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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy



The personnel, both officers and other ranks, had been tested under difficult battle conditions and had not been found wanting. page 141 Already they were displaying the resource and initiative that was to be a characteristic of the forward New Zealand medical units throughout the war. The territorial training in peacetime, however slight in some cases it might have been, had proved of value, and the training in the Army itself had been efficient and practical.

The senior officers had handled the strange conditions with skill. The ADSs had been placed under brigade command, thus ensuring close contact with battalions during the rapid movement of the troops during the withdrawal. Extra car posts had been placed along the lines of evacuation, each with a medical officer in charge, and these attended to casualties and collected wounded.

The MDSs had been handled well during the long retreat and attention given to the troops wounded by bombing and machine-gunning from the air.

The detailing of personnel from 1 NZ General Hospital to 26 General Hospital, Athens, for duty and probable capture in Greece as prisoners of war was a matter of some importance and anxiety, there being no authoritative ruling on the question available for the guidance of senior officers. The matter will be further discussed in relation to the Crete campaign, in which it assumed more importance.