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

371 — Headquarters, Fiji Military Forces, to Army Headquarters (Wellington)2

Headquarters, Fiji Military Forces, to Army Headquarters (Wellington)2

29 June 1943

Your telegram of 28 June. Have seen the Governor who says he would normally have replied that he views the break-up of the brigade with regret but regards the matter as being within the recently agreed decision to place the troops under the general direction of the New Zealand General Staff and therefore for decision as desired by the Chief of the General Staff.

2. But on 27 June an immediate most secret signal affecting the employment of the Fiji forces was received from London, where proposals for possible use in Burma (not yet disclosed to the Americans) is being considered. Also Wales3 is absent in the Solomons. page 393 Accordingly the Governor asks you to wait for final reply for a few days. Battalion would be the 3rd (Voelcker).1

3. Meantime the Governor suggests you sell the idea to comsopac that the brigade should be attached to 3rd Division NZEF at once, the Division being directed to detach one or more battalions as desired for the Solomons, Fiji, etc., that is to say the brigade becomes now part of the Division, which is itself under United States command. If the London proposals are pursued this will not affect them for the Fiji forces are now under your general direction and American command. But this would preserve at least on paper the identity of the brigade, which the Governor thinks has some importance.

2 Repeated to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

3 Brig J. G. C. Wales, MC; GSO I B Force, Mar 1941–Jul 1942; Commandant, Fiji Defence Force, and Commander, Pacific Section, 2 NZEF, Jul–Oct 1942; commanded Fiji Military Forces, Nov 1942–Sep 1943.

1 Col F. W. Voelcker, CBE, DSO, MC, ED, Bronze Star (US); CO 34 Bn, Fiji, 1940 – 42; 3 Bn, Fiji Inf Regt, Dec 1943 – 1945; Administrator of Western Samoa, 1946, and High Commissioner, 1947–49; died Auckland, 22 May 1954.