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

109 — General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

3 December 1941

After several days of heavy fighting round Tobruk the 4th and 6th Infantry Brigade Groups, together with the 21st Battalion, withdrew under pressure. The fighting has been severe and our losses are heavy. At present it is not possible to give any estimate of our casualties as part of the Division is with me, part in Tobruk, and part with the 4th Indian Division near Bardia. So far as I can say, the 5th Infantry Brigade, who are still operating round Bardia under the orders of the 4th Indian Division, have not had heavy fighting and their losses are not great. I am sending this telegram from the battlefield by a General Headquarters staff officer who is flying back to Cairo. Days must elapse before I can get back to telegraph communications, and longer to get the complete facts necessary for a fuller report which will follow in stages.