New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
Main Embarkation, 29–30 May
Main Embarkation, 29–30 May
There was some difficulty with the embarkation authorities on the beaches that night, as they were endeavouring to single out the fighting troops with first priority for evacuation.
The medical parties which had reached the beach, although massed together, had to be identified by Lieutenant-Colonel Twhigg before the beach master would allow them to embark. In the darkness and the confusion among the massed troops some members of the medical units who had strayed, or who did not report to the medical post at the beach, were left behind. A number of NZMC personnel, mostly belonging to 5 Field Ambulance, were embarked on the Glengyle, which took many wounded aboard. Altogether, some 550 wounded were embarked that night. All cases requiring treatment were cared for by the ships' medical staffs and army medical personnel, and officers and men of the Royal Navy excelled themselves in the attention they gave to the wounded.
About six thousand troops were also taken off that night by the naval force comprising, besides the Glengyle, the cruisers Phoebe, Perth, Calcutta, and Coventry and the destroyers Jervis, Janus, and Hasty. The convoy was subjected to several air attacks during 30 May, but all were beaten off, although HMAS Perth received a hit amidships, causing a fire. This, however, did not prevent her page 195 from continuing with the convoy, which reached Alexandria early on the morning of 31 May.
First NZ MDS tent in the desert – 4 NZ Field Ambulance at Baggush, September 1940
Camp Hospital and Medical Depot, Maadi Camp, March 1942
5 Field Ambulance ADS, Servia Pass, April 1941
Helwan Hospital. The New Zealand Base Hospital, July 1940 – November 1945. The new operating theatre is at the right
A ward in the New Zealand Hospital Ship Maunganui
Maadi Camp, September 1941. Principal Matron Miss E. C. Mackay, Matron-in-Chief Miss E. M. Nutsey, Matron Miss M. Hennessy, Matron Miss M. E. Jackson; Lieutenant-Colonel J. F.
21 Battalion RAP truck, Libya, 1941
20 Battalion RAP, Bir el Chleta, Libya, 1941. Captain W. L. M. Gilmour is shown at right, wearing wrist watch
4 ADS near Belhamed, November 1941
2 NZ General Hospital, Garawla, November 1941 – March 1942. The tents are dug in for protection against bombing
6 ADS, Ruweisat Ridge, July 1942
4 MDS at El Mreir, July 1942 – reception ward showing New Zealand and Indian casualties
4 MDS at Alam Halfa, September 1942 – Lieutenant-Colonel G. A. H. Buttle, RAMC, Captain Muir, RAMC (transfusion officers); Lieutenant-Colonel S. L. Wilson, Major T. W. Harrison, Brigadiers P. A. Ardagh, ADMS, Phillips, RAMC, and W. H. Ogilvie, Consultant Surgeon MEF
6 ADS, Alam Halfa, September 1942
Mobile shower unit, 4 NZ Field Hygiene Section, Agedabia, December 1942
During the night of 29–30 May the staffs of 5 and 6 Field Ambulances and 4 Field Hygiene Section set off from Imvros along, the road to the beach, taking with them some more walking wounded. Some forty stretcher cases had to be left behind. An Australian medical officer and two New Zealand and two Australian orderlies remained with them, straws being drawn among the unmarried men to decide who should stay. By daylight on 30 May this marching party was still some miles away from the embarkation beach, having made slow progress during the night. The wounded were treated during the day in caves, which were machine-gunned from the air, and after dark on 30 May the party reached the beach, where an RAP was established for further treatment. On the night of 30–31 May few wounded and no medical staffs were embarked.