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

31 — The Chief of the General Staff (Wellington) to Headquarters 2nd NZEF (Cairo)

page 25

The Chief of the General Staff (Wellington) to Headquarters 2nd NZEF (Cairo)

9 March 1940

Your telegram of 4 March.1 It is proposed to send the following reinforcements in addition to first reinforcements:

With the Second Echelon: second reinforcements to First Echelon units—total 688.

With the Third Echelon: third reinforcements to First Echelon units and second reinforcements to Second Echelon—total 1300.

It is also proposed to provide an additional reinforcement of 1600 all ranks to accompany the Third Echelon.

The 4th Reinforcements will consist of 4100 all ranks, plus proposed additional 2000 all ranks—total 6100 all ranks.

The 5th and subsequent reinforcements will each consist of 4100 all ranks.2

The proposed extra 1600 all ranks with the Third Echelon and the extra 2000 all ranks with the 4th Reinforcements are to meet the scale suggested by the War Office for September and October. It is not possible to obtain, train, and despatch the full quota of 3600 with the Third Echelon, as suggested by the War Office, so it is proposed to spread this number over the third and fourth drafts.

The average three-monthly wastage from all units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force has been calculated at 4100, based on six months' intense activity, three months' normal, and three months' no activity, and allowing for wastage from 4100 during the voyage and three months' training.3 Please advise your actual monthly wastage.

1 Not published. In this telegram Headquarters 2nd NZEF asked for information of Army Headquarters' intentions regarding reinforcement drafts with the Third Echelon and later contingents.

2 After a number of cables and letters had been exchanged General Freyberg recommended that the above proposals should be carried out. Discussions were also held with Colonel N. S. Falla, Commandant 2nd NZEF Base, who visited New Zealand in April.

3 On 4 Jun Headquarters 2nd NZEF advised that the figure 4100 was correctly based on six months' intense and six months' normal activity. Army Headquarters replied that its telegram (No. 31) should be corrected accordingly.