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Problems of 2 NZEF



For officers the trouble was that the scale of punishments was either too light or too severe. The Army Act did not allow of reduction in rank, or to the ranks; and if for any reason an officer was considered unfit to go on holding his commission, the only punishment available was cashiering, which meant that the officer was a civilian as soon as the sentence was confirmed. In two cases in Egypt we had trouble with the civil authorities, as they set a limit to the time an unwanted civilian could stay in the country; and while we were ready to provide shipping space to take the offenders back to New Zealand, we no longer had any control over them and could not make them take the passage. One ex-officer in the end had, in effect, to be compulsorily deported. In 1943 after discussions between HQ 2 NZEF and Army Headquarters (which had also felt the need), additional punishments were introduced, allowing of reduction in rank, or in extreme cases, to the ranks, the last-named being an alternative to cashiering.

page 223

A brief mention may be made of one point, already touched on for other ranks: to what extent should the good fighting officer be permitted licence or indiscipline. There were some cases during the war in which offences were passed over; but nothing approaching a principle was ever established.