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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

ASC and AFS Drivers

ASC and AFS Drivers

The ASC drivers attached to the field ambulances played a vital part in the evacuation of wounded in all battles, especially in the summer battles of 1942, as also did the American Field Service drivers with their ambulance cars. The latter distinguished themselves by their keenness to go forward of the RAPs, often dashing out into the desert to try to collect pilots who had baled out from our planes in the dogfights overhead.

The journey of about four thousand yards from the RAP to the ADS took perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes in the daytime and longer at night. The journey was inevitably slow, even under enemy fire, as the ambulance drivers tried to save the wounded from the bumps, and at night-time it was impossible to drive with any speed in the darkness along a track which twisted through gaps in the minefields and alternated between rocky stretches and soft sand.

In busy periods the drivers, on reaching the ADS, would quickly drink a mug of cocoa and return immediately to the RAPs. Those who took the wounded back to the MDS had to cover up to 20 miles of rough desert track. The next stage of evacuation was from the MDS to the CCS, and at Alamein some of the most difficult driving of all was met on this route. The desert was of deep, soft sand which made driving a slow, tedious, careful matter. In places long stretches of wire matting were placed on the sand to provide a track.