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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Formation of Casualty Clearing Station

Formation of Casualty Clearing Station

On 27 February the Mobile Surgical Unit was disbanded and its personnel, transport, and most of the equipment absorbed into 1 NZ Casualty Clearing Station, which then was officially constituted as a unit of 2 NZEF, with an establishment of 106 personnel. Lt-Col P. A. Ardagh was appointed Commanding Officer.

During these days at Q area, Maadi Camp, the new unit, like an infant struggling eagerly to find its feet, had a busy time experimenting to find the quickest and most efficient way of carrying out its duties. The various departments were staffed, surgical and ordnance equipment checked, and training in the layout of the wards and other essential sections of the unit carried out. Much more practice in erecting tents was required when the original issue of EPIP tents was replaced by a type known as ‘Hospital Pattern, extending’. This was a much larger type of tent, and when extended to the requisite ward size required about twenty men to erect it. Once it was up, however, and ‘tied off’, two or three could complete it in a very short time.

During this period the unit was divided into light and heavy sections. In the former, most of the original MSU personnel were page 190 retained, since they were already fully experienced in the work that would be required in the future mobile role and function of such a section.

Transport for the unit still remained a problem, there being sufficient only for the Light Section's equipment. The vehicle list comprised seven 3-ton lorries and a 15-cwt. truck, and to these was added an X-ray laboratory van and a trailer which had been specially constructed to carry the electrical plant. As the shortage of transport was still acute and there were no prospects of further vehicles being obtained, it was thought that when the CCS moved other transport would have to be borrowed from some other section of the Army. This was what actually did happen during later months.