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21 Battalion


page vii


This history is the story of the several hundred officers and men who served in the Middle East and Italy with the 21st New Zealand Battalion in the Second World War. Included in the text is only sufficient of the strategy and tactics of the various campaigns fought by the 2nd New Zealand Division to indicate the role of the battalion in those battles.

Immediately available to the writer were the war diaries, campaign reports, and other documents preserved by War Archives, but the intimate detail, the spirit of the unit, could be recaptured only from the members of the battalion themselves. I am therefore indebted to the many of all ranks who freely supplied personal diaries, eye-witness accounts, private letters, and answers to my questionnaires.

A considerable portion of any merit this history may have goes to the officers of the War History Branch, all of whom, without exception, went well beyond the line of duty in supplying and collating data and in reading and correcting the draft narratives.

page viii