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

End of Campaign in Italy

page 401

End of Campaign in Italy

General Freyberg to the acting Prime Minister of New Zealand1

7 April 1945

As you know, the Division is now on the eve of active operations and we are taking into battle large numbers of new officers and men who will be seeing action for the first time. I would greatly appreciate if you could send to us, to be issued as a Special Order of the Day before going into action, a message from you and the people of New Zealand.

1 During the absence of the Prime Minister at the United Nations Conference at San Francisco the Hon. W. Nash was acting Prime Minister.

The acting Prime Minister to General Freyberg

9 April 1945

Your telegram of 7 April.

Will you please arrange for the following message to be published in orders:

The news of the day is good—the coming news is better—the day for destroying the enemy is at hand. Every day is bringing new triumphs for the United Nations, and everywhere the prospect of their complete victory grows clearer, nearer, and more substantial.

Although operations may yet be hard and difficult and may still last some time in Germany and Japan, the armies of the British Commonwealth, the United States, Russia, and the other United Nations are gradually overwhelming the forces of the enemy. The New Zealand Division is now entering a battle which probably will be the most crucial of the arduous campaign in Italy.

The people and Government of New Zealand will tensely watch your operations with the greatest confidence. Time and page 402 again the New Zealand Division has proved its mettle at the highest level of quality as a fighting force. You will do it again. Be yourselves once more and there can be no doubt of the victorious result.

Godspeed to you all.

General Freyberg to the acting Prime Minister

10 April 1945

Your telegram of 9 April.

Thank you for the message from the Government and the people of New Zealand, which is being published as a Special Order to the troops. We greatly appreciate your message, especially at the present time when we have such a large number of officers and men fighting for the first time with the Division.

For your information, the Division carried out a brilliant attack last night to cross the Senio River. Bridges were put across, then the troops crossed with all their heavy equipment and took all their objectives. They captured nearly 800 prisoners for the loss of 81, mostly slight casualties. They are now pursuing the enemy hard and the battle will go on for several days. We are now facing up to the Santerno River.

As soon as possible I will send you my comments on the battle and an account for publication in the press should you desire.

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.

The Minister of Defence to General Freyberg

25 April 1945

Your message of greetings from the Division in commemoration of Anzac is most warmly appreciated by all Anzacs here. The news of the great progress made by the Division and the British and Gurkha forces under your command has gladdened the hearts of all of us. It is with the deepest of interest that we have followed the advance of the Division and the Allied Armies in Italy, and all Anzacs share the pride felt by the Division in its conquest of its old enemies, the 4th Parachute Division. The gallant record of the first Anzacs who landed at Gallipoli thirty years ago is being gloriously sustained today by the Australian and New Zealand forces in all theatres. All Anzacs here wish you and your men all good fortune and good hunting. You are ever in our thoughts.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the acting Prime Minister of New Zealand1

30 April 1945
Field-Marshal Alexander has today reported that representatives of General von Vietinghoff,2 German Commander-in-Chief, South-West, and SS General Wolff,3 Supreme Commander of SS and Police and Plenipotentiary General of German Wehrmacht in Italy respectively, signed terms of surrender at 12 noon, GMT, 29 April. The command affected includes all Italy (except the portion of Venezia

1 This telegram was repeated to the United Kingdom Delegation at San Francisco.

2 Colonel-General Heinrich von Vietinghoff; commanded 10th Army in Italy, 1943; German Commander-in-Chief South-West.

3 General Karl Wolff; German Commander-in-Chief North Italy, 1945.

page 404 Giulia east of the Isonzo River), Vorarlberg, Tyrol, and Salzburg provinces and part of Carinthia. The importance of this great portion of Austria which is now surrendered to our military commander should not be underrated. It is impossible yet to estimate the bag but I should expect it to prove a record haul of prisoners.

Hostilities are to cease at 12 noon, GMT, 2 May. President Truman1 has suggested that the announcement of surrender be made first by Field-Marshal Alexander, and instructions have been sent to the latter accordingly. It is important that no publicity whatsoever is permitted until the terms become effective.

1 On the death of President Roosevelt on 12 Apr 1945 Mr. H. S. Truman (Vice-President since 7 Nov 1944) became President of the United States.

The acting Prime Minister to General Freyberg

2 May 1945

The heart of every New Zealander is overflowing with today's news, with relief that a stubborn campaign through rough country and bitter weather is ended, and with pride that New Zealanders, who have always shared in the hard going, should have been triumphantly at the spearhead of victory.

We are proud beyond words of our men and of their Commander. To you, their great Commander, and to them we extend our deepest gratitude.

The following message has just been received from Mr. Churchill: ‘New Zealand troops were in at the death and have fought with splendid tenacity throughout.’2

2 Mr. Fraser also sent to General Freyberg, from San Francisco, a similar message of congratulation.

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

5 May 1945

As I reported to War Cabinet, the New Zealand forces have taken a very full part throughout this final stage of the war here in Italy. I now send you for your information, and for publication in the press should you so desire, the following account of these important operations. Field-Marshal Alexander has no objection to publication.

page 405

After a short period of training in the area near Matelica the Division went back into the line on 1 April to take part in the final battles, the object of which was to destroy the German Tenth and Fourteenth Armies in the broad open Po Valley, force a crossing of the River Po, and then, among other plans, to push north-east and join up with Marshal Tito's forces in the vicinity of Trieste.

In this offensive the Allied armies faced many difficulties. The country with its many mountains, rivers, canals, and ditches favoured the defence. The Allied and German armies were about an even match in numbers. The enemy had 25 divisions in Italy, 18 of which were lined up opposite the Eighth and Fifth Armies. These included some of the Wehrmacht's best and most experienced formations, troops which had obtained, in the Italian fighting, a very high degree of skill and a strategy of defensive fighting which Field-Marshal Kesselring promptly fostered to the utmost. They included the 1st Parachute Division, our opponents in Cassino, 4th Parachute Division, whose units led the attack on Crete, 90th Panzer Grenadier Division, the successor to the 90th Light Division we defeated and captured in North Africa, the 26th Panzer and 29th Panzer Grenadier Divisions, while the infantry were well tried and confident. These troops were the cream of the German Army. They had under command Tiger and Panther tanks as well as other armour.

As against these forces we had fewer but larger divisions. The balance, however, was weighted heavily in our favour as regards equipment, air support, artillery, and tanks.

During the winter months the best use had been made by the enemy of the country and by the spring the positions to be attacked were formidable. I believe the flanks of the enemy line were secure. The northern flank rested on marshy, inundated areas on the Adriatic, while to the south the line lay along the Apennines. The only possible area suitable for offensive action was on the flat ground in between, which had few roads and was crossed by seven formidable river barriers, beginning with the Senio and ending with the Adige. These rivers had no junctions left and, particularly in the case of the first four, were heavily defended, mined, and wired. The rivers themselves, owing to the peculiar formation of the floodbanks, were from a tactical point of view almost ideal for infantry defensive positions. The floodbanks were in many cases 30 feet high, tapering from a base of 100 feet thick up to a flat apex 10 feet wide. Further, the stopbanks were only 120 feet apart and the enemy was dug in tightly on both banks. When the near bank was attacked you were shot at from the trenches on the far side. Between the banks themselves were mines and wire. The enemy slit-trenches on these floodbanks were most difficult artillery targets. The water gap itself, although page 406 only 40 feet wide, was 10 feet deep between the canalised perpendicular banks, 15 feet deep, dropping almost vertically down to the water's edge.

Altogether the position was a most difficult one to capture. Field-Marshal Alexander's plan was to attack in the flat country in the centre, thereby drawing off the enemy brigades from the mountains and the marshes, and, when this had been achieved, to push between the marshes through the narrow Argenta Gap on the northern flank. When all enemy reserves had been drawn off from the mountains, the final blow was to be struck by the Fifth American Army attacking through the hills towards Bologna. The underlying intention behind the whole plan was to defeat the German forces in their existing defences so that further enemy resistance on the big obstacles of the Po and the Adige Rivers would not be possible.

Your Division, a part of the 5th British Corps, was given the role of slogging across the rivers in the centre and fighting hard battles to carry out the job of smashing as much of the German Army as possible, drawing off the enemy reserves and thereby weakening the flanks so that other formations could push through. It is a fair statement to say that during these operations the New Zealand Division, which had grouped with it nine British artillery regiments, carried out its part most thoroughly. The enemy fought right through without respite from D-day to the final phase at Trieste. In the process your Division destroyed three German divisions—4th Parachute Division, the 98th and the 278th Divisions. In all these operations we were most ably supported by the 12th Lancers, the 42nd British Medium Artillery Regiment and, later on, by Brigadier Barker's 43rd Gurkha Brigade.1

In the original plan it had never been intended that our thrust should break the enemy line. It was assumed that the main breakthrough would occur to the north through the marshland of Argenta.

April 29. So successful, however, were the operations of the 2nd New Zealand Division and the troops on our immediate flanks that five rivers south of the Po and the Adige were crossed more quickly than was estimated, and the operations which started as subsidiary ones finished up by smashing the enemy line and enabling the New Zealand Division to break through to Venice. We are, as I start writing this cable, across the rivers Piave, Tagliamento, and Isonzo, and we move forward tomorrow towards the capture of Trieste. We have joined up with the forces of Marshal Tito.

In all, your Division fought five major battles against the pick of the Germany Army. These battles were those of the rivers Senio, Santerno, Sillaro, Gaiana, and Idice. The plan of attack on each

1 Brigadier A. R. Barker, DSO, OBE, MC.

page 407 of these obstacles was not merely to secure a crossing on which to drive the enemy back, but to destroy his forces. In this way alone could his divisions be broken and prevented from reforming a line farther back. Our policy has been, as always, to hit the enemy a tremendous blow with every available offensive weapon—often with from 250 to 300 guns and 400 to 500 planes, supported by 150 tanks. During the four hours' bombardment supporting each of the main battles our guns fired up to a quarter of a million rounds. These terrific bombardments enabled the infantry to advance and crush the enemy on our front, and then to push through the gap we had made to the next defended river line. We always attacked at night on a broad front with two brigades forward and one brigade in reserve. Later, to ease the hard-worked New Zealand Division infantry, we were given the 43rd Gurkha Lorried Infantry Brigade. This enabled us to carry on delivering blow after blow by relieving the forward brigades after each operation.

It was battles such as these which paved the way to victory. On the Senio and the Santerno we smashed completely the 98th Division. On the Sillaro we broke the back of the 278th Division. On the Gaiana and the Idice we paid off the final of our old scores with the 4th Parachute Division and part of the 1st Parachute Division. The 4th Parachute Division, fully confident that they could hold the rivers where less fanatic divisions had failed, dug themselves in on the west stopbank of the Gaiana. The bombardment on the Parachute Division was the heaviest of the war, estimated at 100 rounds for every man holding the river line, and in support of this bombardment 44 flame-throwing tanks attacked the line of the stopbank with flames. It was little wonder that our success was complete. On the Idice, the next obstacle, we were not faced with organised resistance and were able to rush the riverbanks without difficulty.

The destruction of the enemy divisions against us was a big factor in smashing the Germans here in Italy. No division that opposed us could stand up to the methods employed. During the early stages of the offensive the fighting was bitter. We captured between 2000 and 3000 infantry, all part of Germany's finest fighting infantry. The enemy was well beaten and could put up only half-hearted resistance on the formidable river barriers of the Po and the Adige. These were crossed with the greatest skill in assault boats and bridged with folding-boat equipment for our light transport and 40-ton rafts for our tanks and heavy artillery. In this way 150 heavy tanks and 5000 vehicles and guns of the Division were passed over and we were able to commence a successful advance to Padua and beyond.

It will be of great interest to you to know that the opinions I have expressed as to the importance of our contribution are borne out to a great extent by others, and I quote a cable from the Army Commander page 408 and a charming letter I received today from the Commander of the gallant 2nd Polish Corps1 who fought upon our left flank:

Personal for General Freyberg from Army Commander. My heartiest congratulations on reaching Trieste. To have led the advance of the Eighth Army from the River Senio to the Alps is a magnificent achievement for your troops.

My Dear General,

On behalf of all officers and men of the 2nd Polish Corps I feel that I must write to express to you our unbounded admiration of your truly magnificent achievements since the offensive against the River Senio.

The Polish soldier knows well that his own successes were to a very considerable degree dependent upon the brilliant actions which were fought on his right. Since that period, during which we had the honour of attacking alongside your troops, your incomparable fighting qualities have been still more evidenced by the speed of your advance against the toughest troops which the enemy could muster, and these qualities have aroused a feeling of respect, admiration, and comradeship which will live in our memories throughout the years of peace.

May I say, too, how deeply grateful we are for the help which you have given to our people. The sympathy which you have shown will never be forgotten by the Polish fighting soldiers.

Yours very sincerely,
Z. Bohusz-Szyszko

It is fair to add that the speed of our advance was only possible because of the engineering work of our Divisional Engineers, under the command of Colonel Hanson, whose work was of a very high order.

Once the crust of the enemy resistance was broken just south of Padua, we carried out the advance through Padua itself on to the River Piave, including the capture of Venice. In two successive days' moves we had advanced 80 miles, capturing many thousands of prisoners.

As the bridges over the River Po had all been destroyed some months back by our own air forces, a halt of 24 hours became necessary to bridge the gap, and the Division took advantage of this to do maintenance, service tanks, and gather up and evacuate the huge number of enemy prisoners who were by now becoming an embarrassment.

The last stages of our advance to join up with Marshal Tito's forces show the Division again in its traditional role—a ‘left hook’ carried out magnificently. I wish you could have seen the triumphal move of this highly trained force along the coast over the Piave and Isonzo, in places fighting hard and, as opposition broke down, moving long distances through towns and villages full of cheering

1 Major-General Zygmunt Bohusz-Szyszko.

page 409 and happy people, with all our vehicles, tanks, and guns garlanded with flowers. The last part of the advance was a sustained attack to free Trieste. It will always be a proud moment for the New Zealand Division that we were able to be of assistance to the Yugoslav Army in helping to free Trieste.

I cannot say how many German prisoners were taken during the move from the Po. I can only estimate the numbers at between 30,000 and 40,000. Our casualties, I am glad to say, have not been unduly heavy for the scope of the operations.1

I hope that this will be the last report that I shall have to send you of active operations. I write this one on the outskirts of Trieste. As in the past, I do so from my office truck which has served me as a battle headquarters during all past days. Now that we have reached the conclusion of the European war, I hope that I may be permitted to tell the people of New Zealand what a great force this Division of theirs is. No tribute I can pay does justice to the individuals whose work has contributed to our great successes. A successful commander depends in battle upon his subordinates. No praise can be sufficiently high for our commanders and staff. I wish especially to mention Brigadier Parkinson, commanding the 6th New Zealand Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Bonifant, commanding the 5th New Zealand Infantry Brigade, and Brigadier Gentry, commanding the newly-formed 9th New Zealand Infantry Brigade, which distinguished itself so greatly during the battle of the Gaiana River and the advance to Trieste. Outstanding work has been done by Colonel Hanson wherever commanding the Divisional Engineers, and by Colonel Campbell, commanding the 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade. The work of Brigadier Queree, commanding the Divisional Artillery during the five battles from the Senio to Gaiana and beyond, has been well up to that high standard which has always been the characteristic of the New Zealand Artillery. The work of the Army Service Corps, under Brigadier Crump, in keeping us fed and maintained over difficult obstacles and long lines of communication has been up to the highest traditions of the desert days.

1 New Zealand casualties from 27 Oct 1944–2 May 1945 were:

Died of wounds111
Died on active service (includes deaths through sickness, accident, &c.)62
Prisoners of war (includes 1 died of wounds while prisoner of war)19
page 410

On my own staff Colonels Gilbert,1 Elliott,2 and Cook3 and Major Cox,4 the Intelligence Officer, have been of the greatest assistance and help. Their work has been of a high order.

But it is not of these senior officers, good as they have been, that one thinks of the most after battles such as we have been through. No division, no matter how good the Commander and staff may be, could achieve such results during the last year of heavy fighting unless the rank and file of the force were of the highest class. Our New Zealand troops have gone into these battles day after day and night after night with a quiet, steady determination and a spirit which I have not seen equalled elsewhere in my experience of warfare. In the New Zealander you have qualities of heart and mind that place him high among men. It is to resolute courage in our junior officers and men that this Division owes its fighting record. No men could have done more than they have done—never daunted, always calm, no matter how great the odds against them have been. No commander has been served as I have been during these difficult five and a half years. I have been the most fortunate and privileged of commanders to have led such a Division.

1 Colonel H. E. Gilbert, DSO, OBE; GSO 1, 2nd NZ Division, Nov 1944–1946; NZ Representative on Joint Chiefs of Staff Organisation in Australia, Jul 1946-Jul 1947; GSO 1, Army HQ, Mar 1948-Mar 1949; Director of Plans and Intelligence, Mar 1949.-

2 Colonel R. A. Elliott, OBE, ED; Assistant Director of Medical Services, 2nd NZ Division, Dec 1944-Oct 1945.

3 Lieutenant-Colonel J. P. Cook, OBE; Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General, 2nd NZ Division, Dec 1944-Nov 1945.

4 Major G. S. Cox, MBE; GSO 2 (Intelligence), 2nd NZ Division, Oct 1944-May 1945; Chargé d'Affaires, New Zealand Legation, Washington, 1942–44.

General Freyberg to the acting Prime Minister

7 May 1945

We are all deeply touched by the warmth of your praise of this great Division of yours.5 Now that the end here in Europe has come we can look back with pride upon the great achievements of this force, small in numbers compared with the large forces that are involved but which by sheer courage and the ability of its manhood has fought itself into the front rank of fighting formations of this or any war.

May I say how conscious I have always been of the great support I have received from War Cabinet and also how much I appreciate your kind references to me, their Commander. Your much-valued message will of course be passed on to all ranks.

page 411

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the acting Prime Minister of New Zealand1

8 May 1945

Final victory over our German enemy is now achieved, and on behalf of the Government and people of the United Kingdom I send our greetings and congratulations to our kinsfolk in New Zealand on their great share in our common victory. During the darkest hours we in the Mother Country were ever strengthened by the knowledge of the sure sympathy and support of New Zealand. Your courage and steadfastness never faltered. Even when the enemy was almost at your gates you allowed nothing to hamper the contribution which New Zealand has made through her sons on the field of battle and through her workers on the farm and in the factory. The New Zealand Division, which has marched from Alamein through all the battles in Tunis, Sicily, and Italy, is now in the van of General Alexander's conquering armies. Let us now go forward together with great determination to inflict, as we shall at no distant date, the same crushing defeat on the Japanese aggressor.

1 Repeated to the United Kingdom Delegation, San Francisco.

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

13 May 1945

Further to my telegram of 5 May (No. 440).

At the conclusion of this hard campaign, I have the honour to bring to your notice the excellent work done by the services at Lines of Communication and Base during the whole period of the war.

As you will remember, our original plan was to train in Egypt and go to France, transferring our Base to Colchester in England. This handicapped our starting welfare organisations. When France fell we settled down to Egypt as a Base and this meant that our planning for Lines of Communication was not started until September 1940. In my work here as Commander of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force I have been responsible for the organisation, administration, and training as well as command of your Force in the field. I have been most fortunate in having Brigadier Stevens as a most excellent head of the administrative services. His help, and the help of all those working under him, and the work of the Medical Services, which are under my direction, have been of the greatest assistance.

page 412

The object of Line of Communication and Base troops is to support and maintain the fighting troops in the field. The importance of this organisation to the fighting portion of the New Zealand Division has been very great; there is no doubt that New Zealand personnel in the field appreciate an organisation [run] by New Zealanders.

Work at Base and Lines of Communication is not spectacular. I feel a debt is owed to all those employed there. It will not be desirous for me within the limits of a cable to do more than enumerate the various functions performed, and I hope that brevity will not be taken as showing slight appreciation of their value.

The keeping of the fighting efficiency of our Division has been a complex problem dependent upon the correct balance of supporting arms, the battle-worthiness of the commanders, and the morale of the fighting forces themselves. War-weariness, however, plays an adverse part towards the end of a long war. At Sidi Rezegh, in November 1941, our men were excellent, and although we have never reached a higher standard on the part of the individual soldiers, yet the increased skill and efficiency of our machine enhanced the military value of our organisation.

The whole object of military organisation and training is to maintain the fighting efficiency of the individual, without which success in battle is not possible. I attribute the high morale of the New Zealand Forces largely to the fact that we are a national army with great esprit de corps, and also to our early life and education in New Zealand. Further, our reinforcement position has been good, which has enabled us to look after the convalescent stage of all ranks so that no one has been returned to duty before he was thoroughly fit.

The greatest individual factor in keeping us a unified force lay in the fact that we had ‘all ranks’ clubs, where we all met under the same roof—officers, sisters, VADs, and other ranks. We started with Cairo, then Bari, Rome, Florence, and now in Danieli's Hotel in Venice. I can safely say that these institutions kept us together and were in fact the homes of the Division to which we turned during our periods of rest overseas. These clubs owe their efficiency to the sound organisation of our first club in Cairo, which was the work of Brigadier Falla and Major Harvey Turner.

In the opinion of members of the 2nd NZEF, and this opinion is borne out by comments from outside sources, the New Zealand Medical Services are without equal. The standard of surgical and medical treatment and administration of hospitals, casualty clearing stations, field ambulances, and convalescent depots has been most important in keeping up the high standard of morale in your Force overseas. The personal interest shown by the medical staff has established a sense of confidence in all who have come under their care.

page 413

These results have been due to my first Director of Medical Services, Brigadier MacCormick, who laid the foundations in 1940–42, and to his successor, Brigadier Kenrick. With these I associate the head of the Dental Services for nearly the whole of the war, Lieutenant-Colonel J. F. Fuller. The standard set by this service was equal to that of the medical service.

The New Zealand Nursing Service has been excellent and the good results achieved have been largely due to their devoted work. Miss E. M. Nutsey was our first Principal Matron, and her excellent work has been continued by her successor, Miss E. C. Mackay. The Medical Division of the New Zealand Women's Army Auxiliary Corps under Miss M. King has rendered most valuable support to [the nursing] service.

I feel that during the course of the war our welfare services have developed into the most efficient in this theatre of the war. The National Patriotic Fund Board, through the medium of its Overseas Commissioner, Colonel F. Waite, has shown the utmost co-operation and understanding of our needs. The YMCA has done great service, both with the units in the field and on Lines of Communication, and the whole Division is most appreciative of the work done. The representatives with the units have always been prepared to work in the most forward areas, however unpleasant the conditions, and on many occasions following the men into battle and helping to evacuate the wounded. No praise can be too high for them. The Red Cross organisation, the Church Army, the staffs of our many clubs, the Kiwi Concert Party—all have played their part. I would like to mention Mr. H. W. Shove, first Commissioner of the YMCA, Miss M. A. Neely, who has directed the Welfare Division of the WAAC, and Captain T. Vaughan, who has been the guiding light of the Kiwi Concert Party.

Included in the Base and training establishments are a large number of training and administrative units, too many to enumerate. Their work has been of a high standard throughout.

2nd Echelon of 2nd NZEF has dealt with all questions of records in a manner which has won praise, not only from the 2nd NZEF but from the authorities in New Zealand. The Pay Department has throughout shown efficiency and has approached all pay problems of members of the Force in a most sympathetic and wise manner. Our warmest thanks are due to Colonel F. Prideaux, who has been the Chief Paymaster and Financial Adviser to me since the commencement.

The spiritual welfare of troops of all denominations has been in excellent hands. We have been able to allot one chaplain to every unit of battalion size and every help has been given by the regimental page 414 officers to chaplains and priests in the execution of their duties. Their work has been unwearying. The foundation of this service was laid by the first Senior Chaplain, Bishop G. V. Gerard, and carried out by his successors, the Rev. J. W. McKenzie and Rev. G. A. D. Spence. We have all had the greatest co-operation from our Roman Catholic priests and we are all most grateful to their head, Father L. P. Spring.

A further factor which has helped us efficiently has been our postal service which handled the large number of letters and parcels from New Zealand, and our thanks are due to Lieutenant-Colonel A. V. Knapp, who for a long period was Chief Postal Officer. Those who sent parcels to us played an important part in keeping our force efficient, especially in the desert campaigns.

The Public Relations staff—which comprised war correspondents, NZEF Times staff, photographers, the broadcasting unit, cinematograph unit, and the official artist—have carried out their varied work in a first-class manner. They all worked under difficult conditions. After the capture in Greece of Captain J. H. Hall, Major M. S. Carrie took over and was a most conscientious head. Captain E. G. Webber, his successor, who was also foundation editor of the Times, has carried on most efficiently. The work of the Official Artist, Captain P. McIntyre, needs no commendation from me.

The Legal Department, controlled first by Lieutenant-Colonel C. A. L. Treadwell and, for the last three years, by Lieutenant-Colonel C. B. Barrowclough, has been of great assistance to all ranks of the Force in the administration of military law, and to many members of the Force in their personal problems. The Chief Auditor, Lieutenant-Colonel H. C. Steere, and his staff have helped us in all our financial and accounting problems. The Education and Rehabilitation Service has just started and its work has largely still to be done. I am sure it will equal the standard set by the other services.

The Clerical Division of the NZWAAC is also a recent addition to the Force. Like the other women's services, its work is of the first order.

Our two units engaged on graves registration and concentration attract little attention, but their work is of the usual New Zealand standard.

In conclusion, no words of mine can do justice to the great assistance we have all had from Army Headquarters in Wellington. The tone of all our dealings with them has been on a high co-operative basis. They have helped me right from the start to the finish with knowledge and understanding of our many difficulties. I personally am most conscious of all I owe to them, in the first case to General Duigan, and later to General Puttick and Brigadier Conway. What their help has meant to me only I can say.