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The New Zealand Dental Services

No. 2 Mobile Dental Unit is Formed

No. 2 Mobile Dental Unit is Formed

The number of troops in Maadi Camp was getting less and it was found that one of the three dental hospitals could not be kept fully occupied. On the other hand, within the 2 NZEF there was too much work for the number of dental officers, the greater part of it being for units in the field. No. 1 NZ Mobile Dental Unit could be kept fully occupied with the Division but more was needed to attend to NZEF units elsewhere, such as railway units, Army Service Corps units, Army Troops and Mechanical Equipment companies and other small non-divisional units.

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It was recommended, therefore, by the ADDS that 2 NZ Camp Dental Hospital should be disbanded and 2 NZ Mobile Dental Unit formed in its place. Should large numbers of reinforcements arrive in the future the Mobile Unit could always re-form as a camp hospital, or, as dental personnel arrived, a new hospital could be formed.

Authority was granted on 12 March 1942 for the unit to be formed and Headquarters 2 NZEF guaranteed to produce the necessary transport, a matter which had been causing some concern. Major B. H. K. Young,1 who had previously been in command of the Base Depot Dental Hospital, was given command. At the same time 2 NZ Camp Dental Hospital went out of existence and its commander, Major B. Dallas, took over the Base Depot Dental Hospital from Major Young.

By the end of April 1942 the unit was equipped and staffed and by the end of May was ready for operation although, at this time, it was only built up to about 60 per cent of its full strength. By the time it was ready for work the tactical situation was such that it was kept on a tight rein and allowed no farther into the Western Desert than Mersa Matruh.

1 Maj B. H. K. Young, ED; Christchurch; born Dunedin, 31 May 1913; dental surgeon; CO 2 Mobile Dental Unit 1942–43; PDO Trentham MC, 1944.