Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy
CCS at Presenzano
CCS at Presenzano
At its new Presenzano location, the CCS lost no time in setting up the hospital when it arrived there on 7 February. The site was a large, flat, partly ploughed paddock near a secondary country road. Through this paddock a loop road had been graded and metalled by New Zealand engineers. Along this the various departments were erected in sequence—reception, orderly room, pre-operative ward, the theatres, and then the seven wards. Other departments were sited in convenient relationship to these. The unit had four theatres—its own two and the attached 8 British Field Surgical Unit and 1 NZ General Hospital surgical team. All theatres consisted of two EPIP tents joined together, and were grouped close round the pre-operative ward. Since the Allies had overwhelming air superiority, there was not the need for wide dispersal of the unit at this location. Red Crosses were conspicuously displayed, however.
From the first day the unit was established there was a steady flow of casualties. One of the first patients admitted was an Australian pilot. Wounded in an attack on enemy positions and with his plane damaged, he had had to bale out while returning to his base. The plane crashed not far from the CCS, but the pilot landed safely and was brought in for attention. The front at Cassino was page 343 only fifteen miles away over a good highway, so that casualties were admitted usually within two hours of being wounded. Hence, except for urgent cases, all surgery was performed at the CCS rather than at the MDS. The four theatres, working on an eight-hour roster system, handled this work without any undue strain. Patients were sent twice daily to 2 NZ General Hospital at Caserta, the trip by road taking one and a half to two hours. Head cases were evacuated to a neurosurgical unit attached to 16 American Evacuation Hospital, five miles farther south.
Cassino and Mountain Sector