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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

6 MDS Moves up to Sidi Rezegh

6 MDS Moves up to Sidi Rezegh

On the morning of 23 November, 6 Field Ambulance (less A Company) was stationed in reserve near Sidi Azeiz, about a mile and a half to the east of 4 MDS. Late that morning, after a conference between Col Kenrick, ADMS 2 NZ Division, and the CO (Lt-Col Speight), 6 Field Ambulance was instructed to move along the Trigh Capuzzo and open an MDS at some suitable spot to the east of Gambut, in which area 4 and 6 Brigades were now located. For this move the ambulance was attached to the Advanced Divisional HQ convoy, which was moving west from Sidi Azeiz that afternoon. Towards evening this convoy became involved in a brush with enemy tanks and a wide detour to the south of the Trigh Capuzzo was necessary. The convoy dispersed and halted for the night.

On the morning of 24 November tank shells began to fall amongst the ambulance vehicles, and the unit was moved a mile to the south, to the entrance of a wide wadi, where a number of casualties from the tank battle were treated. One or two abandoned vehicles were discovered here and, having been made road-worthy, were added to the unit transport.

The convoy began moving up the wadi at 2.30 p.m.; shortly afterwards 6 Field Ambulance received instructions to go to a wadi seven miles from Sidi Rezegh to take over from 6 ADS and open an MDS there. Darkness was now falling, and by the time all the ambulance vehicles had negotiated the steep track from the wadi to the escarpment, it was already dark. As there were only the vaguest notions where precisely A Company was sited, the next three hours of wandering in the desert were anxious ones. Capt Staveley's ADS was found about midnight and the MDS erected immediately. A Company's personnel were thus given a short rest from the extremely strenuous work which had occupied them for the previous few days.

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During the next 24 hours 450 casualties were received at 6 MDS in a steadily increasing stream, which by the morning of 26 November had reached almost flood proportions. The operating theatre was busy continuously.