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

381 — Headquarters 2nd NZEF (Cairo) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

Headquarters 2nd NZEF (Cairo) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

1 May 1941

During the last twenty-four hours a large part of the 24th Battalion arrived in Egypt together with elements of Divisional Headquarters, all the nurses, and Brigadiers Miles and Barrowclough.

General Freyberg is temporarily commanding Crete with the 4th and 5th Infantry Brigades, including the Maoris, and large parties of artillery, Army Service Corps, engineers, cavalry, and machine gunners, all organised as infantry.

In general, casualties have been light and are estimated by the Brigadiers at only 10 per cent over all, of which a proportion are page 281 probably prisoners of war and others may even yet turn up. In the 4th and 5th Field Regiments and the Machine Gun Battalion casualties have been very light. Battle casualties in the Divisional Cavalry have been light but some are still missing; the 6th Infantry Brigade is in a similar position to the Divisional Cavalry. The 21st Battalion is the only unit with heavy casualties, but exact details are not known.1

So far we can account definitely in Crete and Egypt for 13,000 out of a total of about 16,000 in Greece, and the probabilities are that another 1000 will arrive in due course.

All ranks are in excellent spirits and are certain that they are far better men than the enemy.

1 New Zealand casualties in Greece were:

Died of wounds50
Died on active service (includes deaths through sickness, accident, &c.)10
Prisoners of war (includes 225 wounded and prisoners of war and 25 died of wounds while prisoners of war)1876