New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
The night of 28–29 April was memorable—the Division brushed aside enemy rearguards and, after an all-night move, was firmly established in Padua on the morning of the 29th. That day the Division captured Mestre on the mainland opposite Venice, and a few hours later it was sweeping along the broad causeway over the deep blue waters of the Venetian lagoon to the city, which it found in the hands of partisans. It was soon joined by 56 Division, and by ‘Popski's Private Army’ which had come by jeep and army-manned landing craft up the coast, capturing Chioggia on the way. The Division did not pause but carried on past Mestre, directed on to Trieste. On 29 April 6 MDS moved on to Padua, a distance of 43 page 656 miles. It took with it 3 FSU and 2 FTU, leaving a detachment, which with only one surgeon found the work long and tedious. One operating shift worked for sixteen hours and the surgeon for twenty-two hours, and then the detachment, having been ordered up to Padua, sent six ambulance-car loads of patients back. It was as well that there were relatively few casualties. On 30 April the Light Section 1 Mobile CCS moved up to a good building at Mestre, just at the landward end of the Venice causeway. There 3 FSU, 2 FTU, and MAC Section were ordered to join it, as also was the heavy section of the CCS. All cases were to be held and there was to be no further evacuation to the rear of Mestre, pending the establishment of air evacuation.