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

99 — General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

General Freyberg to the Prime Minister

20 September 1941

Your telegram of 17 September (No. 97).

The Division will be part of a Corps commanded by Lieutenant-General A. Godwin-Austen,1 specially selected after a successful command in East Africa and Abyssinia. We will be with the Indian Division and possibly a South African division. The Commander-in-Chief has authorised me to tell you for your personal information that General Cunningham2 late Commander-in-Chief East African campaign, will be in command of operations as a whole.

page 73

I have explained to General Auchinleck the New Zealand Government's view on the formation of the Anzac Corps. The Commonwealth Government have not yet expressed their view. However, it is not possible to form the Anzac Corps yet as the 6th Australian Division is not yet equipped and trained after Greece and Crete, and the 9th Australian Division is in Tobruk. If still desired, it might be possible to do so after some months, depending on the result of the operations now contemplated.

1 General Sir Alfred Reade Godwin-Austen, KCSI, CB, OBE, MC; commanded 13th Corps in Libya, Sep 1941 – Jan 1942; War Office, 1943–45; Quartermaster-General, India Command, New Delhi, 1945; Principal Administrative Officer, India Command, 1945–46.

2 General Sir Alan Gordon Cunningham, GCMG, KCB, DSO, MC; GOC East African Forces, 1940–41; GOC-in-C, 8th Army, 1941; GOC Northern Ireland, 1943–44; GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, 1944–45; High Commissioner and GOC-in-C, Palestine, 1945–48.