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

162 — Letter from General Freyberg to Brigadier R. Miles — [Extract]

Letter from General Freyberg to Brigadier R. Miles

6 June 1940

My Dear Miles,

Many thanks for your personal and secret letter of 30 May….1 You will, of course, have been in touch with page 120 Falla and will know what we feel here and what the Government in New Zealand feel about dispersal and going to the training area in the Eastern Command. First and foremost we are, in my opinion, a division training for war. We should not let anything interfere with that, and we should resist to the utmost any effort that may be made to turn us into garrison troops for England. Secondly, I may be quite wrong, but I cannot believe that Hitler or the Germans intend to attempt an invasion of England. If they do it would be an excellent thing for the Allies. In any case we have rightly decided to concentrate in the Southern Command. It is an ideal area from our point of view. We shall have a show of our own in most delightful surroundings, and the troops, I am sure, will love the country and the town.

With regard to the points you raise about operational command, I am in entire agreement with you. Had I realised the situation I should have sent you fully prepared. You will take command of the troops, and I think you should establish Headquarters which can function in the event of their using the Second Echelon as a striking force, but I strongly urge you to resist any attempt at dispersion. The force should be used as a force. I am sending to you orders in writing, and I am sending to Hargest and you notes on training. Both Stewart and I hope to be Home before very long, but in common with others we want to see this Italian situation cleared up one way or the other. There are one or two interesting developments which I cannot put on paper. However, all appears to be going well.

Yours sincerely,

B. C. Freyberg

1 Brigadier Miles's letter is not published. In it the dispersal of the force in the United Kingdom and the question of command were discussed. A personal message from General Freyberg has been omitted from this letter.