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

140 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

10 May 1942

Reference your telegram of 22 April.

The Commander-in-Chief is most grateful for the helpful attitude of the New Zealand Government. The question of assurances will be the subject of further communications.

I have to report that with Colonels Gentry1 and Maxwell2 I attended page 109 detail planning meetings at General Headquarters, Cairo, examining the whole question from the point of view of organisation, equipment, timing, and forward movement to the concentration area. The scarcity of information about the state of the roads and the country through which we would have to move makes planning most difficult. General Headquarters, Middle East, are therefore trying to arrange with the Turkish Government to send in four New Zealand officers—road engineer, doctor, signals, and General Staff officers—for a fortnight's reconnaissance to report on communications, roads, water supply, hygiene arrangements, &c. On receipt of their reports we shall be in a better position to deal with the problems of planning and administration.

As instructed, I will keep you in touch with the situation as it develops. I am at present preparing a statement on the present state of training and efficiency of the 2nd NZEF.

1 Brigadier W. G. Gentry, CBE, DSO; GSO 2, 2nd NZ Division, 1940; AA & QMG, 1940–41; GSO 1, 1941–42; commanded 6th Brigade, 1942–43; Deputy Chief of the General Staff (in NZ), 1943–44; commanded New Zealand Troops in Egypt, 6th NZ Division, and NZ Maadi Camp, Aug 1944 – Feb 1945; commanded 9th NZ Brigade (in Italy), 1945; New Zealand representative on Joint Chiefs of Staff Organisation in Australia, Mar-Jul 1946; Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Jul 1946 – Nov 1947; Adjutant-General, Apr 1949-.

2 Colonel D. T. Maxwell, OBE; Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General, 2nd NZEF, 1940; GSO 2, Oct 1940 – Jan 1941; GSO 2 and later AA & QMG, 2nd NZEF Base, 1941; AA & QMG, 2nd NZ Division, Oct 1941 – Jun 1942; returned to New Zealand for duty Aug 1942 and held various senior staff appointments, including Commandant, New Zealand Staff College, Aug 1943 – Mar 1944; posted to 2nd NZEF (Japan), Mar 1946; Commander British Commonwealth Sub-Area, Tokyo, Jun 1946 – Jul 1947; Commander Area 5, Wellington, Nov 1947 – Oct 1948; NZ Joint Services Liaison Staff, Melbourne, Nov 1948-.