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

142 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

page 110

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

14 June 1942

I arrived back at Cairo from North-West Persia1 on the night of the 13th for a Commander-in-Chief's conference on the 15th, to find the situation in the Western Desert, where there has been heavy fighting for the last three weeks, still obscure. There is no doubt that there have been considerable losses on both sides, not only in men but also in tanks, equipment, and transport. Upon arrival here I was warned that as a precautionary measure the New Zealand Division might have to move across to give depth to the defence. This afternoon the Commander-in-Chief confirmed the fact that we were to move to the Libyan frontier area to take up a defensive position. The move, which is to commence at once, will take ten days or more to carry out. The men are in excellent condition and the extra training has been of great value to the new commanders. The health of all ranks is good. We have had only seven cases of malaria while in Syria. I will, of course, keep you in touch with the situation as it develops.