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The New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War 1914-1918

The Main Body

The Main Body.

The New Zealand Government's offer of an Expeditionary Force for service overseas was accepted on August 12th 1914. Preliminary arrangements were made as early as July 30th for the preparation I of such a force as had already been agreed upon by the Army Council in 1913. The composition of the force, afterwards called the "Main Body,"—to distinguish it from the Samoan Expedition the "Advance Party"—was as follows:—


  • 1 Mounted Brigade of 3 Regiments N.Z.M.R., and 1 independent Regiment N.Z.M.R. 1 Field Troop; 1 Signal Troop; 1 Mounted Brigade Field
  • Ambulance. 1 Brigade Field Artillery with Ammunition Column. 1 Infantry Brigade of 4 Battalions. 2page 18
  • 3 Sections, Signal Company, with a Division.
  • 1 Company Divisional Train.
  • 1 Field Ambulance with Dental Surgeons attached.
  • Veterinary details, Army Pay and Base Depot.

Preliminary notices were despatched, confidentially, to officers commanding districts explaining the system under which volunteers would be accepted, the quota to be furnished by each district, and the conditions of service. Volunteers were to be territorials or men with previous war experience between the ages of 25 and 35 years; the duration of service abroad: the duration of the war, and for so long after as might be required for repatriation. The medical examinations by N.Z.M.C. officers were to be carried out locally at Regimental Headquarters so as to secure decentralisation.

On the 7th August, 1914, the New Zealand Government cabled to the British authorities offering the service of an Expeditionary Force which was accepted on the 12th, when steps were immediately taken to mobilise and concentrate the quotas at the four centres so that embarkation could take place on the 28th August. The establishment of the Expeditionary Force provided for a Headquarters somewhat similar to that of a division, which included a G.O.C., with an Assistant Military Secretary and one aide-de-camp; a general staff officer, 2nd grade, with one officer attached; an A.A.G., a D.A.A.G.; an A.Q.M.G. and D.A.Q.M.G.; an A.D.M.S. and a D.A.D.M.S. Major-General Godley, C.B., I.G.S., was appointed G.O.C.

Col. W. T. Will, V.D., N.Z.M.C., then D.M.S. was appointed A.D.M.S.; Lt.-Col. P. C. Fenwick, P.M.O., Christchurch, was his D.A.D.M.S. The Field Ambulance was under the command of Lt.-Col. C. M. Begg, N.Z.M.C, P.M.O., Wellington District, and the Mounted Field Ambulance was commanded by Lt.-Col. Chas. E. Thomas, V.D., N.Z.M.C. The total complement of medical personnel provided was as follows:—At Headquarters, 2 officers, 7 O.R. Mounted Rifle Brigade: 3 officers, R.M.O.S.; 4 N.Z.M.C. per regiment for water duties 12 O.R. in all. One Independent Mounted Rifle Regiment: 1 officer; 4 O.R. The Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance: 8 officers, including two supernumeraries, and 76 N.C.O.'s and O.R. The Field Artillery Brigade: 1 officer; 4 O.R., N.Z.M.C. The Infantry Brigade: 8 officers, one senior officer and one junior officer to each battalion, with 5 N.Z.M.C. for water duties per battalion: making 20 O.R. in all. The Divisional Signal Company and the Field Troop each had 2 N.Z.M.C. attached for water duties. The Field Ambulance had 13 officers—3 supernumerary lieutenants N.Z.M.C.—and 182 N.C.O's and O.R., N.Z.M.C. One officer as page 19X-Ray expert: Hon. Lieut. Col. Batchelor, N.Z.M.C. was attached; and one junior officer detailed as medical officer to Divisional troops. Ten dental surgeons with the rank of Lieutenant N.Z.M.C. were appointed. Making, in all, a grand total of 48 officers and 328 other ranks, N.Z.M.C.

The personnel was assembled in groups at each Military District. "A" section of the Field Ambulance was enlisted from details of the 4th Wellington Territorial Field Ambulance; "B" section from the Auckland No. 1 Field Ambulance; and "C" section at Dunedin from the 2nd Field Ambulance and O.T.C. of the Medical School. The Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance was recruited in Christchurch, Headquarters of the No. 6 Mounted and the 3rd Field Ambulances. The N.C.O.'s and other ranks were almost exclusively volunteers from the Territorial Force. The officers were, in the case of the senior ranks, all volunteer officers with long service; some of them had seen active service in the South African war, all had undergone territorial training. There was no cadre of regular officers and N.C.O.'s as in the combatant formations, only one of the N.Z.P.S., the late Captain Quartermaster Sandham, M.C., N.Z.M.C., who had been instructor to medical units in the Wellington District was attached as Sergeant-Major to the Main Body Field Ambulance so that the Medical Service was exclusively territorial and comprised many of the best trained and most efficient N.Z.M.C. officers in New Zealand. The Field Ambulances were concentrated at an early date, the Mounted Unit at Awapuni Race Course near Palmerston North, which afterwards became the N.Z.M.C. Depot for New Zealand, and the Field Ambulance at Epsom near Auckland. The equipment supplied consisted of 1898 pattern panniers. The ambulance waggons were a light pattern of local construction. The G.S. waggons, also of local manufacture, were country waggons bought at the time of mobilization.

Ten transports, the only ships available in New Zealand waters at the time, were chartered by the New Zealand Government and converted into troopships, and before the transports were taken over each was surveyed by a board of officers, including a medical officer, who made recommendations as to the necessary alterations. The troopships differed somewhat from the usual type of British Indian transports: hammocks could not be provided, owing to there being so few in New Zealand, so that tiers of bunks fitted with straw mattresses were erected in the holds; the sanitary appliances were satisfactory, there was one bath per 50 men. No alcoholic liquors except those in charge of the medical officers were allowed on any transport, but dry canteens were established by the New page 20Zealand Government on each ship. The allowance of fresh water was limited to three gallons per man per diem, as horses were carried on all the transports—over 300 per ship.

It was anticipated that embarkation would take place at the end of August, but owing to naval considerations it was postponed until the 24th September. After embarkation of troops and horses further instructions were received to delay sailing for some weeks, and the Force did not ultimately take its departure until the 16th October. The postponement gave valuable time for further equipping the Force and was made full use of by the Field Medical Units in instructing and training their men.

The Field Ambulance eventually embarked, less details and horses, in No. 8 Transport, the Star of India, the Mounted Field Ambulance in No. 3 Transport, Maunganui, with their horses and transport. A detail of Medical Staff and one Dental Surgeon was posted to each of the other transports. The total strength of the Expeditionary Force embarked was 360 officers, 8067 O.R., 3,815 horses. Of the officers and men 6,241 were New Zealand born roughly 75 per cent. of the Force. All the transports had rendezvous at Wellington and under escort of H.M.S. Minotaur, H.I.J.M.S. Ibuki, and H.M.S. Philomel, the convoy weighed anchor at 6 a.m. on the 16th October, reaching Hobart on Trafalgar Day where the troops were put ashore for exercise in the morning. The ultimate destination, as far as was then known, was Bulford Camp on Salisbury Plain where already a contingent of New Zealanders, then domiciled in or visiting England, were mustering; while a certain number of New Zealand medical officers were already serving with the B.E.F. in France.

On board the New Zealand transports there was little sickness of importance. Inoculations with typhoid vaccine were completed and vaccination proceeded with—only three men refused inoculation, they were returned to New Zealand later. Measles of a mild type was the prevailing disease in the various transports up to the date of arrival at Albany, Western Australia. Opportunity was found here for exercising the troops both ashore and in the handling of the ship's boats. A few sick were disembarked on the 1st November. The Australian warships Sydney and Melbourne joined the escort and the convoy resumed its journey. Three casualties in the N.Z.M.C. were reported on the voyage to Colombo: during the "Neptune" celebrations on board the Arawa, Lieut. Ernest John Herbert Webb, N.Z.M.C. sustained a fracture dislocation of the cervical vertebrae in diving into a sail bath; he was admitted to hospital in Colombo where a laminectomy was performed, but he page 21died on the 18th November. A short memorial service was held in each of the transports in memory of this young officer who had been much of a favourite with all ranks during the voyage. Two N.Z.M.C. privates died of disease and were buried at sea. So it was that the N.Z.M.C. was the first unit of the Main Body to make sacrifice of lives in the great cause. No further deaths occurred during the voyage, the health of the troops, with the exception of the limited outbreak of measles, was good. As was inevitable during a seven weeks voyage, several major operations were performed by officers of the Medical Corps: on one occasion the Maunganui hauled out of line and steamed head to swell to allow of an acute abdominal emergency to be operated on with the least possible movement of the ship; the patient, a member of the N.Z.M.C. made a good recovery, the operator was Lt.-Col. B. C. Thomas, V.D., of the Mounted Field Ambulance; his last formal operation probably, as he was killed in Gallipoli some nine months later.

Disembarkation took place at Alexandria on the 3rd December and following days; the sick were transferred to Ras-el-Tin hospital. Some inconvenience was caused to the Field Ambulance owing to the fact that their horses were not on the same transport as the men and waggons. The O.C. Field Ambulance comments in his diary as follows:—"the practice of sending the unit horses and transport by another boat has not proved satisfactory; as a result the ambulance had to encamp without tents or cooking appliances." The General Staff diary comments on this matter by stating that the principle of separating the mounted men as little as possible from their horses was observed in New, Zealand. The principle should, for many good reasons, apply to mobile medical units, which should be embarked with their horses and transport in the same vessel so as to disembark ready for immediate action as to sick or wounded if required.

It was now decided that the New Zealand Contingent should remain in Egypt as part of the Imperial Force in garrison there and should form the nucleus of a New Zealand Division. For the purpose of increasing the establishment the First Australian Light Horse Brigade with its Field Ambulance and the Ceylon Planters Company were attached. A camp for the Division was formed near Cairo on the edge of the desert astride the Heliopolis-Suez road which ran east and west through the camp. The New Zealand Field Ambulance established a receiving station for 200 sick in the lines, and the whole of the Abasseyeh hospital was set apart for the use of the New Zealand troops; the sick from Ras-el-Tin were transferred to this hospital, New Zealand Medical Corps details page 22were posted there from the field ambulances, but at this moment the nursing staff consisted of Australian ladies, members of the Australian Branch Q.U.A.I.M.N.S., of whose service there is much praise in the diaries.

Training of medical units in sectional, company, and brigade operations commenced on the 14th December and went on uninterruptedly until February. The sanitary and preventive measures adopted in the Heliopolis camp conformed with those in use in Egypt. Units were allowed to dispose of kitchen refuse to contractors; the conservancy was maintained by civilian labourers; the latrines were of the open pan type; a water supply was laid on. As regards preventive measures, T.V. inoculations were completed, without many dissentients protesting—those that did, some 35, were repatriated to New Zealand by returning ships. Venereal disease prevention was aimed at by ordering a weekly inspection of officers and men, and the repatriation of all those found to be suffering from syphilis. On the 22nd December the Field Ambulances of the Division, two New Zealand and one Australian, were inspected in the morning by Col. Manders, R.A.M.C., A.D.M.S. in Egypt, and in the afternoon, by Lt.-General Birdwood, C.B., C.S.I., C.I.E., D.S.O., of the Indian Army, now commanding the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. All the ambulances took part in the spectacular march of troops through Cairo on the 23rd, which inaugurated the establishment of the British Protectorate in Egypt.

The end of the year saw the death of another N.Z.M.C. officer, Captain James Alexander Bell, of the Mounted Field Ambulance, who died at Abasseyeh hospital from cerebral haemorrhage on the 29th. His funeral was attended by representatives of every unit in or about Cairo, and both the G.O.C., Egypt, and General Birdwood were represented, the latter in person. The total wastage from deaths and sickness to the end of the year 1914 was: deaths 6; invalided to New Zealand 17.

Voluntary Aid Societies were now very active in assisting the New Zealand forces. There was not at this time in New Zealand, any provision made for co-ordinating the work of the many "Patriotic" and Voluntary Aid Societies formed in all parts of New Zealand at the outbreak of war, but in the general enthusiasm many offers of gifts, money and services were made from all parts of the Dominion. Quite early in August the "New Zealand War Contingent Association" formed under the auspices of Lord Plunket in London had initiated its benevolent and fruitful work. Other Societies in New Zealand—the Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance Association the Y.M.C.A., and the Salvation Army—contributed page 23gifts, money and personnel for the service of the sick and wounded. Early in October the question of motor ambulance transport for the New Zealand Field Ambulances was under consideration; the Dominion Government acting on the recommendations of the High Commissioner in London, Sir Thomas McKenzie, ordered 14 motor ambulances from England at a cost of £7,000, to be shipped to Egypt on completion. Of these motor ambulances, the "Hawkes Bay" fund, initiated by the local branch of the British Medical Association at Napier, paid for 7; and, in all, 10 ambulances were contributed either by generous individuals or from patriotic funds. Prior to embarkation, certain substantial sums were handed to the officers commanding ambulances for the purpose of contributing to the comfort of sick and wounded, and the British Red Cross Society, New Zealand Branch, shipped with each ambulance bales of extra medical stores, dressings and comforts. Had the instructions been complied with, as set out in Field Service Regulations, part II., chapter XI., paragraph 97, which state that all offers of service gifts by voluntary aid societies or voluntary organizations should (in time of war) be submitted in the first instance to the Red Cross Society, much waste of material and much correspondence to Headquarters would have been avoided. The Ambulance Associations of St. John and St. Andrew are of course excepted from this regulation; their function being mainly the provision of personnel and services as opposed to gifts. But in the general enthusiasm created by the war and the despatch of New Zealanders to the aid of the Old Country all gave with a generous hand without too close a scrutiny of the real usefulness of the gift or its ultimate disposal.

Early in January, 1915, it had been decided that the New Zealand Force was not to be broken up; it was to form the nucleus of a mixed division, to be known as the "New Zealand and Australian Division" which, with the 1st Australian Division, was to form the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps under General Birdwood's command. Instead of the three infantry brigades which normally form the complement of a division of infantry, two brigades of cavalry—the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade and the N.Z.M.R. Brigade—were substituted so that there were four brigades in all: the New Zealand Infantry Brigade; the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade, with their two Field Ambulances; and the two Mounted Brigades, also attended by their Mounted Brigade Field Ambulances. The Artillery, comprising three brigades and one howitzer brigade, were all New Zealand troops; as were the Engineers and Army Service Corps. The Medical Service was page 24mixed: A.M.C. Ambulances and Regimental detachments with the Australian troops; N.Z.M.C. with New Zealand troops. This combination of cavalry and infantry constituted a "Mixed" Division. However imperfect the composition of the Force, the comradeship of the Australian and New Zealand units grew in time into a lasting friendship—a hallowed memory of brotherhood.

The first three months of the New Year were devoted to the training of the Main Body in Egypt—a training of a most strenuous nature shared by the Medical Units. But it was not by field training alone that the Ambulances were exercised. There was a camp "hospital" with 262 patients suffering from infectious and other diseases, and early in January there was a mild outbreak of smallpox (four cases), which necessitated the re-vaccination of the whole Division at the rate of 10 per cent per diem So effectual was this preventive operation that by the 14th January no less than 50 per cent. of the Division was temporarily non-efficient by reason of successful vaccination. Colonel Begg, commanding the Field Ambulance, somewhat aggrieved, says in his diary that he had at this time some 44 men detached for duty at Abasseyeh hospital, the remainder mostly engaged in his Camp hospital, and but little time left for field training; although he recognised the importance of the experience in hospital work attained by his nursing orderlies.

The end of the month was destined to give the Commanding Officer some idea of the preparedness for war of the New Zealand Field Ambulance, as he was ordered to entrain for Ismailia on the 26th of January with the New Zealand Infantry Brigade who were to help in the defence of the Suez Canal against the advancing Turkish Columns. It was the eve of the Festival of Mouled-en-Nebi, the birthday of the Prophet, and we may assume that as the Turkish Force did not attack until the night of the 2/3rd February, the German plan was some days behind schedule time. We were in touch with a Force estimated at 12,000 Ottoman troops with field and heavy artillery and pontoons concentrated at some 5 to 6 kilometres distance from the eastern banks of the Canal. Two battalions of our infantry, with two sections of field ambulance and the Brigade Headquarters, were moved to Ismailia to cover the ferry, and two battalions, with one section of field ambulance, to El Ferdan on the Canal bank north of Ismailia. New Zealand troops were detached to Serapeum and as far south as Suez; some medical details attended the detachments.

The main attempt by the Turks to cross the Canal in pontoons eventuated near Serapeum where men of the Nelson Company assisted Indian troops to break up the attack. To "B" section of page 25the New Zealand Field Ambulance, bivouacked at Ismailia Railway Station, fell most of the work in tending the wounded, exclusively enemy wounded, as the New Zealand casualties were only one man who died of wounds, and one N.C.O. slightly wounded. The Headquarters section and "C" section were posted at E1 Ferdan Station where no casualties were reported, but an advanced dressing station under Captain A. V. Short was established 200 yards north of the ferry at El Kubri in the trenches across the Canal.

Gun fire was heard during the day on the 2nd February and in the afternoon heavy rifle fire to the south. Ismailia received a spattering of shells from field guns on the 3rd. The battle was now well engaged, and by 3.30 p.m. Turkish wounded prisoners were being admitted to "B" section's dressing station at Ismailia. Other enemy wounded, too badly hurt to be fit for transport to Cairo, were looked after by our people at the railway station; in all some 81 Turkish wounded prisoners were attended to between the 3rd and the 5th. Major Murray, N.Z.M.C., in his diary notes the "explosive" effect of the modern pointed bullet fired at close quarters with the great destruction of tissue and multiple shattering of bone produced; nearly all the wounds were caused by rifle fire and were severe: there were only two bayonet wounds observed. The method of treatment adopted was: a thorough clean up of the injuries, painting with iodine, and the application of plain sterilized gauze dressings. It had been found, in France, that where a wound was painted with iodine and dressed with the double cyanide of mercury gauze some blistering of the tissues took place owing to chemical action. All troops were originally provided with ampoules of iodine solution, to be used with their medicated first field dressing, but owing to this untoward action of the combined dressing, the iodine was withdrawn and the medicated, antiseptic dressing retained. The German field dressings were plain sterilized, but it was considered more prudent to preserve the germicidal character of the "blue gauze" in the British first field dressing issued to the individual.

When all signs of activity on the Suez Canal front had subsided, the Brigade and the Ambulance, now blooded and a bit heady from their first smell of powder, returned to camp at Zeitoun, the cynosure of all those who had remained perforce behind. Two matters of medical importance were revealed by this minor operation at the Canal: the regimental medical officers were insufficiently equipped with medical stores, and the infantry were short of first field dressings. These matters were promptly attended to. The first field dressing is a part of a man's equipment, as essential as page 26his water bottle or his identity disc, but its usefulness was not for the moment much appreciated until the eve of hostilities. For these reasons a divisional order was promulgated on March 3rd that:—All first field dressings were to be stitched tightly to the lining of the special pocket in which they were carried, that great care of these dressings was to be taken, as supplies were limited and it was not possible to replace them.

Brigade training in the early days of March, followed by divisional training in the latter part of the month, brought the field ambulances into more mimic battles, night marches and medical manoeuvres. Six dusty horses hauling ambulance waggons through yielding sand to the old trysting place, the 2nd Water Tower, where to the rattle of side drums signifying heavy machine gun fire "Northland" engaged in severe hostilities with "Southland" or the New Zealand and Australian Division utterly discomfited their old friends the East Lancashire Territorial Division,—"our beautiful East Lancashire Division" of Sir Ian Hamilton,—and artefacted casualties laid themselves down in grateful ease beneath the waggon covers of improvised dressing stations. Field days, night manoeuvres, inspections and grand reviews followed in monotonous succession until the Division found itself at last in that high state of fitness and military efficiency, coupled with exasperation, which imperatively demanded an immediate removal to a more active sphere of occupation remote from the flesh pots of Egypt.

Meanwhile the tally of sick men increased somewhat,—the unfit were being eliminated,—the camp hospital and the hospital at Abasseyeh were well filled: deaths from pneumonia were all too prevalent, 206 men sick with venereal disease were despatched, under escort, to Malta on the 26th. Most of these, young men probably of the very best fighting stuff, trained to the pinnacle of physical fitness and warlike spirit, brought to disgrace by the irresistible temptations of a sensuous oriental city. A heroic attempt was made by zealous New Zealand medical officers to combat the sources of venereal infection by visit and inspection of licensed brothels, and brigade ablution tents were provided, possibly with some success. But the problem of venereal prevention is a thorny subject, so beset by "Moral Considerations" and prudish disdain, so much a problem of the soldier's life and the tempestuous wilfulness and devil-may-care of men, possibly doomed to die, who have been wrought to a pitch of overmastering fitness and exuberance by skilful training for war, as to make it then, now and forever insoluble. The philosophy of Omar ruled the soldier, all were tent-makers in those days when to-morrow they might be page 27numbered with yesterday's ten thousand years. The retribution that fell upon the evil places of the "Sharia-el-Banat" on Good Friday, at the hands of the Colonial troops was perhaps not unmerited if it was inexcusable; but it was certainly not an acceptable solution of the problem.

The Division was now complete, ready and fit for anything. Rumours were abroad towards the end of March; a serious operation, overseas, was in contemplation. The two Infantry Brigades, the New Zealand and the 4th Australian with their ambulances and the divisional artillery and engineers with divisional troops were to be embarked in transports for Mudros early in April; the horsemen of the mixed division were to be left behind for the present with the mounted field ambulances. The men of the Medical Corps under Lt.-Col. Begg, who was a most zealous commander and a strict disciplinarian, had been through four months of hard training. They had caught a glimpse of real warfare at the Suez Canal and had obtained valuable and varied experience both in their own hospital in camp as well as the base hospital at Abasseyeh. The many marches in the desert had served to instruct the officers in map-reading and the use of the compass and other matters pertaining to desert fighting. They had learnt by experience the value of sanitary and preventive measures in camps; they were now fully trained and were no doubt in a high state of efficiency for war.

The services of Col. N. Manders, A.M.S., A.D.M.S., in Egypt were placed at the disposal of General Godley, who later appointed him A.D.M.S. of the Division vice Col. Will, V.D., N.Z.M.C., detailed for special duty in England.

Two New Zealand reinforcements, the 2nd and 3rd, brought a quota of N.Z.M.C. officers and men in December and March, Major Mathew Holmes, late P.M.O. of the Samoan force, was in charge of the 3rd N.Z.M.C. reinforcements, which at this time were being supplied at the rate of 2¼ per cent. of the overseas medical troops, per month; a rate which was inadequate to cover wastage and was later increased to 4 per cent. per month. Promotion to captain was granted in March to all lieutenants N.Z.M.C.—including the dental surgeons—who had sailed with the Main Body. Of the expediency of this early promotion of junior medical officers, some of them but recently qualified, there has been much argument. The factors governing promotion were at this time quite simple in theory. The medical troops of the Main Body were enlisted for the duration of the war, no temporary contracts, no temporary commissions made. Each officer was shown on the N.Z.E.F. gradation list, published in Egypt, and his seniority dated from the day of page 28his joining the Main Body. Such a system could not prove satisfactory because, in the case of medical officers, professional attainments in themselves constitute a recognised seniority apart from military rank, and a young captain graduated less than twelve months ago could not reasonably be asked to undertake the same duties as a captain on the reserve of the N.Z.M.C. not yet joined up, who was an experienced surgeon holding important hospital or university appointments. The principle was not adhered to, hence further dissatisfaction—temporary contracts for one year were made in later years when the shortage of medical officers became acute, adding to the inequalities of service. The regulations governing the promotion of officers in the N.Z.M.C. were revised at a later date; but questions of gradation presented controversial difficulties even at this early period.

Two medical officers per battalion, one a junior officer, was the authorised establishment at this time. The dental surgeons were distributed as follows:—To held ambulances, 2 dentists—thus the 4th Australian Field Ambulance had 2 N.Z.M.C. dental surgeons attached; and to each mounted brigade field ambulance, 1 N.Z.M.C. dental officer. So keen was the competition amongst dental officers to be allowed to go forward to active service that the A.D.M.S. ultimately consented to a ballot, and by this means the four successful ones were chosen. To No. 1 Australian General Hospital, one N.Z.M.C. dentist was attached, the remaining five were sent to the Overseas Base in Egypt. One medical officer, one dental officer and 11 N.C.O.'s and O.R. were sent back to New Zealand in April in charge of some 75 officers and O.R. invalided. The supernumerary medical officers, nine, in number were posted to the New Zealand Base formed at Alexandria.

Preparatory orders for embarkation were issued on April 3rd. The sick in our field ambulance were transferred to the New Zealand Hospital at Abasseyeh, and those of the Australian units to No. 1 Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis. On 10th April, 1915, tents were struck, the medical equipment loaded on to the waggons, the medical units entraining on the following morning. The medical stores and panniers of the New Zealand units were replenished and overhauled, so that the equipment was brought up to the existing imperial requirements, all save the field ambulance transport, which received special attention. The ambulance waggons—delivery vans converted—which had been brought from New Zealand had been unfavourably reported on by Col. Begg, but alterations to the body so as to adapt them to service pattern stretchers had been carried out by the State Waggon Works in Cairo. page 29Stretchers were replaced or obtained on payment from the Government workshop. The horses, 53 in number, brought from New Zealand, heavy and light draft, and riding horses, were a good lot and in fine condition; but in transport, both as regards ambulance and general service waggons, the 4th Australian Field Ambulance was much better equipped than ours. The New Zealand Field Ambulance entrained personnel at Matareah Siding, the transport, at the main station; the operation was completed in two hours, although there were no end-on loading facilities. Reaching Alexandria the same day, they embarked on board the s.s. Gosler, a converted German tramp of about 8,000 tons. After moving into the outer harbour certain sanitary defects became so apparent on board the Gosler, that, by the advice of the A.D.M.S., sailing was delayed, the personnel disembarking. On completion of the necessary work—cutting extra seuppers in the 'tween decks where horses were accommodated—the troops re-embarked and the ship sailed on the 17th. She carried the Headquarters of the New Zealand Brigade. The 4th Australian Field Ambulance, less transport, sailed in the Californian on the 10th with the remainder of the convoy. The Lutzow had aboard General Godley and Divisional Headquarters Staff, including the A.D.M.S., Col. Maunders; the D.A.D.M.S., Lt.-Col. P. C. Fenwick, N.Z.M.C.; and the Chief Veterinary Officer (A.D.V.S.) Lt.-Col. Young. The Gosler eventually arrived a week late at the rendezvous at Mudros Harbour, where were assembled some 120 ships of all varieties, the battleships, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, of four nations, Britain, France, Russia and Australia.