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26 Battalion


page v


Black and white picture of an army emblem

By Lieutenant-General the Rt. Hon. Lord Freyberg, vc, gcmg, kcb, kbe, ll d, dcl

I feel honoured to be asked to write a Foreword to the History of this fine Infantry Battalion, which served under my command in the Middle East and Italy from September 1940, when it joined the Division, until it was disbanded and drafted home from the Florence area on the 9th October 1945, after five long years of bitter fighting and great achievement.

During those years the Battalion played important roles in Greece and in the Western Desert. In the battle at Tobruk in November 1941, the New Zealand 6th Infantry Brigade, under Brigadier Barrowclough, captured Sidi Rezegh, where some of the hardest fighting of the war took place.

I have often been asked what I thought to be the highlight in the record of the 2 NZEF's long and honourable history. I find this difficult to decide, but I think that without any doubt the attack of the 6th and the 4th Infantry Brigades to capture the whole of the Sidi Rezegh escarpment, Belhamed and Ed Duda, and to open the corridor to Tobruk, was one of the greatest feats of courage and endurance of the war.

page vi

The 26th Battalion had an imposing record of achievement, and it is well told by Mr. Frazer Norton, who is to be congratulated on the care which he has taken to state the facts accurately and also on the well-balanced story that he has produced. Readers will find it a worthy account of the war service of one of our finest Infantry Battalions.

Black and white picture of a signature


formerly General Officer Commanding
the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force
1 May 1952