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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Evacuation from 26 General Hospital

Evacuation from 26 General Hospital

After the departure of the main party of their unit from Greece, the 30 orderlies from 1 General Hospital attached to 26 British General Hospital at Kephissia continued with their duties. On 24 April they loaded patients on ambulances for embarkation. They page 108 were to report at Force Headquarters at 3 p.m. for embarkation instructions, but were delayed by carrying casualties from Piraeus to Kephissia. They reported at Force Headquarters at 10.30 p.m. and were instructed to join a convoy going to a beach west of Corinth. On the way they found themselves near a large group of 21 NZ Battalion, and to this unit they attached themselves. The Ulster Prince ran aground that night (25-26 April) and this reduced the numbers who could be embarked. It was then agreed that any embarkation would most likely be made from one of the beaches farther south. The men lay hidden in an orange grove all day and moved off at 11 p.m. on a seven-mile march to a rendezvous decided upon. During the next day no sea transport appeared off the beach where the men lay hidden. Four of the party formed a stretcher squad and cared for an injured soldier all day, and finally the five were embarked on a boat and transferred to a warship that night (26 April), reaching Egypt safely.

Of the remainder, a party of 21 with S-Sgt Ashworth23 in charge, reached Argos to the south, and from the port of Nauplion were evacuated to Crete. Here they were attached to 7 British General Hospital.

23 S-Sgt G. Ashworth; born England, 10 Jan 1902; male nurse, Palmerston North; Wardmaster 1 Gen Hosp Feb 1940-May 1941; p.w. Crete, Jun 1941; repatriated Oct 1943.