On 12 July 1943, 5,239 Kiwi soldiers arrived home after three years fighting in Africa and Crete. They were told they were not required to return after their leave was complete — but this was an error. In 1944, 800 were court-martialled for desertion, in what became known as the 'Ruapehu Affair', a story of state secrets and rebellion which played out in military camps and courts. Featured are interviews with ex-soldiers about the sense of injustice that spurred their actions. Sir Alister McIntosh discusses the tensions inside Labour Prime Minister Peter Fraser's War Cabinet, which were compounded by the 1943 election.
I addressed [Peter] Fraser in the war cabinet, and I told him these various incidences of grade one men in these so-called essential industries that were sitting in New Zealand, living on the best and luxury — that we [soldiers] were deprived of for three years — and we wished to take their place.– A Ruapehu rebellion leader on his secret 1944 meeting with Prime Minister Peter Fraser (34 minutes in)