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

346 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

page 311

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

7 November 1943

Reference the question of the withdrawal of the New Zealand Squadron of the LRDG.

I am 1800 miles away and out of contact with Middle East1 and realise that relief will not be easy. I have just received the following telegram from General Wilson:

While fully appreciating the manpower difficulties necessitating the proposal, I must point out that the Squadron is now engaged in important operations and is doing most valuable work for which it is specially trained. It would be impossible to replace it at such short notice. I suggest for your consideration that the Squadron remains with the LRDG for the time being until we can train a replacement, on condition that we replace other rank casualties with British personnel or replace New Zealand sub-units with complete British sub-units according to the circumstances. This will ensure that command of New Zealand personnel remains under New Zealand officers. If you agree, I would be most grateful if you would take the matter up with the New Zealand Government on the above lines.

I feel that in view of General Wilson's cable you should agree to his proposal to return the New Zealand Squadron as soon as the tactical situation allows him to do so. I feel you should also agree to his proposal to replace other rank casualties as he may deem fit.