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

284 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

23 November 1943

Stevens is back and has told me of the delay and shipping difficulties before the Ruapehu draft returns to the Middle East. As page 256 I understand it, the forecast of returning reinforcements is at present as follows:


4000, including returning Ruapehu personnel, leave New Zealand in mid-December.


1000, to make the total 5000, leave at a later date, which may be as late as June 1944, i.e., when returning Wakatipu1 personnel leave New Zealand.

The delays will have a serious effect on the fighting efficiency of the Division during the ensuing year, as will be seen from a comparison with the timetable envisaged when the leave scheme was discussed with War Cabinet last July, when it was then proposed that:


The returning 5000 Ruapehu were to leave New Zealand about 1 November.


Wakatipu draft complete were to leave the Middle East about 7 December.


Returning Wakatipu draft complete were to leave New Zealand about mid-April.

Our estimates of wastage and replacements were based upon the timetable given in the above paragraph. To be in a thoroughly satisfactory position and to allow for yet further delays, for example, as a result of shipping deficiencies, I think it would be wise if an extra 1000, i.e., 2000 in all, were sent with the draft returned in paragraph 1 (b) above, if possible by special ship, not waiting for returning Wakatipu personnel, who may be further delayed.

1 Code-name for second furlough draft.