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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Tenseness in Trieste

Tenseness in Trieste

After the cessation of hostilities in Italy on 2 May 1945, 2 NZ Division continued in an operational role in the occupation of Trieste and areas east of the Isonzo River, the same areas being claimed and partially occupied by Yugoslav troops. Political difficulties created a tense situation, with an ever-present possibility of an armed clash. For this reason the medical layout had to be a tactical one.

The 4th MDS was moved up on 1 May from Bondeno, south of the Po, to open on 3 May at Villa Vicentina on the western side of page 664 the Isonzo, where it would not be involved in case of active operations against the Yugoslavs. All minor sick, up to about one hundred, were held there. Evacuation was carried out by NZ Section MAC to Mestre, where 1 Mobile CCS was assisted by a 100-bed detachment from 2 General Hospital. The 6th MDS was closed at Sistiana, but was in a good building and prepared to open within the divisional defence perimeter should hostilities break out. The 5th MDS was located at Mirano, near Venice, and had established a rest camp for 2 NZ Division personnel on leave to Venice. Accommodation was provided for 200 men in EPIP tents and tarpaulin shelters, and a large villa was utilised for administration and staff. Towards the end of May an air evacuation centre was opened at Udine, and 1 Mobile CCS with attached units prepared to move to that town.