Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy
CHAPTER 19 — CHRISTMAS IN THE LINE
CHRISTMAS IN THE LINE
IT was determined during November that the Fifth and Eighth Armies should exert continuous pressure in an effort to defeat the enemy before the spring, or at least to ensure that no German units would be able to leave the Italian front to assist in the defence of Germany. Accordingly, the rested and reorganised 2 NZ Division moved northwards during the period 22-29 November and relieved 4 British Division in the 5 Corps sector.
Faenza and Senio River Line
Although there had been some advance during November, the general situation at the front was very similar to that prevailing previously. Forli, ten miles above Cesena on Route 9, had been cleared, and Eighth Army had established itself nearly nine miles beyond it facing Faenza on the Lamone River. The Lamone was a perfect example of the type of stream across which the bitterest fighting of 1945 was to take place. It was only 60 to 70 feet wide, but on either side were massive terraced stopbanks of soft earth reaching a height of more than 20 feet. With steeply pitched slopes into which it was easy to tunnel, and about seven feet wide at the top, these stopbanks formed a splendid defensive line. Bologna was now only 30 miles away but seemed as unapproachable as ever.
At the beginning of December the Division faced up to the Lamone River astride Route 9 with 6 Infantry Brigade on the right and 5 Infantry Brigade on the left, each with its respective ADS open near the main road.
In Forli, 5 MDS was open for battle casualties in a former working men's club and 6 MDS for sickness cases in a maternity hospital. Both the MDS and ADS of 4 Field Ambulance were closed and in reserve. 1 Mobile CCS succeeded 5 Field Ambulance as the occupants of a large school building in Forli, to treat battle casualties and evacuate direct to 1 NZ General Hospital by NZ Section MAC as necessary.
On the night of 10-11 December 5 Brigade passed through 46 Division, which had established a bridgehead across the Lamone River to the south-west of Faenza, and was poised to attack towards page 399 Faenza. It was planned that 5 Brigade, with 6 Brigade protecting the right flank, should attack from the bridgehead simultaneously with 10 Indian Division, advance to the Senio River, and isolate Faenza.
The country over which the action took place presented considerable difficulties in the evacuation of casualties. 5 ADS, under Maj R. H. Dawson,1 was in a building on the west side of the Lamone River and south of Faenza. The route of evacuation was along six miles of one-way road, which was extremely rough and deep in mud, and suitable only for vehicles with four-wheel drive. A car post from 4 Field Ambulance, under Capt N. C. Begg,2 was established in a house at the farthest point that could be reached by two-wheel-drive ambulance cars, and the ADS was strengthened by extra jeeps and American Field Service cars.
The building which the ADS had occupied was in direct view of the enemy in Faenza and came in for some shelling before 5 Brigade's attack was launched at 11 p.m. on 14 December. A 40ft by 40ft Red Cross sign was then hung on the north side of the building. Further shelling damaged some of the AFS cars.
When the casualties from the attack began to come in to the ADS at 1 a.m. on 15 December, it was necessary to give them more treatment than was usual at an ADS because of the inevitable delay in getting them back to 5 MDS and 1 Mobile CCS, both of which were in Forli.
When the evacuation route was open for down traffic the patients were sent on to the car post, where they were checked over, resuscitated where necessary, and transferred to two-wheel-drive ambulance cars and taken to Forli when the road was open. Activities at the car post, which handled 116 wounded on 16 December, are described by Capt Begg:
‘The first convoy of wounded came in. They were carried in the Dodges of the American Field Service drivers, who had come over dreadful roads through torrential rain. They were mostly Indians from the sector in the hills on our left. They had had terrible page 400 casualties, and a fair, good-looking English major with both feet mangled by a Schu mine told me he was carried from the field by the last remaining four sepoys of his company. We all worked on these stoical Indians, who were so silent and yet so grateful for any attention. After they had gone we rested a little. As usual in the Eighth Army, it was an international affair. The Indian doctor stood by the fire talking to “Butch”, who was an unmistakable Kiwi. A tall, smooth-faced Texan was helping to reset our table, and chatting to an English orderly. To complete the picture, a Pole, wounded slightly in his seat, was noisily gesticulating as he was carried in, and ineffectually telling people in Italian that he was a Pole and not a German….
‘Each American ambulance carried four stretcher cases and perhaps a couple of sitters. They were often with us, these Yanks, and were old friends of the desert. The first two cases we unloaded from the next convoy were both traumatic amputations of feet. An infantryman, while moving up, had stepped on a Schu mine and blown a foot off. Unhesitatingly, a Yank driver had gone to his assistance. He also lost a foot on a Schu mine. Stretcher-bearers had got them both out of the minefield and they had travelled down together. Both were shocked and wan. The Boss transfused them both, and as they looked at each other across the table, the Yank said, “Blood brothers, huh?” They went on together to Forli….
‘Now rows of Indians and New Zealanders on stretchers lay side by side in the hall, and the sitting wounded had spread into every room. They were methodically examined. Field cards were attached to the clothing of each man, with entries on them telling of wounds and treatments, morphine given and tourniquets applied. Bill and Butch were lighting cigarettes for some; giving hot cocoa, steaming from the cookhouse, to others.
‘So we went on, hour after hour. The fortitude of the patients was enough to make our job worth while. As often as not they smiled and joked with one another, a little relieved that they were not worse off. A jubilant Yank driver pushed back the blackout blanket at the doorway and told us that the Maoris had cut the Via Emilia with a bayonet charge. His eyes were sparkling and he was throwing his arms about excitedly. A quiet Maori voice said, “We're pinned down by the heaviest mortar fire I've ever seen. Lot of wounded waiting for the Doc, and he's been hit, too. We're a long way from the road.” “That'll be the day, when the Ninetieth hold the Maoris up, Hori,” someone said, and the Maori smiled, his perfect white teeth showing up in the dim light.’
On 16 December 5 ADS moved into a building nearer to Faenza and there experienced two busy days. On the evening of the 16th page 401 the enemy was cleared from Faenza and the evacuation route was shortened. Notable work was performed at the ADS during this difficult period by jeep and ambulance car drivers and the medical orderlies, especially in collecting wounded from the RAPs.
4 MDS Opens in Faenza
After the capture of Faenza by the Division on the evening of 16 December, the commanding officer of 4 Field Ambulance (Lt-Col Owen-Johnston3) and RSM (WO I G. C. Smith4) scrambled over a rubble footbridge in the Lamone River, still under occasional bursts of spandau fire, at nine o'clock next morning to choose a site in the town for an MDS. The ADMS 2 NZ Division, Col R. A. Elliott, joined the party, and after inspecting many buildings, they finally selected a bank building near the main square.
Leaving Forli at midday on 17 December, 4 MDS opened that afternoon in Faenza at three o'clock. From the time of opening there was a steady stream of patients, and as for the first few days this MDS was the only one in Faenza, it handled not only New Zealand but also British, Indian, and Italian troops and some Italian civilians. Evacuation channels were to 1 Mobile CCS for New Zealand troops, while British cases went to 5 British CCS and Indian cases to 9 Indian CCS in Forli. Priority was given to ambulance cars on the road, so that patients arrived at the CCS usually within half an hour of leaving the MDS. A Bailey bridge was a big help in this sector.
The building used by the MDS was solidly constructed and offered fair protection from the heavy shelling of the town by the enemy, who during the night of 17-18 December had reached the outskirts of Faenza in a counter-attack. The reception and evacuation departments were both set up in one large room divided by a low partition, and both were within easy access of a large theatre, beside which was a combined resuscitation and pre-operative ward. page 402 During busy periods two tables were conveniently accommodated in the theatre. Separated from these departments by a small courtyard was the hospital cookhouse, near enough to serve meals still hot. The members of the unit were billeted either in the bank building or in nearby houses, which they managed to heat by one means or another.
On 19 December A Company joined HQ Company at the MDS ready for the forthcoming attack. That night at nine o'clock, 6 NZ Infantry Brigade and 43 Gurkha Infantry Brigade launched an attack under a heavy barrage and threw the enemy back to the line of the Senio River. Much ground was taken after heavy fighting and over 200 prisoners captured.
Casualties poured in to 6 ADS, under Maj G. F. Hall,5 thoroughly testing the newly organised company. The next 24 hours were a rush period for the MDS. Between midnight and 8 a.m. 102 battle casualties were admitted. These were all cleared by midday and took from thirty to forty-five minutes to reach the CCS. The total admissions for the day were 142 battle casualties and 26 sickness cases.
On succeeding days there was a steady flow of admissions, the highest totals being reached on Christmas Eve, with 40 battle casualties and 30 sick. A shell hit one of the MDS buildings on 24 December, causing twelve casualties in the street but none to MDS personnel.
6 MDS at Forli
Back in Forli all the rooms and corridors of the 6 MDS building were crammed with a continuously changing crowd of sick. More and more arrived each day to fill the stretchers vacated by those returned to their units or transferred to the CCS or 1 General Hospital.
Dismal and hazy in the rain and fog by day, occasionally bombed and shelled, and completely blacked out at night, Forli seemed a town devoid of hope. The MDS yard was flooded, a Psychological Warfare Branch truck broadcast stentorian bulletins that echoed hollowly across the Piazza Saffi, and the winged figures of the local page 403 war memorial were vague and unrecognisable on top of their lofty column. However, by the time a few repairs had been effected and a selection of stoves had been scrounged from the factory of one Signor Becchi, the maternity hospital building was snug enough. The HQ trucks were parked under the cloisters of the adjacent church of San Mercuriale, a bulldozer having been employed to scoop debris up over the steps of the church to make a negotiable ramp.
The first bombing raid, carried out by a single German fighter-bomber, occurred on the day after the unit's arrival. The bombs fell in the Lamone, near the Bailey bridge, which was probably the target. The aircraft then disappeared into the fog, apparently untouched by the anti-aircraft fire. At the evening meal hour on succeeding days a Spitfire patrolled the sky. Then, on the evening of the 10th, with no Spitfires in sight, three enemy fighter-bombers roared in low over the town. Inside the MDS there was sudden consternation as the building shook to jarring crashes, and shutters smashed in and plaster fell from ceilings. The bombs had fallen nearby, one demolishing a large section of buildings, burying an army truck, and killing many soldiers and civilians. Another struck the church of San Giagio, engulfing families who had moved into the vaults at the previous raid. One women, dug out alive and carried unconscious to the MDS, was holding in her arms a dead two-months'-old baby.
Most of the shelling was confined to the aerodrome end of the town, though a salvo of shells landed around the MDS one night, bringing down showers of glass and more plaster. A building across the square went up in flames and burned well into the morning, section after section of the roof crashing in. scattering burning fragments and sparks, while the steeple of San Mercuriale stood limned in red against the black sky.
CCS in Forli
In the school building in Forli, too, the CCS, under Lt-Col A. G. Clark, was set up in more comfortable conditions than it had ever enjoyed before. In fact, with the wards neatly arranged and all the departments functioning in a routine manner, the unit had all the aspects of a base hospital rather than a forward one. By good page 404 fortune the central-heating system was intact, though some adjustments were necessary at first. The large boilers in the basement were kept stoked continuously and, besides keeping the whole interior of the building warm, provided an ample supply of hot water to the modern shower-room. Another great feature of the school was that it was connected to the town water supply.
The staff was well quartered, too. A villa across the road was reserved for the nursing sisters, under Charge Sister Gilfillan,6 and another large one nearby accommodated the officers. All other personnel lived in a five-story block of modern flats farther along the road. Most of the former inhabitants of these flats had either evacuated or been forcibly ejected by the Germans, but a few families remained. In many ways, such as doing washing and mending, these Italian people helped many of the staff, and strong friendships developed as the weeks went by.
On 14 and 19 December the casualties from the Division's two main attacks resulted in peak periods of work at the CCS. Because of the muddy country roads, the wounded from the first attack were many hours reaching Forli. Later, however, when Faenza was occupied, ambulances were able to come direct down the main highway. There were two surgical teams attached to the unit at this time, but as so many of the casualties were serious ones requiring urgent attention, a number of them were sent on to less busy British medical units. Evacuation from Forli presented no problems since the 75-mile journey to 1 NZ General Hospital at Senigallia was over good roads.
At the CCS, as in other units, Christmas was spent in a merry manner. Again the cooks went to a great deal of trouble. The patients were not forgotten; all received Patriotic and Red Cross parcels, and there was plenty of beer for those who were well enough. The staff, too, had a Christmas beer ration, but if this was not of the desired quantity it was well supplemented by other more potent beverages. At Forli it was really a white Christmas, for three inches of snow fell on 23 December. It was not unexpected page 405 as the weather during the month had become more severe, and conditions in the open were most unpleasant.
A wedding at 3 NZ General Hospital, Bari (l. to r.) Lt T. I. McCluggage, Sister E. M. Baillie, Lt J. W. G. Wilson (bridegroom), Sister D. J. H. Hards (bride), Capt W. T. Simmers, and Sister A. M. Goldsmith
At Senigallia snow had also fallen, but by Christmas Day it had melted and there was only an aftermath of mud and slush. A choir of mixed voices was formed from the staff of 1 General Hospital and HQ 2 NZEF in Senigallia, to provide Christmas music at church services and in the gaily decorated wards of the hospital. On Boxing Night the Kiwi Concert Party was back again to provide entertainment, and the following day a double wedding took place in the unit chapel.
Scarcely a month passed but there were one or more weddings among the sisters and nurses of the unit. Many of the bridegrooms were New Zealanders, and sometimes came from within the unit, but a number were from other Allied forces. These occasions were pleasurable and exciting, especially for the female staff. Short notice was often the order of things. On one occasion at this time it was announced at 7 p.m. one day that a charge sister was to be married at 11 a.m. next day. Yet a turkey, a great variety of savouries, and a lovely wedding cake graced the wedding luncheon. The behind-the-scene story revealed that cooking and fudge-making (from Army biscuits) had gone on far into the night; that the contents of parcels from home had been pooled and the best cake donated for the wedding cake. A walk in the country had produced red berries and great boughs of autumn-tinted foliage for decorations. The one thing lacking was the icing for the cake. This lack, however, was ingeniously overcome by adorning the cake with a thick coat of pale-pink chrysanthemum petals and girding it with fancy paper.
Another Year Begins
The New Year was ushered in with the ringing of bells. Across the Senio the enemy, too, fired off flares and rang church bells, and then settled down to a solid strafing of our forward defences.
January brought few changes. The Division was operating in a purely defensive role while the enemy consolidated along the Senio River. The month was cold, with rain and several heavy falls of snow. As no attacks were made, casualties were light, coming from patrol clashes, harassing fire, and mines.page 406
For the most part the front was quiet under the fog that lay heavily over the plains. At times, however, the enemy lashed out at occupied houses and other buildings with self-propelled guns from the area of Felisio to the north. Then the muzzle-flashes of the New Zealand artillery flickered through the fields and vineyards as the infantry called for concentrations on the enemy guns.
January in Forli
In spite of the intense cold and the falls of snow, the central heating of the 6 MDS building ensured continuous warmth. Unfortunately the fuel supply grew short, and though two of the unit's 3-ton trucks made trips along the Canale Naviglio to collect wood from trees felled across the roads by the Germans, a diesel oil-drip system had to be installed; from then on the heat was enjoyed at the price of an atmosphere thick with flakes of soot and the unenjoyable task of cleaning out the flues every four hours.
Ample entertainment, provided by concert parties and cinemas, was available for the troops in Forli. An ambitious soldiers' club, the Dorchester, occupying a complete wing of the imposing building of the Regia Academica Aeronautica, was open all day with its billiard room, writing rooms, and two restaurants, each with its own orchestras and singers and well staffed with waiters and waitresses, and, more important, each serving beer with meals.
Additional leave was made available by the opening of the New Zealand Forces Club in Rome to other ranks for six-day leave periods. Parties also visited Rocca del Camminate, Mussolini's summer residence high in the hills, overlooking Predappio, the village in which he was born. The villa, with its plaques and colonnades, had been fashioned into something of a shrine for good Fascists. It had once possessed a coveted visitors' book but, inevitably, this had been souvenired long before. Predappio was occupied by Poles, and any atmosphere of reverence had completely vanished. Rocca del Camminate was quite a modern building, and a plaque explained that it was a gift from the Italian people to Mussolini. There was plenty of evidence that Allied gunners had also bestowed their gifts. The main room was deep in photographs of Mussolini's prize fertile families, of throngs gathered to meet him at various cities, of detachments of Fascist movements, of early Fascist brigades, of brigades burning books, and, mostly, of page 407 Mussolini himself, reviewing, opening, orating, posing, writing, working, playing, in uniform and out of uniform, in yachting clothes, working clothes and overalls.
A great yellow fasces decorated one wing of the villa, and a lighthouse and tower crowned it all. The tower head was strewn with the heavy, broken glass of the lantern which had once announced the presence of the family by throwing a revolving red, white, and green light across the valleys and hills of Romagna. It was claimed to have been visible at a distance of 25 miles.
Evacuation of Patients to Hospital Ship
On 19 January 1945 the hospital ship Maunganui, with Lt-Col F. O. Bennett7 in charge, and Matron G. L. Thwaites,8 reached Taranto on her fourteenth voyage, and in the afternoon disembarked over 200 Yugoslav patients who had been brought from Port Tewfik. Then, in five hours, the medical staff prepared the wards for the reception next day of 318 New Zealand and five Australian patients from 3 General Hospital at Bari and the Convalescent Depot at San Spirito. This work involved the stripping of all beds, washing down walls and bed frames with disinfectant, remaking beds, and restocking all ward supplies.
‘It is not yet dawn. No gleam of approaching day brightens the eastern sky, but from the hospital itself fingers of light stretch out into the mist of a winter's morning. At this hour all should be quiet and still, but today white-clad figures are hurrying to and fro, and an air of scarcely suppressed excitement prevails. This is a day of days—for men are going home.
‘Already in a nearby port, a trim white ship, bearing the Red Cross emblem, is tied up at a wharf in readiness to receive its complement of patients.page 408
‘For weeks there has been speculation among staff and patients as to the name of the ship, the probable date of departure, who will go and who will stay, and now the great day has come. Nurses and orderlies are busily preparing for the evacuation. Men must be washed, fed, dressed. Stretcher-bearers in organised teams are allotted their duties in the various wards. Already a long line of ambulances is on its way to the hospital; the moment of departure is very near.
‘Behind these last-minutes scenes of concentrated effort are many hours of toil on the part of the whole staff (and of the office of the Director of Medical Services, too). Apart from the care of the sick and wounded, much routine work has been necessary. Medical boards have considered each case, typists have prepared the numerous forms required, clerks have worked long hours in checking documents and preparing rolls, the dental staff have given each man any dental attention needed, while the Quartermaster's department has completely re-equipped each soldier.
‘And now they are on the move. Last goodbyes are said, and though not many words are spoken, hand meets hand as men who have forged ties of friendship amid the heat of battle are now separated for a time. Already the medical officers, sisters, nurses, orderlies, and others who have ministered to the needs of the departing patients will have bidden them a quiet farewell.
‘The patients make a grim procession—some on stretchers, some on crutches, some minus a limb or an eye, others showing the ravages of diseases not known in their native country. Yet their bearing reveals no fear for the future. Rapidly the waiting ambulances are filled, the Padre is busy giving out cigarettes, sweets, and Red Cross comforts for the journey to the ship. Those who go and those who stay wave cheerily as the convoy moves slowly on its way. For the staff another evacuation to hospital ship is completed, and they turn back to their normal duties again.’
For some months two members of the NZ WAAC had been attached to 1 Mobile CCS for duty. This the nurses considered a compliment to their ability and usefulness as they had previously discounted their chances of being posted to that unit. One was a stenographer, who proved her worth battling with case histories and medical records during the busy periods, and the other was employed in the sisters' mess to make the life of the sisters easier and to relieve them during peak hours of work. The nurses moved with the CCS from Presenzano to Frosinone, Siena, Viserba, and Forli, page 409 arriving in the latter town when the enemy was not many miles up the road.
In Italy the status of the members of the WAAC was changed so that within 2 NZEF they had all the privileges of an officer as regards travelling, accommodation, and the use of clubs. The change was made purely to avoid embarrassment to the women, and they were gratified.
Feminine influence in hospital life became prominent at 3 General Hospital when Tripoli Lounge was run by a sister and two nurses. Although the Polyclinic buildings at Bari, with their pale-blue cool interiors, were ideally suited for the bed-patients, there was little else than the monotony of the wards to fill the days of the up-patients. There was no handy beach as at Senigallia, or green countryside as at Caserta, only the grey dust and the dry heat of the compound, with no patch of green grass or even a shady tree. At the beginning of 1945 a ward was converted into a lounge and suitably furnished, provided with games equipment, and decorated with palms and flowers. Here morning and afternoon teas and suppers were served in glass cups and saucers to as many as 250 patients at a sitting.
Several nurses also worked in the hospital and welfare centres of the Convalescent Depot at San Spirito.
In Italy the locations of the Convalescent Depot, under Lt-Col Noakes, were Casamassima, near Advanced Base, San Spirito, on the coast near Bari, and then Senigallia, on the coast in Northern Italy near 1 General Hospital. The San Spirito site was the best of them, and a detachment, under Majors G. B. Palmer and A. L. Bryant,10 remained here till the end receiving patients from 3 General Hospital.
The location at San Spirito was within a few hundred yards of the Adriatic, and the camp spread over nearly 30 acres of fairly level ground covered with olive and almond trees. It was orchard country typical of Southern Italy. The convalescents had the use of a dinghy and a 20-ton cutter.page 410
The administrative section, including reception hospital, massage and dental departments, was housed in a large building which was formerly an Italian's summer residence. Tents, each containing eight hospital beds, provided most of the accommodation, while mess rooms and recreation centres were in huts.
In January and February there were many farewells in the hospitals as further staff left for New Zealand. On the Tongariro roll were many officers, sisters, nurses and men, including the CO and Matron of 1 General Hospital, Col Fisher and Miss Worn, whose commands were taken over by Col Radcliffe and Miss Chisholm, a previous Matron returned from furlough. This was but the start of a succession of staff changes during 1945 as early reinforcements left in turn. In the field medical units, too, the departure of the remainder of the Tongariro draft in February meant the loss of senior NCOs and the men with the greatest experience. But there were many men with long service in their units, and they proved their capabilities on promotion. Reinforcements received later in the month brought the units up to strength again.
Arrival of Reinforcements
Regularly every few months, except during 1942 when Japan's threat to the South Pacific caused troops to be held in New Zealand, a new group of NZMC personnel had arrived in Egypt. The sisters and nurses went direct to the hospitals, while the medical officers, NCOs, and men went to Maadi Camp. At Maadi they usually remained long enough to get acclimatised, with spells in the ‘bull-ring’ and on route marches. They were then sent across the Mediterranean to Advanced Base in Italy, and from there were posted to medical units. Despite a certain amount of scepticism by the older hands, they proved themselves capable and ready to learn. Some of the reinforcements from 1944 onwards had had service with 3 Division medical units in the Pacific.
2 Maj N. C. Begg, m.i.d.; born Dunedin, 13 Apr 1916; Medical Practitioner, Dunedin; Medical Officer 2 Gen Hosp Jan-Oct 1943; OC 102 Mob VD Treatment Centre Oct 1943-Jul 1944; RMO 25 and 21 Bns 1944; 5 Fd Amb Mar-May 1945; Repatriation Hospital (UK) Jun-Dec 1945.
3 Lt-Col A. W. Owen-Johnston, ED; born Christchurch, 30 May 1892: Surgeon, Invercargill; 1 NZEF 1916-19, France and England—4 Fd Amb, 1 Fd Amb, 3 Gen Hosp; Surgeon 2 Gen Hosp Aug 1943-May 1944; 2 i/c 6 Fd Amb May-Dec 1944; CO 4 Fd Amb Dec 1944-Aug 1945; CO 1 Mob CCS Aug-Oct 1945; CO 2 Gen Hosp Nov 1945.
4 WO I G. C. Smith, m.i.d.; born Christchurch, 11 Jun 1912; salesman, Invercargill; NCO 7 Fd Amb (Fiji) Oct 1940; 5 Fd Amb Aug-Nov 1941; p.w. Nov 1941; repatriated Apr 1943, then joined 4 Fd Amb; RSM 4 Fd Amb Nov 1944-1945.
5 Maj G. F. Hall, m.i.d.; born Dunedin. 19 Jan 1914; House Surgeon, Dunedin Hospital; Medical Officer Maadi Camp Feb-Apr 1942, Dec 1942-Jun 1943; 4 Fd Amb Jun-Dec 1943; RMO 5 Fd Regt Dec 1943-Dec 1944; 6 Fd Amb Dec 1944-Oct 1945.
7 Lt-Col F. O. Bennett, OBE; born Christchurch, 19 Feb 1899; Physician, Christchurch; 1 NZEF, Private NZMC 1918-19; Medical Officer 3 Fd Amb (NZ) Sep 1942-Jul 1943; 2 i/c 22 Fd Amb (Pacific) Aug 1943-Jan 1944; CO 2 Conv Depot Jan-Jul 1944; SMO Papakura Camp Sep-Dec 1944; OC Troops HS Maunganui Dec 1944-Nov 1945.
8 Matron Miss G. L. Thwaites, RRC; born NZ, 23 Jun 1899; Sister New Plymouth Hospital; Matron Military Hospital (Suva) Nov 1940-Aug 1941; Waiouru Camp Hosp 1942; Trentham Camp Hosp 1943; HS Maunganui Dec 1944-Mar 1946.