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

300 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand

page 220

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand

10 July 1940

Your telegram of 9 July (No. 299).

The views of His Majesty's Government in New Zealand with regard to the possibility of the troops concerned sailing without a special escort have been noted by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. They much regret that they do not find it possible to provide a special escort for the Awatea, and in these circumstances it seems to be unavoidable that the departure of the troops must be deferred for the time being.

The experience gained in recent months by the British Expeditionary Force in France, and the military situation now existing in this country, make it most important to ensure that the Forestry companies should receive military training, and therefore it would be appreciated if the New Zealand Government would arrange for the two Forestry companies to receive military training during the intervening period before their departure from New Zealand. According to the United Kingdom practice, the appropriate scale of training would last approximately two months, five weeks being devoted to ordinary military training, including drill, musketry, anti-gas training, and the use of weapons, and about three weeks to training in the construction of ordinary field works and in elementary demolitions.

The possibility that competent forestry men might be obtainable from the Australian and New Zealand troops in the United Kingdom is being examined. The United Kingdom authorities are grateful for this suggestion.