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

274 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

23 February 1941

In your telegram of 11 October1 you asked for an appreciation of the situation and our likely role and fitness for it. I see no reason to alter the appreciation in my telegram of 7 November (No. 250), page 207 as varied by my telegram to General Duigan dated 13 January (No. 271).

With regard to our fitness and state of equipment, the complete Division is now concentrated at Helwan with the exception of the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 28th Infantry Battalions, the 5th Field Ambulance, the 7th Field Company, and one squadron of the Divisional Cavalry, all of whom are due at Suez on 3 March. The Division is now receiving its full equipment and transport up to complete war scale and in the course of the next few days all of this will be in our hands. As regards training, I am confident that individual and collective training have been carried out thoroughly and that the Division is now fit for war as a two-brigade division, and as soon as the 5th Brigade have been refitted and hardened up after the voyage, the Division could take the field complete.

Therefore, I feel that should the British Government request the release of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force for a full operational role the New Zealand Government can now do so with confidence.