Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I
248 — Letter from General Freyberg to Brigadier Galloway, Headquarters, British Troops in Egypt
Letter from General Freyberg to Brigadier Galloway, Headquarters, British Troops in Egypt
The New Zealand Forces are not an integral part of the British Army—they are a distinct New Zealand force, proud of their own identity. They cannot be split up and used piecemeal, except with the consent of the New Zealand Government. The past I know has been unfortunate, and for that I must take my share of the blame. We came over here in February, keen and willing to help everybody, and have never refused a request of any sort. It has been a mistake, and the efficiency of the Division has suffered grievously. Now, because we are insisting on concentrating as a force, we are most unpopular. I feel I let our force in for this by not saying ‘No’ right at the beginning, as I believe did the AIF.
For your information I send you a copy of the special powers vested in me by the New Zealand Government. They will put you in the picture. They were granted to me when I accepted command of the NZEF.
The NZEF will, I hope, be assembling fast in the next few months, and when equipment is available here I am empowered by my Government to raise an armoured brigade.3
The position is quite clear; in an emergency we will all work under anybody's command, and do any job for which we are trained and equipped. The Division meanwhile cannot be used piecemeal. When the equipment has been completed up to an operational scale page 191 and has been in its possession for at least a month, the NZEF will be handed over by the New Zealand Government and placed under the operational command of the AIF or BTE, or it may even take part in some theatre of war not yet decided upon.
That is the situation as I see it.
B. C. Freyberg,
Commanding New Zealand Expeditionary Force
3 See Volume II, Formation of New Zealand Armoured Brigade.