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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

HQ 6 Field Ambulance Crosses the River

HQ 6 Field Ambulance Crosses the River

HQ 6 Field Ambulance was ordered to move to the north bank of the Sangro on the 5th. In the morning, however, though the weather was fine, the river was still in flood. The pontoon bridge, which had finally been completed on the 6 Brigade axis, had been washed away during the night.

The unit left Masseria di Croce after lunch, by-passed Atessa, and became enmeshed in miles of banked-up transport at the one-way Bailey bridge. Trucks were bogged and in the process of being hauled out, and wheels spun in the morass of the recently flooded approaches. Finally reaching the other side, HQ moved up a rough, deeply-rutted track to a sodden, ploughed field that had been planted in wheat. The field contained a few red farm buildings; but they were too dirty and evil-smelling to be of any use. Fortunately there were two large straw stacks near the buildings, and the straw served to keep bedrolls from the muddy earth.

Immediately on arrival, the CO (Lt-Col Fisher) visited the ADMS (Col King), who instructed him to transfer the unit operating, resuscitation and post-operative nursing teams to 4 ADS, under Capt J. S. McVeigh,6 situated in farm buildings near the junction of the Sangro and Aventino rivers, on the main road south from Castelfrentano, where they would be in a position to perform immediately any necessary surgery should the river again become impassable.

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black and white photograph of truck

5 Field Ambulance trucks moving up to the Sangro, November 1943

black and white photograph of soldiers sitting outside ambulance

4 Field Ambulance ADS at Casalanguida, near the Sangro

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black and white photograph of medical unit

4 Field Ambulance MDS at Atessa for the Sangro attack

black and white photograph of medical unit

5 Field Ambulance ADS at the Sangro

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6 Maj J. S. McVeigh; born NZ, 17 May 1914; Medical Officer, Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney; Medical Officer, Maadi, Feb-May 1941; Mob Surg Unit Jun 1941-Feb 1942; 1 NZ CCS Feb-Aug 1942; 4 Fd Amb Aug 1942-Mar 1943.