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

436 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

22 April 1945

On Anzac Day 1945 I send this message from my office truck during our pursuit of the enemy forces to the River Po. Since 9 April the New Zealand Division, with the 43rd Gurkha Brigade Group and ten additional regiments of British artillery under command, has been attacking continuously. During that period we have carried out four heavy offensives and have destroyed three German divisions— the 98th, 278th, and the much hated 4th Parachute Division who landed against us in Crete. Your Division has captured five defended river lines—the Senio, Santerno, Sillaro, Gaiana, and Idice.

page 403

Although the enemy has tried desperately to hold us, he is now broken in Italy and we are moving forward rapidly to the final stage. During these last battles the Division has fought with a toughness and determination equal to all its past record. I am greatly impressed by all ranks of the 3rd Division who have taken part in these battles. They have done excellently. I send to the former Anzacs of both wars in New Zealand a message of greeting. Our thoughts are constantly with you. May this soon be over so that we can return to our homes.