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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Preparations for Move to Italy

Preparations for Move to Italy

During September it was decided as a matter of policy that married NZANS and NZWAAC personnel should not proceed to Italy, and any on the staff of 3 General Hospital were transferred to the staff of the Helwan hospital; but this rule was relaxed later.

The Matron-in-Chief, Miss E. M. Nutsey, returned to New Zealand in the Oranje on 24 November, having been medically boarded as unfit for further service in the Middle East. The DMS 2 page 489 NZEF paid the highest possible tribute to Miss Nutsey's work in 2 NZEF. The good name of the NZANS stood very high in an expeditionary force where all standards were high, and this was in a large measure due to the leadership, untiring effort, and personal example of Miss Nutsey herself.

map of northern Italy

Sites of 1 NZ CCS and NZ General Hospitals during Campaign in Italy, October 1943 – December 1945

Miss E. C. Mackay, Matron of 1 General Hospital, was appointed in Miss Nutsey's place as Principal Matron 2 NZEF on 23 November. Miss Chisholm, Matron 3 General Hospital, was transferred as Matron to 1 General Hospital, and Miss Jackson1 was appointed Matron of 3 General Hospital. Miss Hodges2 had become Matron of 2 General Hospital in June 1943.

On 22 November at a conference at Maadi Camp the decision was made for Headquarters 2 NZEF and some additional units to move to Italy about the middle of January 1944. The medical units concerned were the DMS Office, Principal Matron, 2 General Hospital, Detachment 1 Convalescent Depot, Medical Stores Depot and a detachment of 23 Field Ambulance (Camp Hospital). It was considered that administration, including the medical side, would be greatly simplified by these moves, although it was policy for a New Zealand foothold to remain in Egypt, especially as a place of disembarkation for reinforcements.

This policy necessitated the maintenance of certain medical units in Egypt—1 General Hospital, 23 Field Ambulance (Camp Hospital), 2 Rest Home, Alexandria (for other ranks), 1 and 3 Rest Homes, Cairo (for women and officers), 101 VDTC, and Base Hygiene Section. In turn, this splitting of the force was to give rise to certain difficulties in the loading of hospital ships, with the bulk of the patients being embarked at Taranto, Italy, and additional cases from Egypt being picked up at Suez.

1 Matron Miss M. E. Jackson, RRC; Auckland; born Auckland, 11 Jan 1900; Sister, Auckland Hospital; Sister 1 Gen Hosp May 1940–Apr 1942; Ch Str 3 Gen-Hosp Apr 1942–Nov 1943; Matron 3 Gen Hosp Nov 1943–Jul 1945.

2 Matron Miss V. M. Hodges, ARRC; Wanganui; born Dunedin, 1 Sep 1902; Sister; Sister, 1st Echelon, 1940; Ch Str 1 Mob CCS Apr 1942–Mar 1943; Matron 2 Gen Hosp Jun 1943–Sep 1945.