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

2. Regimental Medical Establishment

2. Regimental Medical Establishment.

These Establishments vary in the different units. These variations and some other details are shown in the Table in the Appendix. In what follows an Infantry Battalion is referred to.

Each Infantry Battalion has:—

  • A. Army Medical Corps Personnel.

    • 1 Officer (rank, Captain or Subaltern).
    • 1 Corporal and 4 privates for water dutic

    These details are "attached" to the from the N.Z. Medical Corps.

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    In the New Zealand Division it is a rule for these water duty men to he exchanged every three months by the affiliated Ambulance. This gives them the opportunity of acquiring knowledge and practice in other branches of their work, and so fits them for promotion when their turn comes. It also contributes to the maintenance of discipline among them, as a few men detached on more or less independent duties are apt to-become slack.

    The duties of this Water personnel are:—

    • (i) The daily supervision of water supply and its purification for drinking purposes, as may be directed.
    • (ii) To take charge of all apparatus and stores connected with the water supply of the unit.

    These duties, therefore, include the testing and chlorination of water, cleaning of water carts, tanks, petrol tins, etc., ensuring that sufficient supplies of bleaching powder, alum and testing solution are maintained.

  • B. Regimental Personnel.

    • (1.) Sanitary.

      1 N.C.O. and 8 men, i.e., 2 from each Company.

      Their duties generally are to act as sanitary police, to prevent soil pollution, and in detail to supervise:—

      • (i) The preparation and care of latrines and urinals, including the filling in of same, and marking of old sites.
      • (ii) The systematic collection, removal and disposal of refuse by burning or other methods.
      • (iii) Construction of ablution places, and the disposal of waste water.
      • (iv) The sanitation of cooking places,. horse and mule lines, and slaughtering places in the area occupied by the unit.

      The R.M.O. will constantly instruct the sanitary personnel in their duties, and ensure that they are familiar with the most recent instructions re sanitary methods and apparatus.

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    • (2.) Stretcher Bearers. 16 men.

      It is the duty of the R.M.O. to train these men, and as this training is of the utmost importance, to remember that the regimental stretcher bearer is in the majority of cases, the first to deal with the wounded man.

      These men will be trained when the Battalion is out of the Line, together with at least 16 extra bearers, i.e. additional to establishment.

      The subjects of training will be:—

      1.Application of First Field Dressing.
      2.First aid, especially in hæmorrhage and fractures.
      3.Lifting and carriage of wounded.
      4.Immediate treatment of gassed cases
      5.Organised stretcher drill.

      The last is the least important in practice.

      The Field Ambulance will lend a N.C.O. to instruct in stretcher drill if requested to do so.

      Training will be by lectures and practical work. Each, man will be made to splint the common fractures and apply tourniquets.

    • (3.) Medical Qrderlies

      • 1 lance corporal as medical Orderly.
      • 1 private as orderly and driver of the Maltese Cart.

      These assist the R.M.O. in his Medical duties. They take care of the medical equipment, and such records as may be made.

    • (4.) Chiropədist

      The Chiropodist is (in the New Zealand Division) struck off all other duties, and is directly under the. orders of the R.M.O. In addition to the duties more stricrly pertaining to a Chiropodist, he is detailed to-supervise the use of preventive measures against Trench Foot, a duty which, in wet and cold weather, should keep him very fully occupied.

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