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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Proposed New Establishments for Field Medical Units

Proposed New Establishments for Field Medical Units

In 1942 the War Office had issued proposed new war establishments for field medical units in the Imperial forces. Knowledge of them was delayed in reaching 2 NZEF, but consideration was given to the matter in July 1943. In addition to three field ambulances page 493 (whose size would remain almost the same) within a division, there were to be two field dressing stations and a field surgical unit. This would require an additional five medical officers and 177 other ranks, which the NZMC in 2 NZEF could not possibly produce. The DMS 2 NZEF and ADMS 2 NZ Division were agreed that it was doubtful whether the replacement of three field medical units by five units would give greater mobility, flexibility, or general efficiency. The existing organisation functioned quite satisfactorily.

It was recognised that if the British forces in the Middle East adopted the new medical organisation while 2 NZEF retained the old, certain difficulties might arise in Corps organisation and in the matter of equipment. It was therefore hoped that the existing organisation would be retained by all concerned as the RAMC in the Middle East was also short of personnel.

This, in fact, is what did happen, and no major reorganisation in the field medical units of 2 NZ Division occurred until November 1944, when the field ambulances were each reduced from three companies to two, with a consequent saving of manpower.