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

18 — The Rt. Hon. P. Fraser (Cairo) to the Hon. W. Nash

The Rt. Hon. P. Fraser (Cairo) to the Hon. W. Nash

9 June 1941

With regard to the proposed formation of an Anzac Corps, I have made further inquiries here with Blamey and Wavell but I understand that no further developments have occurred and the matter is still in abeyance. If such a Corps should be formed and Freyberg appointed to command it, then the command of the New Zealand Division would normally fall to either Brigadier Puttick or Brigadier Miles,3 the former of course being senior. Both these officers have received the highest commendation from Freyberg and from everybody in a position to judge, and it is Freyberg's opinion that either of them would be very suitable either as Divisional commanders in page 12 the field or as officers in New Zealand. I agree and feel that with their recent war experience it is not possible to go beyond them. As soon as you have discussed the matter adequately with Sir Guy Williams,1 I would be glad if you would let me have, at the earliest possible opportunity, the views of War Cabinet and the Minister of Defence so that reorganisation in Egypt can be facilitated.

3 Brigadier R. Miles, CBE, DSO, MC, ED; Commander Royal New Zealand Artillery, 1940–41; commanded 2nd NZEF (UK) 1940; wounded and prisoner of war, 1 Dec 1941; escaped to Switzerland with Brigadier J. Hargest from prison camp near Florence, 29 Mar 1943; died in Spain on way to United Kingdom, Oct 1943.

1 General Sir Guy Charles Williams, KCB, CMG, DSO; Military Adviser to the New Zealand Government, May–Nov 1941.