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

333 — General Freyberg to the Prime Minister [Extract]

General Freyberg to the Prime Minister [Extract]

15 November 1940

While I sympathise with the Minister of Supply, I am strongly against the proposal contained in your message of 14 November (No. 332) as we shall want all our trained personnel in the Middle East next spring. Already New Zealand is supplying skilled non-divisional units to the total of 2600 all ranks divided between Army Troops companies, Forestry companies, Transportation units, and page 238 now a new Mechanical Equipment Company. After the infantry of the Division these form the second strongest body of troops in the New Zealand Forces.

As has been indicated in recent telegrams, there is to be a marked increase in units and size of the Division.1 The years 1941 and 1942 may see very heavy fighting. If you will forgive me for giving my opinion unasked, I feel that caution should be exercised before agreeing to the formation of any similar units or any weakening of our present strength. We are counting numbers very carefully in view of the possible role of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the spring. I would like to have your decision on the above question….2

1 See Volume II, Formation of New Zealand Armoured Brigade.

2 A reference to the arrival of Brigadier N. S. Falla from the United Kingdom has been omitted.