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

249 — Army Headquarters (Wellington) to Headquarters 2nd NZEF (Cairo)

page 222

Army Headquarters (Wellington) to Headquarters 2nd NZEF (Cairo)

5 February 1943

Personal for Brigadier Stevens.

The Government has been considering the practicability of bringing back to New Zealand personnel who have been absent from New Zealand for three years and increasing the reinforcement draft to compensate. It is suggested that the next reinforcement draft of 2000, to leave approximately at the end of March, could be increased to 3000.1 It is desired to know the reaction at your end and whether you have any proposals to implement the scheme.2

1 The 9th Reinforcements left New Zealand on 14 May 1943.

2 The replacement of long-service personnel with reinforcements from New Zealand had also been considered by General Freyberg and Brigadier Stevens. In a letter to General Freyberg on 12 Jan 1943, Brigadier Stevens had written: ‘I have been thinking a lot about the possibility of exchanging old hands with new arrivals, who would have to be additional to the normal drafts from New Zealand. I think we would be well advised in due course to make the suggestion to Army HQ ourselves. Similar action was taken in 1918. I have not discussed it with anybody yet, but have jotted down odd thoughts on the subject….’