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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Division Returns to Maadi Camp

page 442

Division Returns to Maadi Camp

On 9 May it was decided that 4 Field Ambulance would proceed to Egypt to rejoin 4 NZ Armoured Brigade, and that 6 Field Ambulance, which had until this date been in reserve behind the divisional area on the main Sousse road, would open on the site vacated by 4 Field Ambulance. Following the enemy's surrender and the completion of the campaign on 13 May, 2 NZ Division was rapidly collected in an assembly area preparatory to returning to Egypt. For the journey of 2000 miles the Division was organised into five groups, and 5 and 6 Field Ambulances attached companies to each group to provide medical services.

The first half of the long divisional convoy started for Egypt on 15 May. The route was across country until Gabes was reached and then the main road was followed. There was a day's halt at Tripoli for maintenance and again at Benghazi, and the head of the convoy reached Maadi Camp on 31 May after an uneventful move. The second half of the Division arrived a day later. Upon arrival all the divisional medical units were concentrated in an area near 23 NZ Field Ambulance in Maadi Camp and arrangements made for leave for the force. The Division had been in the field for almost a year and had played a decisive part in the rapid advance of the Eighth Army.

As a Corps unit 1 NZ CCS under Lieutenant-Colonel Hunter did not accompany the Division back to Egypt but remained in Tunisia until 23 May, when it moved to Suani Ben Adem, Tripoli, near 3 General Hospital and 1 Convalescent Depot, and established a 200-bed hospital for the coming invasion of Sicily by the Allies.