Timeline showing key events of the Second World War, particularly New Zealand's involvement in North Africa.
5 January: First Echelon, Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF) embarks for the Middle East.
7 January: First Echelon, 2NZEF, advance party arrives Port Said, Egypt.
12 January: Second Echelon, 2NZEF, begins training.
28 January: 28th (Maori) Battalion assembles in Palmerston North.
12 February: First Echelon, 2NZEF, main body arrives at Maadi Camp, Egypt.
10 June: Italy declares war on Great Britain and France; Canada declares war on Italy.
11 June: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa declare war on Italy.
11-12 June: First air raids on Italy. East Africa campaign begins.
4 August: Italians invade British Somaliland.
27 August: Third Echelon, 2NZEF, embarks for the Middle East.
13 September: Italians invade Egypt; Private G. R. Osbourne, 4th Reserve Motor Transport Company, becames first member of 2NZEF killed as a result of enemy action; Headquarters New Zealand Division (HQ NZ Division) moves to Baggush in the Western Desert.
29 September: HQ NZ Division returns to Maadi Camp; Third Echelon 2NZEF arrives in Egypt.
28 October: Italy invades Greece.
9 December: The first Western Desert offensive begins. This involves some New Zealand support troops.
16 December: British offensive opens in Italian East Africa; Egypt cleared of Italian forces.
22 January: Tobruk in Libya falls to British and Australian troops.
7 February: Benghazi captured by British.
12 February: German forces under General Erwin Rommel arrive in Tripoli.
17 February: Instructions issued to military commanders for a Greek expedition.
3 March: Bulk of 2NZEF now in the Middle East; Kiwi Concert Party formed.
6-7 March: British troops, including most of 2nd New Zealand Division, enter Greece.
24 March: Rommel captures El Agheila in Libya with little resistance.
30 March: Enemy counter offensive in the Western Desert. German armour and Italian infantry advance.
3 April: British evacuate Benghazi.
6 April: Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece. New Zealand Division withdraws along eastern seaboard.
10 April: Australians forced to withdraw to Tobruk.