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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

1 NZ Camp Hospital

1 NZ Camp Hospital

It became obvious in September, after the departure of 4 Field Ambulance from Maadi, that a base camp hospital with its own war establishment was necessary. Since its arrival in February 1940, 4 Field Ambulance had run an infectious and contagious disease hospital in Maadi Camp. The opening of a general hospital at Helwan did not make the camp hospital redundant. Owing to the close proximity of the wards at Helwan no part of the hospital was suitable for venereal disease patients, nor could the lesser infectious diseases such as measles and mumps be conveniently treated there. It was thought that the camp hospital might be administered as part of 2 NZ General Hospital, but the distance of 17 miles, shortage of staff, and other difficulties made this solution impracticable. (Sixth Field Ambulance might have been able to staff the hospital temporarily, but the unit did not arrive with the main body of the Third Echelon at the beginning of October, having been disembarked at Bombay, and eventually reached Maadi on 27 October. In any case, this course would not have left the unit free to perform its proper function and undergo a full course of training.)

The 1st NZ Camp Hospital was therefore formed as a unit of 2 NZEF on 25 October 1940, with Captain Cottrell1 as officer commanding and medical officer for the infectious diseases section, and Lieutenant Platts2 medical officer for the venereal disease section. The establishment provided for a staff of 3 sergeants and 25 medical orderlies.

1 Col J. D. Cottrell, OBE; England; born England, 26 Oct 1903; medical practitioner; medical officer 5 Fd Amb, 28 (Maori) Bn, 4 Gen Hosp, Jan 1940–Jan 1941; DADMS 2 NZEF Jan–Aug 1941; in charge medical division 2 Gen Hosp, Aug–Dec 1941; SMO Maadi Camp Jan–Mar 1942; in charge medical division 3 Gen Hosp, Mar 1942–Mar 1945; Consultant Physician 2 NZEF, Mar–May 1945.

2 Maj W. M. Platts; Christchurch; born Port Chalmers, 6 Nov 1909; medical practitioner; Officer i/c VD Sec Maadi Camp Hosp; OC Maadi Camp Hosp 1941–Jun 1942; 6 Fd Amb Jul 1942; 4 Fd Amb Aug 1942–May 1944; wounded 15 Apr 1943.