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

393 — The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

The Prime Minister to General Freyberg

16 September 1944

It seems necessary, in view of the return of a proportion of the 4th Reinforcements on Monday, to make a statement on the substitution of the replacement scheme for that of furlough. My statement will probably be along the lines indicated below. Should you desire to make any comments, I would be glad to have them before Tuesday morning, 18 September, at the latest.1

As a result of a further review of the manpower situation and a consideration of the respective roles at present being undertaken by the two New Zealand overseas divisions, War Cabinet have decided that, while the 3rd Division will remain in being for the present in cadre form, a proportion of the personnel of that Division will be drafted to the District Mobilisation Camps in the Districts in which the homes of the men are situated.

1 General Freyberg replied on 17 Sep: ‘I am certain your statement will be read here with general satisfaction.’

page 359

These men, if fit and of the required age and domestic status, will then be liable for inclusion in drafts for the Middle East, where they will replace the longer-service personnel of the 2nd Division.

The men temporarily released to industry earlier in the year will, of course, remain liable for call up for overseas service and, together with Grade A men held on appeal and all others liable for military service, will also be used as replacements for the Middle East Forces.

The policy of replacement will take the place of the furlough scheme in future, and as men become available for sending overseas the various reinforcements will be returned in succession, and also the men of the First Second, and Third Echelons who returned to the Middle East at the conclusion of their furlough. Men so returned to New Zealand under the replacement scheme will be subject to direction into essential industry.

I am grateful for your report on the Division and your appreciation.1 War Cabinet join with me in expressing our great pleasure that your progress is satisfactory.