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

397 — General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

30 September 1944

Reference your telegram of 27 September.

I note the Quebec decisions and am glad our suggestions for the replacement scheme meet with your approval. We are at present going into the figures and making a detailed survey of the situation.

With regard to General Barrowclough's visit here, would you say how glad we would be to have him. It will give us the opportunity to talk over our mutual problems and he will see the present machinery and organisation of the 2nd Division.

I quite understand General Barrowclough's desire that officers, warrant officers, and NCOs of the 3rd Division should be given page 364 special consideration, and he can rest assured that as far as we are concerned this will be done. I realise the difficulty that would arise if the original arrangement with Army Headquarters limiting the proportion of officers, warrant officers, and NCOs in reinforcement drafts were adhered to. I am certain that suitable arrangements can be made, especially as our replacement scheme envisages returning to New Zealand a large proportion of battle-worn combatant officers and NCOs of the 2nd Division.

I will go into the figures with the Commanders of the various arms and will cable the numbers we can accept with replacement drafts. As a minimum estimate, however, the following officers up to captains could be accepted: Armour 55, Field Artillery 30, Engineers 30, Signals 14, Northern Infantry 55, Central Infantry 70, Southern Infantry 70, Maori 25, Machine Gun 5, Army Service Corps 5, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers 5, Total 364. I would be prepared to accept the full complement of NCOs but foresee difficulties with regard to warrant officers. We would not be able to absorb these as they would not be able to run the NCOs of our field units. If, however, there are any who are young and worthy of commissions I would be prepared to consider taking them as subalterns. In addition to the above officers we could accept all Grade 3 staff officers and selected Grade 2 staff officers by arrangement. We would be ready to take up to 200 officers by the first available ship. It would help if the additional officers sent under this scheme could be in addition to the officers already coming with the next replacement draft.

I have complete confidence in General Barrowclough's judgment in the selection of officers suitable for command in the field, and I would be very grateful if before he comes here he would supervise the selection of the first quota of officers, warrant officers, and NCOs selected from the 3rd Division.