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

The Problem of What the Future Holds for the British Empire

The Problem of What the Future Holds for the British Empire

I know that it has been a most difficult time for you in New Zealand, and it has also been a difficult period here both for the staff and for the men. All ranks have responded excellently, and they have worked Saturdays and Sundays and all hours when necessary. I am, however, now quite happy over the results achieved. This crisis and the threat of invasion have given a great stimulus to training. I feel that everybody has come through the training with the greatest credit. I am more than satisfied with the progress made, and feel confident that when we concentrate in Egypt in the near future we shall be able to take the field as a first-class division. Now that it is decided that the New Zealand Expeditionary Force are to concentrate in Egypt, I am going ahead with all preparations. I have sent the ADMS1 back by sea, in the same convoy as the Railway Construction Group.

page 142

I feel that with nearly 20,000 troops in Egypt we must now make all arrangements for our Base. I am at the moment going into all the details with Brigadier Falla, who will be leaving for Egypt in the course of two or three weeks. I have also arranged to send off early in September Brigadier Miles, Brigadier Barrowclough, Colonel Crump, and the staff of the 6th Infantry Brigade.

As you will realise, the additional numbers to be accommodated in Egypt will necessitate an increase in our medical institutions. We shall now require Convalescent Homes and a Convalescent Depot. You will be glad to hear that the New Zealand General Hospital has opened at Helwan.

1 Assistant Director of Medical Services (Colonel K. MacCormick).