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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

2 NZ Division Withdrawn from Senio Front

2 NZ Division Withdrawn from Senio Front

By the end of February it had been arranged that 5 Kresowa (Polish) Division would relieve 2 NZ Division between 1 and 7 March and that the New Zealanders would move to their former rest area around Fabriano, Matelica, and Camerino.

Fourth Field Ambulance closed as the MDS for battle casualties on 5 March, handing over the buildings at Faenza to 5 Polish MDS. Owing to the difficulty of moving tanks so far to the rear, 4 Armoured Brigade went to Cesenatico on the Adriatic coast north of Rimini and not with the rest of the Division. Fourth Field Ambulance came under 4 Armoured Brigade and moved with it to Cesenatico, and there set up an MDS for sick in a series of seaside cottages. The reception and evacuation departments, operating theatre, and cookhouse were centralised in the largest two-storied house. Sick and ordinary surgical cases were evacuated to 1 General Hospital at Senigallia and serious surgical cases to 66 British General Hospital at Rimini. Colonel Radcliffe1 was now CO of 1 General Hospital.

The only New Zealand medical unit to remain in Forli was 1 Mobile CCS, which closed but retained its excellent site and buildings. In the rest areas 5, 6 and 9 Infantry Brigades each had its ADS under command. They evacuated sick to 5 MDS, which was open in a good building at Castel Lanciano and fairly central for all units. To deal with accidents and emergencies, 3 FSU was attached to 5 MDS, and the dressing station evacuated cases to 1 General Hospital at Senigallia but held minor sick up to about sixty at a time. In Fabriano 6 Field Ambulance remained closed and spent its time in intensive training, although all units took part in route marches, physical training, and erecting canvas. The weather was fine for the three weeks of the rest period and the general fitness of all ranks improved noticeably. The sickness rate remained low but, as was page 649 usual in a rest period, the accidental injury rate increased. A programme for the coming malarial season was drawn up and all medical officers instructed by the ADMS and DADH 2 NZ Division on the measures to be taken. The training of anti-malaria squads was recommenced.

1 Col D. G. Radcliffe, OBE; Christchurch; born Ayr, Queensland, 14 Jun 1898; surgeon; surgeon 1 Gen Hosp Mar 1940–Jun 1943; in charge surgical division 1 Gen Hosp, Jun 1943–Mar 1944; CO 5 Gen Hosp Mar 1944–Feb 1945; CO 1 Gen Hosp Feb–Nov 1945.