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

393 — Major-General Barrowclough to Lieutenant-General Puttick

Major-General Barrowclough to Lieutenant-General Puttick

26 September 1943

Balance of 14 Brigade Group and further details Divisional Headquarters arrived Vella Lavella without incident and without casualties. 35 Battalion Combat Team is slightly north of Matu Soroto Bay and expect tomorrow to contact Japanese forces in the vicinity of Umomo Island. 37 Battalion Combat Team was established at Boro on Doveli Cove and moving to the neighbourhood of Bango Island.

Expect pincer movement to result in decisive action in a day or so. Difficulties of terrain and insufficiency of boats make progress slow. 14 Brigade Advanced Headquarters in the neighbourhood of Matu Soroto Bay. 30 Battalion Combat Team in reserve near Gill's Plantation. If 30 Battalion is not required in northern Vella I expect to employ it shortly in the capture of Gizo Island.

Our forward positions have been attacked from the air but so far without reported casualties.1

1 Several later messages giving details of the operations on Vella Lavella have been omitted. General Barrowclough's report to the Prime Minister on 31 Dec 1943 (No. 406) gives a full account of the operations on Vella Lavella and in the Treasury Group.