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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I

152 — General Freyberg (Cairo) to the Minister of Defence

page 113

General Freyberg (Cairo) to the Minister of Defence

22 May 1940

As complete arrangements have been made here for its reception and training, I regret the decision to send the Second Echelon to England. Now that the decision has been made and the Division is to be split, the whole policy of ultimate concentration can be reconsidered in the light of active operations upon the Western Front. There is no hurry for a decision on this matter as Falla and MacCormick will make a complete plan, but no financial commitments, for the Division based upon England. Then we need only implement sufficient for the Second Echelon.

I have done all I can to reduce commitments here consequent upon smaller numbers through the hot months. The hospital at Helwan will now be taken over by British Troops in Egypt and not by us. MacCormick's move necessitates, and I have arranged, Kenrick1 being diverted from Capetown as the medical situation in Cairo needs first-class administration. Arrangements for a convalescent home have been discontinued as it is cheaper to handle individual cases than to launch out upon hiring and equipping a new convalescent home. The bath at Helwan [costing?] £1200 has been finished but I have cancelled the filtration plant. I will endeavour to get the bath taken over by War Department funds.

The changed plans will necessitate sending at once by air a small administration staff to the United Kingdom to make arrangements for the reception, accommodation, and comfort of the Second Echelon, followed by myself and a small training staff. I do not intend to leave here until the last minute and will return as soon as the training of the Second Echelon has progressed sufficiently. There seems to be no alternative to these plans. Cable if you approve.

1 Lieutenant-Colonel (later Brigadier) H. S. Kenrick, CB, CBE, ED, succeeded Brigadier MacCormick first as Assistant Director of Medical Services, 2nd NZEF, and later as Director.