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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Camp Life

Camp Life

Newly-arrived recruits were always an odd-looking group in a military camp. Their civilian clothes and habits seemed out of place, but attired in uniform and accustomed to camp life they began to look more like soldiers.

The transition stage from civilian comfort, independence, and privacy to communal Army life, with its roughness and rigid discipline, was a painful process. All members of the Corps, however, soon recovered from the first shock and acquired a notable adaptability during their war service. Eating, sleeping, and drilling together, the men became comrades and developed a unit spirit which was to inspire them to unselfish and sustained work during the long war.

Queueing was to become an Army habit. Recruits were usually initiated into it in their first few days in camp, when they were shepherded along and halted under a large notice ‘Camp QM’. Diffidently they passed through the store to collect, in a cavernous kitbag, socks, shirts, vests, underpants, towels, palliasse, boots a keen hiker might be proud of, mugs, plates, cutlery that dropped in with a crash, blankets and groundsheet, denim jacket and trousers, and then, rather more acceptably, battle-dress tunic, trousers, and page 3 greatcoat. The clothes that did not fit at first became presentable after a gradual process of exchange. And when they had broken in their heavy boots the new recruits felt happier.