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

296 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

page 269

The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

26 September 1943

The New Zealand Government has been notified by General Freyberg of the impending movement of the 2nd New Zealand Division. He reports that the Division is joining the Eighth Army and that the conditions upon which the New Zealand Government agreed to the use of their troops—namely the making good of certain deficiencies in mechanical transport and equipment—have been complied with.

One question remains to which the New Zealand Government attach the maximum importance, that of safe transport across the Mediterranean, and in this respect I feel I can, and should, request your ever-ready personal interest and assistance. This Government's attitude on this particular question has been appreciated by yourself whenever it has been raised, and I know that you will, without further emphasis or reiteration on my part, respond to this request, as you have always done previously, by ensuring that throughout the various stages of their transfer the 22,000 men New Zealand has made available will have about them and above them the fullest naval escort and the strongest air protection.

It is a source of the greatest pride to us that our Division is to resume its association with the Eighth Army. We are confident that the men of the 2nd NZEF will again display those fighting qualities which have characterised their part in the other campaigns they have fought in the Mediterranean theatre.