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To Greece

The Chain of Medical Evacuation

The Chain of Medical Evacuation

The last day of March saw the medical service of the Division more or less complete with main and advanced dressing stations in each brigade area. First General Hospital (Colonel A. C. McKillop) which would normally have been a base institution had, on page 149 instructions from Brigadier D. T. M. Large, Deputy Director of Medical Services, W Force, to be established along the line of communications. The Larisa area was malarious and the port of Volos was likely to be bombed, so the site eventually chosen was in a valley south of Pharsala and roughly halfway between Athens and the Aliakmon line. The hospital, with the Mobile Dental Unit (Major Mackenzie1) attached, moved in on 22 March; the first cases were received on 2 April; and two days later the New Zealand sisters arrived from Athens, where they had been billeted at Kifisia after their arrival on 27 March with the fifth flight.

The new site was charming. On the north side of the valley and alongside the small creek were the ruins of an old mill; at the head were groves of poplar trees and well turfed slopes already carpeted with spring flowers. In New Zealand it would have been classed as good sheep country; in fact, bearded shepherds did wander about the hillsides to the amazement of the troops, who had never seen sheep and goats with bells on their necks or savage dogs whose chief virtue was their ability to protect a flock.

1 Maj J. A. S. Mackenzie, m.i.d.; Waikohowai, Huntly; born Levin, 26 Jun 1908; dental surgeon; OC NZ Mobile Dental Section, Jun 1940–Apr 1941; p.w. 25 Apr 1941.