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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

CCS at Frosinone

CCS at Frosinone

After four months at Presenzano, the CCS moved in sections between 7 and 12 June to a new site 50 miles north, just past the hilltop town of Frosinone on the main road to Rome. At this location the CCS, working alternately with 19 British CCS, received large numbers of casualties, admitting British, Canadian, and South African wounded and sick as well as Indians and Americans. Gradually, however, work eased off as the fighting advanced beyond Rome, most of the patients then coming from the New Zealand Division resting at Arce. Minor cases of sickness were held until they recovered and were returned to their units. Since evacuation to Naples necessitated a long and tiring journey by road, most of the severe cases suffering from abdominal and head wounds were sent by air ambulance from a landing ground a few miles distant. page 364 This arrangement was very satisfactory, the air trip to Naples taking only 35 minutes.

While the unit was at Frosinone quite a number of Italian civilians were admitted as casualties. Their wounds were caused by mines and booby-traps left in their homes by the retreating Germans. Disposal of these people was often difficult, since it was sometimes hard to find a civilian hospital that would admit them. Usually these civilian patients were accompanied by a number of relatives. It was almost impossible to explain in Italian to them just why it was that the patient could not remain in the hospital. A scene quickly developed when the poor peasant people learned that their Carlo or Maria or ‘pauvre vecchio Papa’ had to be evacuated to a distant hospital. The unit was also approached by dozens of local inhabitants seeking medical attention for all manner of ailments. Seemingly they had no medical service of their own, or if there was a doctor in the village he either charged exorbitant prices or was considered to be no good. In the end, however, it was necessary to stop these people entering the camp, since the unit's medical supplies were primarily for the wounded.

At Frosinone hitch-hiking was not as easy as it had been at Presenzano. Rome was the main attraction at this time. Leave trucks made trips there on one or two occasions, but most of the staff who visited the capital did so under their own arrangements while off duty. In the absence of regular traffic past the camp, it was necessary to walk four miles to Highway 6. Here there was a continuous flow of vehicles to Rome, and the 50-mile trip could be done in a very short time.