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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

3 General Hospital Receives Casualties from Sicily

3 General Hospital Receives Casualties from Sicily

At the request of DDMS Tripolitania, 3 General Hospital expanded for a short period to 1100 beds prior to the Allied invasion of Sicily. The first convoy of any size did not arrive at Tripoli until 20 July, but from then on until the end of the month the hospital admitted 384 patients who came by air from Sicily or Malta, and 254 who came by sea.

It was necessary for a certain number of British hospitals to close, pack, and hold themselves in readiness to move to Italy. In these circumstances the Medical Directorate, GHQ MEF, was grateful for the assistance given by 3 General Hospital in the Sicilian campaign. The heat in Tripoli in July was even more intense than in Egypt and temperatures of over 100 degrees were common, while on eighteen days the temperature in the shade was over 110 degrees.

In August it fell to the lot of 3 General Hospital to take the majority of cases coming from Sicily by air. Its admissions for the month totalled 1740, and of these 1279 arrived by air and 396 by sea, while 65 were from local units. The bulk of admissions were either battle casualties or malaria cases, there being 740 of the latter.