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The Pacific

Appendix V

page 341

Appendix V

Special order of the day disbanding two battalions of the division, promulgated on 1 July 1943, in New Caledonia:

It is with very great regret that I have to announce that it has been decided that this division will be reorganised on a two-brigade basis. This will necessitate the disbandment of two of our infantry units—the First Battalion of the Ruahine Regiment and the First Battalion of the Scottish Regiment. An infantry battalion is much more than a mere tactical unit. It is a band of men associated together by a strong bond of comradeship and brotherhood in arms. It is an association that is unique in human experience, and there is nothing less than tragedy in the contemplation of the breaking up of such a special community.

I need hardly say that the decision to disband these two fine battalions was accepted only because it was inevitable. The demand for men, already very considerable in respect of New Zealand's commitments in the Middle East, has been accentuated by the expansion of the RNZAF. The requirements of industry for war production are increasing rather than diminishing. New Zealand simply cannot, at this juncture, bring the Third (NZ) Division to full strength and furnish adequate reinforcements. The Ruahines and the Scots must be used as reinforcements for the other two brigades or our very existence as a division would be impossible.

A soldier suffers many vicissitudes of fortune and many disappointments. There can be no greater disappointment than that which is felt by the soldier who is compelled to sever his association with the regiment of which he is a part and of which he is so justly proud. On behalf of every member of this force I wish to tender to the commanding officers and members of the Ruahines and the Scots our sincerest sympathy with them in the disbandment of the battalions which they are compelled to leave, and a warm welcome into the ranks of any infantry battalion to which they may ultimately be posted. We shall indeed be proud to have them serving with us.

(sgd) H. E. Barrowclough,


1 July 1943