Pacific Kiwis: being the story of the service in the Pacific of the 30th Battalion, Third Division, Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force
The 30th Battalion was formed at Ngaruawahia in September 1940 as part of the brigade group which, two months later under Brigadier W. H. Cunningham CBE, DSO, was sent to Fiji with the object of safeguarding our communications and outposts of defence in the Pacific. This pioneer force, though small in numbers and sadly lacking in equipment, was nevertheless able to do a great deal in preparing and putting into effect plans of defence which, on its expansion to two brigades after the outbreak of war with Japan over a year later, was to prove extremely useful.
Though disappointed in their hope of seeing immediate service in the Middle East, both officers and men settled to their work with commendable keenness. The sudden change of climate, coupled with the many difficulties incident to the establishment of camp routine and the preparation of training programmes under strange conditions, presented unusual problems, but these were gradually solved, and the initial lack of social comforts was more than counter-balanced by the unbounded hospitality extended by the civil population. The prevailing conditions did not make for any great measure of parade ground precision, but field exercises gave ample scope for the development of that toughness and self-reliance which is so valuable in front-line service, while among all ranks there grew up a comradeship that made it regrettable that units eventually had to be split up when the time for transfer came. 'Characters' there were among them but, with few exceptions, both they and those who replaced them maintained under somewhat difficult circumstances the traditional New Zealand standard of conduct and discipline.
As part of the Third Division, the battalion afterwards took part in operations in the pacific. This campaign, though so vital in its page breakoutcome to Australia and New Zealand, may not bulk largely in later history against the background of the greater events in North Africa and Europe, but those who took part in it have the satisfaction of knowing that theirs was an essential contribution towards the ultimate end.
I welcome this opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the work and service rendered by those with whom I was personally associated. To the many who have fallen this record will serve as some measure of tribute; while to those who come through, it should recall many interesting memories.