long lines of communication not normally associated with a division, including the maintenance of an extended base organisation to ensure direct communication with New Zealand, and a forward station planned when the division reached Guadalcanal and moved into the combat zone. Harmon agreed that a force operating in territory such as the Solomons could not have too many engineers, as the American forces in action had confirmed, and he concurred that a third field ambulance was a wise arrangement. Barrowclough was still worried over his reinforcements because of a possible reduction in strength by malaria, and wrote to Army Headquarters pointing out that he could not ‘face a situation where no reinforcements are behind me without running the riks of being unable to fulfil the role allotted to me’. However, these were assured when War Cabinet on 16 July reaffirmed its decisions made on 27 June regarding the revised strength of the division and its reinforcements.
On 1 July the Commander issued a special order of the day (see Appendix V) disbanding 15 Brigade, the two battalions of which were absorbed into existing units to make up deficiencies, the remainder going into a reinforcement pool at Base. A second special order disbanded 33 Heavy Coast Regiment and 28 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, both of which were relieved by American formations. The 33rd ceased to exist on 26 July and was merged into a new Base unit, the Artillery Training Depot, and Wicksteed apointed commanding officer. Through succeeding weeks the heavy anti-aircraft units were also disbanded and concentrated page 112 either at the artillery depot or absorbed into the infantry and other arms. The 3.7-inch anti-aircraft guns were returned to New Zealand but, under reverse lend-lease, the United States forces took over the 6-inch and 155-millimetre guns, the total cost of which was £56,881 (NZ) and transferred them to the French military authorities, with whom the New Zealand Government had no reciprocal aid arrangement.1
There were many changes in staff and command during the division's sojourn in New Caledonia and following reorganisation before the forward move. Base units were also built up to a total strength of 2580 and contained those components which were previously lacking. Twhigg was promoted Brigadier and became Deputy Director of Medical Services, Colonel N. C. Speight replacing him as ADMS; Murphy became liaison officer at Army Headquarters, and Bennett was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel to take his place as AA and QMG, Major G. B. Gibbons replacing Bennett as deputy; Berkeley was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and appointed Military Secretary, Major H. F. Allan replacing him as GSO 2; Lieutenant-Colonel C. A. Blazey arrived from New Zealand to relieve Jenkins as CRASC. Command of 36 Battalion passed to McKenzie-Muirson when Barry returned to New Zealand, and Moore relinquished command of 29 Battalion which passed briefly to Major I. H. MacArthur, Lieutenant-Colonel J. M. Reidy, and finally to Lieutenant-Colonel F. L. H. Davis when he arrived from New Zealand. McKinnon took over command of 29 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment from Yendell when artillery units were reorganised.
1 This action was questioned by the New Zealand Treasury. The guns were issued on loan from the British Admiralty to the New Zealand Navy who lent them to the Army. When the Americans transferred them, Treasury noted, ‘From experience it appears that the French Military authorities would be unable to pay for them in cash’. In reporting on the transaction, Dove emphasised that in any similar situation in future (when a New Zealand force was operating with other than a British formation) the creation of a special accounting unit should be carefully considered. This unit would be responsible for drawing all classes of supplies and for the complete bulk accounting of them to Army Headquarters for the purpose of accurately determining New Zealand's liability for those stores. However, in the final adjustment of the Pacific balance sheet with France in 1950, the cost of the guns, decided by mutual arrangement between Governments, contributed partly to the cost of quarters for the New Zealand Legation in Paris.
Malaria Control Unit spraying 37 NZ Field Park Company's Camp, Guadalcanal
Loading rations at Gudalcanal for Vella Lavella
14 Brigade units landing at Vella Lavella from American barges manned by American Crews
The division's base organisation and the headquarters of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific remained at Bourail, 102 miles north of Noumea and 50 miles south of the secondary port of Nepoui, and was housed in a former commercial building taken over after some argument from a French trading firm whose demands for an exorbitant rental were not approved. Like so many other small towns in New Caledonia, Bourail was not without a certain neglected charm, but its population had dwindled and evidence of its former industrial and commercial activities remained only in deserted buildings, factories, a large monastery, and a fortified gendarmerie dominating a hilltop which overlooked the town and wooded valleys it once protected.
Areas of overgrown countryside provided sites for that multiplicity of units and services which are a part of any base organisation in the field and includes engineers, signals, pay and records, ordnance, medical and dental services, canteens, welfare, postal, base training depot, base reception depot, artillery training depot, movement control, field bakery and butchery, transport and supply services. There was also sufficient space to accommodate without congestion the stores which housed military supplies and equipment, most of them erected in New Caledonia either from prefabricated parts sent from New Zealand or built of native materials hewn from the forest. The various camps were spread among the niaouli trees of such localities as Le Clere's Farm, Nemeara, Boguen, the Racecourse, Tene Valley and the Kouri River valley, with other units and services occupying buildings in and around Bourail itself. No. 4 General Hospital was first established in the Bougen River Valley, eleven miles from Bourail in a mosquitoridden area, but later moved to Dumbea Valley, 15 miles from Noumea, where it was greatly enlarged and began operating towards the end of the division's active period in the Solomons.
Dove carried out the dual functions of Officer in Charge of Administration (OICA) and Base Commandant and, as senior New Zealand officer, also maintained liaison with South Pacific Headquarters in Noumea and with the French civil administration. On arrival in New Caledonia, he opened temporary quarters in Rue d’Alma, Noumea, but moved to Bourail on 1 February 1943. His Deputy Adjutant-General, 2nd Echelon, was Major G. W. Foote who was appointed while the base organisation was forming at Hamilton. Changes of his senior staff included Major H. F. Allan, who moved to Divisional Headquarters in January 1943 and was succeeded by Major D. E. Trevarthen. Stowell, promoted to the rank of Major, continued to command the Base Reception Depot. Because of distances from ports in New Caledonia, a sub-base remained in Noumea under Captain H. N. Johnson to handle troops and supplies passing through the ports and also the airfields some miles out at Tontouta and Oua Tom. This consisted of a transit camp, detachments of pay and records, movement control, field post office, and the base supply depot No. 1. When 4 General Hospital moved to Dumbea Valley at the end of 1943, further work fell to the sub-base in arranging transport to hospital of sick and wounded arriving by air from the Solomons.
Constant vigilance by the staff of the medical services was rewarded by complete freedom from any outbreak of disease which would have reduced the already limited manpower of 3 Division. A search of past records revealed that the usual collection of horrible diseases had been encountered in New Caledonian at some period or other of its history—leprosy, plague, typhoid fever and venereal disease—but almost without exception among the native tribes and peoples. Hookworm and dysentery were also known to exist there, and dengue fever, as in all other mosquito-infested islands where the inhabitants are continually bitten, was an annual visitation. But there was no malaria, since the island, like Fiji, lies outside the malarial zone, and septic sores, source of continual disability in Fiji, did not affect the men in the drier New Caledonian climate. Despite this excellent climate, however, stomach troubles, which the medical authorities class as entero-colitis and gastro-enteritis, were a worry during the acclimatisation period.
Despite the abundance of freshwater streams and rivers in New Caledonia, bacteriological examination of water taken from them disclosed, in almost every instance, some evidence of contamination. Strict measures were therfore imposed by the medical authorities for the purification of all drinking water from points established to serve unit areas. Men were also warned continually not to put their heads under water while they were bathing, either in the sea, page 115 because of minute particles of coral which caused an infection of the ear, or for the same reason, in fresh water, because of the decayed vegetable matter found there. Under the supervision of 6 Field Hygiene Section a constant war was waged against flies, and the standard of field sanitation kept to a high level.
Because units of the division were scattered over many hundreds of miles of badly-roaded country, field ambulances established dressing stations to serve their respective areas, and the main dressing station gave the fullest possible hospital treatment. Field ambulance reception hospitals did the work of a main hospital until 4 General Hospital was opened in March 1943, but by special arrangement with the Assistant Director of Medical Services, serious cases from 3 Division requiring urgent treatment were accepted by 109 American Station Hospital which had been established off the main highway south of Moindah.
The base organisation was built up over a period of months and did not achieve its full strength of 2580 all ranks until a new war establishment was issued well into 1943. Its problems were accentuated by the nature of the Pacific campaign and the extremely long lines of communication, particularly after 3 Division left Guadalcanal and scattered over the islands of the Solomons. The transport of stores and supplies from New Zealand to New Caledonia and their transhipment to the Field Maintenance Centre on Guadalcanal were all dictated by irregular shipping, which was never satisfactory. Commanding officers of units and services at Base were more fortunate when they wished to visit their representatives in the combat areas, since they were able to use the regular air services staging through the New Hebrides. Indeed, air travel was the recognised mode of transport over the waters of such an immense and scattered battlefield as the Pacific. Not the least of the base units was the welfare organisation, which has become such an inseparable part of the services in war and was more necessary in a region entirely without amenities of any kind. The most comprehensive of these, the National Patriotic Fund Board, controlled the clubs, recreation centres, sports materials, and the distribution of comforts, and avoided any waste ful duplication by incorporating the activities of the YMCA and all religious organisations. Mr. Colin Cassells, senior YMCA secretary, with long service in the Pacific, undertook the direction of the National Patriotic Fund Board until the arrival of Major C. W. O. Brain in May 1943 to become the Board's Commissioner.
Early in the life of the organisation Barrowclough ordered the formation of a divisional welfare committee to assist with the equitable and efficient distribution of all comforts and recreational page 116 gear, after which there was no reason for criticism or complaint. It consisted of the Officer in Charge of Administration, the Deputy Director of Medical Services (Brigadier J. M. Twhigg), the Senior Chaplain to the Forces (Lieutenant-Colonel K. Liggett), the YMCA Commissioner (Mr. A. J. Heffernan, who succeeded Cassells), the Assistant Director, Army Education and Welfare Service (Major A. H. Thom), and Brain.
One of the more important of the Board's achievements in New Caledonia was the construction and staffing of a chain of roadhouses and recreation centres, built bure fashion, to serve each concentration of troops, two of the largest being the Bourail Club, opened on 12 November 1943, and the Kiwi Club at Bourail Beach, which had residential accommodation for 120 guests. It was opened on 14 April 1944 and was the only organised rest centre for the NZEF IP. A detachment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps under Junior Commander G. V. M. McClure, consisting of two officers and 76 other ranks, reached Base in 1943 for service with clubs, hospitals, convalescent depots, and recreation centres. Public Relations, another organisation now an essential part of the forces, was assembled at Base in April 1943. Its official photographers, official artist (Lieutenant A. B. Barns-Graham), war correspondent (Lieutenant D. W. Bain), archivist (Lieutenant R. I. M. Burnett), and a broadcasting unit spent most of their time in the forward area, under the direction of Major R. A. Young, who had his headquarters at Base. Base Headquarters operated in Bourail until 1 September 1944, after which a reduced headquarters moved to Noumea, working there until the last members sailed for New Zealand on 11 October.