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Forts and Works, number 11 (June 2001)

Base sub-historians

Base sub-historians

Advance Party Lt Pool
Hq Nzef Ip Sgt RA Durham
BRD S/M Bentley
Records Lt Hayward
Pay Corps Sgt Barrett
Graves Regist Unit Lt AG Lowry
NZEFIP Band Lt Fox [approached but unconfirmed?]
BTD [blank, presumably yet to be found]
Bourail Camp S/M Bentley
Arty Training Depot Capt IHB Dixon
AEWS Cpl Buick-Constable
Public Relations Lt RIM Burnett
Kiwi Coy Nzwaac [blank, presumably yet to be found]
NPFB/YMCA Capt L Graham
29 MT Coy Sgt Poulter
FD Bakery Lt Preston
Works Service Unit St McIvor
Base Ordnance WO1 Bristow
Noumea Units Lt CB Lewis
Base Signals S/Sgt F Nicol
Canteen HQ Maj RB Murray
Fd Maint Centre Cpl Collingwood
Postal Lt WG Head
Base Censor Capt C Coles [despite having returned to civil life in Palmerston Nth]
Movement Control Pte Donohue
Force Rear Party Maj Warrington

This source makes no mention of (nor notes the historians appointed for) chapters eventually published in Base Wallahs on 15 Bde HQ, 1 Scots, 1 Ruahines and Mangere Camp, which again were presumably later additions.

From December 1944 most historians were released from their unit at Mangere Crossing or Papakura camps and, once the collected material was ready for writing up, sent to Wellington for 10-14 days to work with Gillespie and pore over war diaries. Simple 'dos' and 'don'ts' were agreed on for style, though some minor variations in style did creep through.

The unit history drafts were sent to the Director of Publicity for censoring but the records do not indicate that much was excised. Items of controversy did come up in the course of editing the histories. One was a contention that NZ men were being fed US canned food in the forward areas while US troops ate fresh NZ rations, a claim that Gen Barrowclough had denied in February 1944.

The Committee's aim was to give one free book to each soldier who
Maj Warrington, Third Division Histories Committee member and The Gunners history delegate.

Maj Warrington, Third Division Histories Committee member and The Gunners history delegate.

served in the Pacific theatre. Additional volumes would be sold to them at 2/6 each, a figure subsidised by the Regimental Fund, and orders were taken. The intended cost per book to the public was set at 7/6. By May 1945 orders ranged from 1305 for Tanks, MMG & Ordnance to 2,618 for the artillery volume (not surprising as gunners were second in numbers to the infantry). Most books attracted 1400-1700 orders. Maximum estimated orders at this time led to a probable print quantity of 45,500 of all volumes: 2,500-6,000 of each.

By the end of 1944 the Committee was ready to seek a commercial publishing partner. A format of octavo 8.5x5.5in, 10pt leaded type, with no dust jacket, was selected as most eco-page 3nomical. They talked to Collins Bros first. Other firms approached, including the NZ Herald, Dominion, Evening Post, Whitcomb & Tombs, Coulls Sommerville & Wilkie, and Wright & Jackson, were not interested. Soon, however, the committee had signed with AH & AW Reed.

Capt Pattison, Base Wallahs delegate now on the Histories Committee, requested of the Under Secretary of Internal Affairs in May 1945 that Reed be license to publish the books. Reed also needed approval to import the paper (from Canada), to go between Whakatane Mills card covered in Book Cloth No.1. By this stage coverage of Headquarters had been included with the Signals story. By then Reed had al-ready started production, with proofs of the Signals and Engineer rolls ready for checking.

Under Secretary Heenan approved the paper imports on 12 June and notified Customs accordingly. Delays with the paper supply, however, led to delays in printng the first book. The medical book Shovel, Sword and Scalpel was the first published, in August 1946, followed by the Engineers' Pacific Pioneers in October. Base Wallahs was being bound and expected to appear this month RSA Review said in February 1947. The rest were under production except the artillery work the MS for which Reed had not yet received. They had all, though, been published by 1948. In early June 1949, the greased photographic blocks were delivered to John Pascoe, War History Branch photo editor, at Kippenberger's request, even though he said the "Branch does not handle 3 Div histories".

That the historians were also the authors is confirmed by Lt Harry Bioletti, 30Bn historian, who later stated that he authored Pacific Kiwis.3 In November 1944, when fingered for the job, he was based at D Block Papakura Camp, though "at present [in] hospital".

Now that we know who wrote these volumes, their excellence as a source could only be further improved by indexes. Is anyone game to index them?

The full list of books published, all prefixed '2NZEF IP', in rough order (with probable numbers printed) is:
Shovel, Sword and Scalpel [medical units]19463,500
Pacific Pioneers [NZ Engineers]19463,000
Base Wallahs.19463,000
Headquarters & Communications [Signals]19472,500
Pacific Kiwis[30 Battalion]19473,500
Pacific Saga[37 Battalion].19473,500
Stepping Stones to the Solomons [29 Battalion]19474,000
The Story of the 34th[Battalion].19473,500
Tanks, MMGs & Ordnance19473,500
The 35th Battalion19473,500
The 36th Battalion19472,500
Pacific Service[NZ ASC]19483,500
The Gunners[NZ Artillery]19486,000

Now that we know who wrote these volumes, their excellence as a source could only be further improved by indexes. Is anyone game to index them?