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

159 — General Freyberg to the Chief of the General Staff (Wellington)

page 123

General Freyberg to the Chief of the General Staff (Wellington)

17 August 1942

Many thanks for your cable.1 Your congratulations to the Division have been published as a special order and I am showing the secret part to senior officers. The steady progress in equipment and organisation and the proposed offensive role are good news. I realise your difficulties with different medical categories and age groups. I feel sure that Barrowclough will do the proposed job admirably.

The position here is uncertain. Sweeping changes of command2 were needed to bring fresh minds to bear on old problems of desert righting. The next few weeks will be difficult.

The help you are giving us is greatly appreciated. The decision to reinforce the 2nd NZEF was received with great satisfaction also in official quarters in the Middle East and War Office.

1 Not published. See Volume III, Defence of New Zealand. In this telegram, dated 11 Aug, General Puttick reviewed the progress made in building up the Dominion's Home Defence forces. He stated that preparations were being made, subject to Government approval, to despatch the 3rd Division, under the command of Major-General Barrowclough, for an offensive role in the Pacific. Reinforcements for the 2nd Division were also being assembled.

2 On 15 Aug General Sir Harold Alexander had succeeded General Auchinleck as Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, and on 13 Aug Lieutenant-General B. L. Montgomery had succeeded General Auchinleck as GOC 8th Army. While Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, General Auchinleck had also commanded 8th Army from 25 Jun 1942.