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

342 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

23 October 1943

Reference your telegram of 20 October, I have now received the following from the Chief of the General Staff, Middle East:

The New Zealand Squadron is now concentrated on Leros with the whole of the LRDG and has been doing excellent work.

Intelligence reports indicate that attack on Leros is imminent. I am out of touch and do not know future plans. I feel, however, that the situation is unsound as there is no air cover on Leros and, for your personal information, to the best of my knowledge there are no suitable troops to reinforce the islands. This, of course, is criticism of higher policy without full knowledge of the facts. I feel that it may be difficult to extricate them at the moment, but feel that you should now raise the matter of asking for the return of the New Zealand Squadron as soon as the tactical situation permits. This would be consistent with your general manpower policy. Further, there is no scope now for the employment of the LRDG. The number of New Zealand personnel involved is three officers and approximately seventy men.