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

360 — Lieutenant-General Puttick to Admiral Halsey

Lieutenant-General Puttick to Admiral Halsey

16 June 1943

Fiji has offered, subject to your approval, a Fijian brigade and attached troops for service outside Fiji, and ask if we would accept [it] under command 3rd New Zealand Division. This includes a battalion and commando now in the combat zone. You will be aware page 387 of the manpower situation here which makes it impossible for New Zealand to maintain two divisions and an expanded air force overseas, and the proposal to use Fijian units would materially strengthen the 3rd Division, which in other respects will be completed by the despatch of troops from here. I consider the Fijians very valuable for jungle warfare, and my view, with which General Barrowclough concurs,1 is that one battalion should be employed with each New Zealand brigade, thus making full use of their special qualities. Two New Zealand battalions now with the 3rd Division would be absorbed as reinforcements for that division. I would ask for an urgent decision as, if the proposal is approved, Barrowclough should visit the units at an early date to arrange any reorganisation and direct training in accordance with 3rd Division requirements pending the troops joining the Division. Practically all the equipment required for the Fijian battalions is available in New Caledonia.

1 At this date General Barrowclough was in New Zealand for discussions with War Cabinet.