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

394 — Letter from Major-General Barrowclough to the Prime Minister

page 411

Letter from Major-General Barrowclough to the Prime Minister

6 October 1943

Dear Prime Minister


Colonel McKillop1 called on my headquarters in Vella [Lavella] today and handed me your letter of 27 August.2 I need hardly say how much I appreciate the opportunity of discussing our problems with him. On the whole our views as to the equipment we require have not altered as the result of our short experience of jungle warfare. The main result of that experience is a realisation of the rate of wastage and that I have discussed with Colonel McKillop.

One of the greatest difficulties confronting me is the uncertainty of the future use and employment of this Division. I can see about as far as the end of March next but after that I have little idea as to where we may be employed and how, and it is consequently very difficult to frame my requests without running the risk of over-demanding. The difficulties of shipping and supply may prevent equipment reaching me until shortly before the Division is due for withdrawal. Colonel McKillop is familiar with this aspect of the matter and will no doubt discuss it with you.

You will have learned from the despatches which I have been sending to Army Headquarters that portion of the Division has been engaged in operations against the Japanese in the north-western portion of Vella Lavella. The fighting there has been extremely difficult and the troops engaged have all endured hardship and privations with a wonderful spirit. There have been some outstanding instances of courage and devotion to duty which I shall be reporting in due course. Although progress has been slow I have been more than proud of the record they have established and am confident that it will stand comparison with the record of any other troops in this theatre. I know you will be glad to have this report, although neither of us ever doubted that the Division would not give a good account of itself.

With kind regards,
Yours sincerely


(Sgd) H. E. Barrowclough

1 Col E. R. McKillop, CMG, OBE; Staff Engineer, HQ B Force (Fiji), 1940–41; Deputy Commissioner, Defence Construction Council, 1941–44; Commissioner of Works, 1944–55.

2 Not traced. This letter was possibly dated 27 September, the day on which Colonel McKillop embarked for a brief tour of duty in the Pacific.