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

50 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

31 October 1941

I wish to report that I came back from the Western Desert for two days to inspect the 6th and 7th Reinforcements, the latter having just arrived.2 They are an excellent body of troops.

I am very impressed with all I have seen. The men are a fine lot and have made a good impression. I have had good reports on all sides.

I have also taken the opportunity of seeing the young women now installed in the Club. It is early in the day yet to report how the arrangement is working but I have every reason to feel satisfied with the results so far. Yesterday the Commander-in-Chief3 inspected our Base and reviewed 7000 reinforcements. He was most struck by all he saw. I am sending a copy of his letter of appreciation.4

Today I leave Cairo by air for the Western Desert where everybody is in excellent heart. We are closely associated with the South Africans, an association appreciated by us. On 5 November the New Zealand Division Rugby football team plays a test match in the Western Desert against a representative South African team. The match should be keenly contested.

2 The 6th Reinforcements left New Zealand on 27 Jun and the 7th Reinforcements on 15 Sep 1941.

3 General Auchinleck succeeded General Wavell as Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, on 5 Jul 1941.

4 Not published.