Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy
Friday was the great day of the week. It was pay day, and after pay came leave. The crowds on the Burnham and Trentham platforms would decry the belated arrival of the train to take them to Christchurch or Wellington. On the return journey there would page 5 be sleepy figures, sprawling figures, not-so-steady figures, rowdy figures, before all bundled out into the cold black night for the nightmare walk from the train to the camp, trying to avoid the mud and puddles, to find their huts and get to bed.
As the period of training ended and the time for departure overseas drew near, final leave was granted. It was a period of seclusion from the unit and the Army and was all too short, though the sad business of family farewells could not be unduly prolonged. Then came farewell parades through the cities of Wellington and Christchurch, followed, a few days later, by the moves to the ports of embarkation. As the men marched to the troopships the crowds cheered and bands played. On board, after the troops had been conducted to their quarters, they swarmed over the deck to every vantage point to watch for friends and relatives in the crowd on the wharf below. Everybody shouted and sang and gave voice to the excitement common to all. Then the cable was slipped. The ship moved away from the wharf. It was a stirring moment when feelings could not be expressed in words. On the land were loved ones; over the horizon lay great adventures.