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

154 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

18 July 1942

I have to report that the 4th and 5th Brigades, Divisional Artillery, and Divisional troops have again been in action. On the night of 14–15 July we did a night attack with an Indian division and reached our objective in a six-mile advance against strong enemy defences in depth. Over 1500 prisoners were captured. We suffered moderate casualties during the advance and, I fear, heavy casualties when the enemy counter-attacked in strength with tanks on the following day. The 19th and 20th Battalions of the 4th Brigade and the 22nd Battalion of the 5th Brigade suffered most heavily. So far there are no official details of casualties. The above details are based on a verbal report from Brigadier Burrows. The 4th Brigade has now been relieved by the 6th Brigade, the latter not yet having been in action. I am awaiting a further report from Inglis.

I regret to report that Colonel Sam Allen,2 commanding the 21st Battalion, died of wounds. He is another great loss. He was commanding the battalion with gallantry and distinction.

2 Lieutenant-Colonel S. F. Allen, OBE; CO 2nd NZ Divisional Signals, Jan 1940 – Sep 1941; CO 21st Battalion, Dec 1941 – May 1942, 13 Jun – 15 Jul 1942; commanded 5th Infantry Brigade, 10 May – 12 Jun 1942; killed in action, 15 Jul 1942.