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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Review of Activities

Review of Activities

For the field medical units the campaign had been most eventful—too eventful. All of them except 4 ADS were at one time or another in the hands of the enemy, and a large proportion of the staffs of 5 and 6 Field Ambulances and 4 Field Hygiene Section, and some of 4 Field Ambulance, were taken away as prisoners. In addition, some were killed and wounded. Coming on top of the losses in Greece and Crete earlier in the year, this was a sorry blow. page 180 But the medical units did their utmost under difficult conditions for the numerous wounded—New Zealand, British, South African, German, and Italian. During the campaign 4 ADS admitted 448 casualties, and a considerable amount of surgery had to be undertaken by Maj Harrison because of the isolation of the unit. 5 ADS admitted 700 patients, and although the staff did not remain prisoners, the unit lost all its transport and much of its equipment. 6 ADS also lost equipment and transport, and had a most strenuous time treating its 1150 wounded and evacuating them when there was no stable medical chain. For their good work with 6 ADS Capt Staveley was awarded the MC and S-Sgt Nicholas19 the MM. Many of the wounded were admitted in turn to the MDSs, although a number were sent through British, South African, and Indian units to British hospitals before they were later transferred to the New Zealand hospitals. Apart from their losses of staff, the MDSs also lost equipment and vehicles. The Mobile Surgical Unit suffered less than the other units in this respect.

19 S-Sgt J. L. Nicholas, MM, m.i.d.; born South Africa, 28 Feb 1910; orchard hand, Australia; NCO 6 Fd Amb Feb 1940-Sep 1942; wounded 1 Dec 1941 and 3 Sep 1942.