Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I
63 — The Hon. P. Fraser to the Prime Minister — [Extract]
The Hon. P. Fraser to the Prime Minister
Your telegram of 3 December.1
His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have now agreed to Saturday, 6 January, as the date of departure of the First Echelon from New Zealand, and arrangements are being made accordingly. The following ships, with their present passenger-carrying capacity shown in parentheses, have now been allotted to the New Zealand contingent: Dunera (1400), Rangitata (533), Orion (1112), Sobieski (1150), Empress of Canada (800), Strathnaver (1123). This list is subject to adjustment.
The ships will be victualled by their owners and the troops will be carried as passengers. Additional accommodation required will be installed and details of distribution among the convoy will be telegraphed later. Park will inquire as to vehicles and will telegraph you as soon as possible.
It is essential that the date and all arrangements in connection with departure, including escort, should be kept in the highest degree of secrecy.
1 Not published. In this telegram the Prime Minister suggested Saturday, 6 Jan 1940, as the date of departure of the First Echelon.
2 Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty.
3 The text omitted concerned the extension of Lord Galway's term of office as Governor-General, the use of secret cipher, &c.