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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Disbandment of Units

Disbandment of Units

In July 3 Field Surgical Unit and 2 Field Transfusion Unit were disbanded; they were followed by 4 Field Ambulance, which held a final ceremonial parade on 14 August before the remaining members of the staff were transferred to other medical units. The growing shortage of medical personnel as successive drafts left to return to New Zealand made it impossible to staff fully all the medical units.

During September the Division remained in the Trasimene area, but when it was decided to move into the Florence area for winter quarters arrangements for this move and concentration were put in hand. As a result it was possible for DMS 2 NZEF to order the disbandment of 5 and 6 Field Ambulances as from 15 and 31 October respectively. All medical (I. 1248) equipment was packed for return to New Zealand and all ordnance (G. 1098) equipment was returned to NZ AOD for disposal in Italy. Vehicles were returned to NZASC. The personnel, reduced in number by the departure of the 9th Reinforcements, were re-posted to other medical units.

In Florence a modern hospital building was secured for 1 Mobile CCS. The light section of the unit moved there on 28 September and opened with fifty beds. It was later joined by the heavy section, the beds being increased to 200, with expansion planned to 300, and 14 Optician Unit and 102 Mobile VDTC were attached. Two page 680 good villas were also secured for the establishment of 4 Rest Home of fifty beds to take convalescents from 1 Mobile CCS. Evacuation from 1 Mobile CCS was either direct to British hospitals in Florence, or, for long-term invalids, by ambulance train from Florence to 3 General Hospital at Bari.

As 1 General Hospital was now no longer required, it began to disband as from 30 September, transferring its patients to 3 General Hospital, Bari. A further reduction in establishment from 600 to 300 beds in 2 General Hospital in Egypt was also made at this time, as New Zealand troops were embarking direct from Italy for New Zealand.