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War Surgery and Medicine

Captured Towns

Captured Towns

The occupation of towns by advancing troops called for an immediate check on the condition of their sanitation. For the New Zealand troops the first notable occasion was in Tripoli in January 1943, when the Division was in the vanguard of the Eighth Army. The Field Hygiene Section was called upon to check the water supply and sewerage system which had been damaged by bombing, to inspect restaurants, barbers' shops and billets, and arrange for the examination of prostitutes and the control of venereal disease.

Similar checks in civilian sanitation and the adoption of control measures became a regular feature of hygiene duties during the operations in Italy. Down-draught stoves were developed by the Hygiene Company to enable troops in buildings to keep warm during the Italian winter.

The diversified functions which the hygiene units were called upon to perform led to an increase in the number and standing of their personnel and in the amount of their equipment. As specialist units they promoted good sanitation, but in the long run a high standard of sanitation depends on the education and co-operation of the individual soldier.