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

59 — The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

page 44

The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

6 April 1942

War Cabinet is gratified to learn from your telegram of 28 March that there is no sign of unrest or feeling within your Division for its return to New Zealand. We fully realise that when the American division arrives in New Zealand and its presence becomes known, the attitude of your troops may change. We are confident, however, that they will accept your explanation of the strategic reasons which dictate the retention of the 2nd NZEF in the Middle East and that they will respond as they have always done.

There is no question at present of the return to New Zealand of any part of your force other than individuals.

We are grateful for the offer of more officers and NCOs and will gladly accept them. Our greatest need is for staff officers, commanding officers, company commanders, and senior NCOs of all arms, and especially in heavy anti-aircraft artillery. We realise that you also are probably short in these categories, and we therefore think it best not to limit your selection by stating the arms and categories required. We can employ all you send, irrespective of rank or arm.

Will you please inform General Puttick of the names of those you are sending, together with the appointment which you consider each man can best fill.

We will send you 200 other ranks in replacement. Please telegraph General Puttick specifying the arms of the service desired.1

1 On 26 Apr General Freyberg requested that 175 infantry and 25 signals personnel be sent.