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

208 — General Freyberg to the Prime Minister1 — [Extract]

General Freyberg to the Prime Minister1

17 May 1943

I have to report that on the collapse of enemy resistance in Tunisia I at once made arrangements for the Division to be withdrawn in order to have the maximum time for implementing the scheme for returning personnel. I have just reached Cairo by air with my staff, and the Division, following by road, is expected to reach here about 3 June. Everybody will be accommodated at Maadi, and leave camps will be arranged near Alexandria and in Palestine. The troops are tired after the campaign but are in good heart.

As you will remember, I was anxious about the prospect of heavy casualties in the final stage of the campaign. I am very glad to be able to notify the Government that casualties have been much lower than anticipated, the success of the attack in the north making further attacks on our front unnecessary. Casualties since we left Tripoli, that is from 1 March to 13 May, are as follows:

Killed: 20 officers, 269 other ranks

Died of wounds: 7 officers, 59 other ranks

Wounded: 100 officers, 1320 other ranks

Missing: 6 officers, 71 other ranks

Total: 133 officers, 1719 other ranks….2

1 This telegram was repeated to the Hon. F. Jones in London.

2 See Furlough Scheme (No. 260) for rest of text.