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The New Zealand Dental Services

Finn to Fuller:

Finn to Fuller:

I notice your remarks regarding the amount of work presenting and am worried that you will let this influence you—as is evident by your last cable asking me to reduce my quota of 12 officers, 16 other ranks. It is too late page 139 thank God for I assure you in three months' time you will be very grateful for them….

You talk of officers not being able to find work. What is the matter with their doing prosthetic work? It had to be done in the last war and certainly can be this time.

There was a noticeable disinclination on the part of the DDS to relinquish control, possibly from anxiety to shield the fledgling from familiar potholes of the past. Most of the potholes had been filled with the sands of time, while the wheels of progress had carved new ruts for only the present to see.

One of the main lessons learned in administration of the Dental Corps in this war was the folly of prejudging a situation without proper allowance for changing circumstances. This was borne out on many occasions, with the result that too many square pegs were designed for round holes. An example of this was the New Zealand Mobile Divisional Dental Hospital which the DDS proposed to establish, design, staff and train in New Zealand for attachment to 2 New Zealand Division. More will be said later about this unit, but as it was the subject of considerable correspondence and helped by its very incompatibility to publicise the Corps in Egypt, some account of its origin and intent belongs in this context.

The unit was based on one that came into existence in the First World War to operate within the Division in addition to the orthodox establishment of the dental sections attached to the field ambulances. It was to be a self-contained unit and was to be trained in New Zealand. The intention of the DDS was that it should operate with the Division and have its own commanding officer separate from the ADDS. It was expected to arrive in Egypt with the Third Echelon. All the ADDS knew about it was that it was coming, and as far as he understood the terms of his appointment, anything of a dental nature connected with the force came under his direct control. Somewhat naturally, he was expected by Force Headquarters to include in his appreciation of the dental situation details of the Divisional Dental Hospital. This he was unable to do accurately as the DDS had given him no information regarding transport, weight of equipment, or proposed attachment of headquarters or sub-sections. Eventually, in response to urgent requests, the information was sent by the DDS, but the ADDS had to summarise his arrangements for the dental treatment of the force for the information of Force Headquarters before these details arrived.

Headquarters' request for a report was the end of the first stage in the establishment of the Corps with 2 NZEF. In April 1940 it was evident that the Base was to be reorganised and formed into Headquarters 2 NZEF, in which the ADDS would page 140 hold his rightful position. He was asked to forward to Headquarters all details of his proposed organisation and he replied as follows: