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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I

268 — Letter from General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

page 203

Letter from General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

7 December 1940


With reference to my memorandum 14/12/1305 dated 16 November 1940,1 telegram of 3 December 1940 (No. 264) from the Prime Minister inquiring about New Zealand troops in Greece, and my telegram of 3 December 1940 (No. 266) in answer thereto, I have to confirm the fact that the conditions under which the Railway and other Line of Communication units are serving entitles General Headquarters, Middle East, to move them in whole or in part at their discretion.

Members of my staff have held many discussions with the Director of Transportation,2 who is the Staff Officer at General Headquarters most concerned, and have obtained his assurance that in the future he will inform us of any moves of units or sub-units from their original locations.

I have indicated to him that I think it most undesirable that sections of New Zealand units should be permanently separated from their parent units, and he has now assured me that he will reduce such actions to the minimum possible. He maintains, however, that he has the right to move them about according to the exigencies of the service.

In these circumstances you will appreciate that it is going to be difficult for me to keep contact with the Line of Communication units in the degree desirable, and that their association with 2nd NZEF cannot be a very close one. Such things as distribution of mail and gift parcels, and making contact in such cases as the recent by-election, will be very slow.

Up to the present, the only units in the field have been the various Railway Groups, but shortly the Army Troops Companies and Mechanical Equipment Company will be added to the number.

In order to minimise difficulties, it would be most desirable that all these units should be kept concentrated and that detachments should not be made except as a very temporary measure, and that they should not be allowed to detach individual officers or men to bolster up weak British units.

I would suggest therefore that you communicate with the War Office and ask that they agree to issue instructions accordingly.

I have, &c.,

B. C. Freyberg,

Commanding 2nd NZEF

1 Not traced.

2 Brigadier C. A. Langley, CBE, MC, Royal Engineers.