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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Early 1941

Early 1941

January 1941 proved an exceptionally busy month for 2 General Hospital at Helwan. From the sieges of Bardia and Tobruk large convoys of Australian patients were received. 1 General Hospital, then establishing itself at Helmieh, had not yet been able to open its operating theatre and surgical block, with the result that all serious lying cases went to 2 General Hospital. This meant heavy work for the nursing staff, but they coped with it well, and valuable surgical experience was also gained. More Australians than New Zealanders were admitted during the month—426 against 416. As cases reached the convalescent stage they were transferred to 1 General Hospital or to 1 Convalescent Depot. By 31 January the patients in 2 General Hospital had reached a total of 656.

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black and white photograph of soldiers training

4 Field Ambulance training at Burnham, 1939

black and white photograph of ship leaving port

The Dunera leaving Wellington, January 1940, en route to Lyttelton to embark First Echelon troops, including 4 Field Ambulance

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black and white photograph of hospital

1 NZ General Hospital entrance, Pinewood, England

black and white photograph of inspection

His Majesty the King inspects Sisters from 1 NZ General Hospital at Mytchett. With him is Matron Miss E. C. Mackay

page 49

One result of operations in Libya was a reduction in the number of air-raid alarms at Helwan. There was only one alarm in six weeks and that was short and of little consequence.

The Australians were admitted until 25 February, when 90 were transferred to Australian general hospitals. This left 38 Australians at Helwan who were not fit for the journey. On 13 February Mr. R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia, inspected the hospital and spoke to Australian officers and men, later mixing with convalescent patients at the Kiwi Club.

On 31 January Miss E. M. Nutsey13 arrived in the Middle East as Matron-in-Chief 2 NZEF. She was made very welcome, for all were genuinely pleased to have a Matron-in-Chief for our overseas force. For a time she was temporarily attached to 2 General Hospital, but later moved to her own flat at Maadi.

13 Matron-in-Chief Miss E. M. Nutsey, MBE, RRC, ED, m.i.d.; born Christchurch, 9 Jun 1887; Lady Superintendent, Auckland Hospital; 1 NZEF 1915-19, Staff nurse, Egypt, 1915-16; Sister, England, 1916-19; Matron-in-Chief 2 NZEF Jan 1941-Nov 1943.