Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I
383 — General Freyberg, Commander-in-Chief, Crete, to the Prime Minister of New Zealand
General Freyberg, Commander-in-Chief, Crete, to the Prime Minister of New Zealand
Your telegram gave us great satisfaction. Although we have had a hard time, the Division has done as well as was possible. We are now awaiting an attack which will be delivered in the next day or so. I know that, as you have done in the past, you will help us all you can, for which my very grateful thanks.
When Generals Wavell and Wilson got me to take on the job of Commander-in-Chief here as a temporary measure two or three days ago, they said to me: ‘No division could have carried out the series of withdrawals in Greece except the New Zealand Division.’
The Division was attacked by five German divisions but it continued to carry out rearguard actions from the north to the extreme south of Greece, covering the withdrawal of the whole force, and eventually embarking upon an open beach.
Although a reverse, our expedition, in so far as the New Zealand Expeditionary Force is concerned, will ever remain an epic of endurance and military skill.