Journey Towards Christmas
By Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Freyberg, vc, gcmg, kcb, kbe, dso, lld.
This book is a record of their achievements. They were a 1st Echelon unit, and were one of the few of our Division that took part in General Wavell's Desert Campaign against the Italians in 1940. From then on they fought through the whole was [sic: war] and finished up their great service on VE Day near Trieste. In all they were six years overseas, fifty-three months of which were spent in active operations, which included the campaigns in the Western Desert and Italy.
I am inclined to think that the New Zealand Division's greatest contribution to the war effort was during the early years in North Africa.
It has been said that ‘The Western Desert was a tactician's paradise, and a Quartermaster-General's nightmare’. The campaign in North Africa was certainly a war of movement. Mobility and administration played a decisive part. A motorised force was needed. New Zealanders were ideal men for this class of warfare. They found their way across the unmapped, featureless Desert by night as well as day with uncanny skill, almost by instinct.
In this book is the story. It tells us of their formation, their work in training and in battle. It deals not only with our successes but also our disasters, such as Greece. It also tells the story of the men on leave and in the rear areas. It is a record of one of the most efficient and well trained units of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force.page x
When I said good-bye to the Division in Italy I said of the New Zealand Army Service Corps, of which they are a part, that throughout the whole war they had never failed us.
I would go further and say without their resource and skill we could never have attempted ‘the turning movements’ in North Africa at which this Division of ours was so formidable.
I hope many will buy this book and that military students to come will study it, and glean from the pages the lessons which abound therein.
One time General Officer Commanding,