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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Wet Weather Hampers Operations

Wet Weather Hampers Operations

In the heavy rain from 28 September onwards, the 4 MDS site in a factory at Viserba, with its hard roads and good drainage, proved very satisfactory, but the whole divisional area became bogged. Operations were held up, which meant in turn fewer casualties. During the morning of 4 October the MDS moved to a new building, formerly an Italian children's hospital and sanatorium, on the coast road at Igiea Marina, just south of Bellaria. This building consisted of three large stories with a central block of small rooms, each wing forming large dormitories very suitable for holding patients.

The general disposition of units allowed the MDS to receive patients direct from the RAPs. On 5 October the unit was joined by a surgical team from 1 Mobile CCS with equipment for a 50-bed ward, an X-ray truck, and six nursing orderlies.

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With the help of the engineers, windows were replaced with windolite, the water supply on the ground floor was put into working order, and a portable lighting set installed. In these comfortable surroundings a social function was held on 6 October to farewell those of the 4th Reinforcements who were leaving for Advanced Base on their return to New Zealand.

The MDS had three completely equipped operating theatres, but fortunately these arrangements proved over-adequate as there were not many casualties in the divisional sector. The total admissions for the first week at Igiea Marina were 238 sick and 84 battle casualties. The latter were mainly victims of sporadic shelling.

Persistent wet weather forced the crossing of the Fiumicino to be postponed. On 10 October it was decided to regroup the troops under Canadian Corps command. The 2 NZ Division sector was taken over by Canadian troops, and the Division moved to the adjacent western sector which had previously been held by Canadians. No great increase in distances of evacuation resulted, and the MDS remained at the same site receiving cases from 5 ADS, some three to four miles due west.

The weather began to improve on 11 October. An increase in the number of guns in the vicinity incited some retaliation by enemy artillery. During the afternoon several air bursts were observed over the building, and later accurate counter-battery fire on neighbouring gun sites caused a sudden influx of battle casualties. No MDS property was damaged.