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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Life in the Desert

Life in the Desert

Conditions in the Western Desert were by no means as unpleasant as many had expected. Everyone was accommodated quite comfortably, and the weather in September and October became cooler and less trying. The men were able to keep in touch with civilisation through a special Western Desert edition of the Egyptian Daily Mail and the weekly 2 NZEF Times, or could listen in the evenings to a wireless programme or news commentary. In the large dugout canteen the men drank beer and played housie-housie, and the canteen always stocked a good selection of tinned fruit, biscuits, chocolate, and cigarettes, and many other extras. Meals were excellent and the water ration adequate.

By day swimming and football matches provided occupation and interest, but the long and rapidly cooling nights dragged slowly and lack of entertainment was keenly felt. Thoughts would often turn to home and well-lit rooms and female company, a fire and friendly chairs and all the very personal things that seemed now to belong only to the past.

Early in November patients were all evacuated from the camp hospital and 6 Field Ambulance's equipment and medical stores were checked over and brought up to war scale. It was apparent that a major move was impending.