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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Wind-up in Southern Italy

Wind-up in Southern Italy

In southern Italy the medical units were kept busy with the influx of troops from Florence. At Bari 3 General Hospital continued to function with a reduced staff, but transferred its patients to 98 British General Hospital and commenced to disband in January 1946; it was wound up by the end of that month. The detachment of 1 Convalescent Depot at San Spirito started closing in the middle of December, but it was necessary to use its buildings for some weeks to accommodate convalescents from 3 General Hospital. Advanced Base Camp Hospital was likewise busy, but began and completed its disbandment in January.

Medical Stores Depot in Bari was working hard collecting equipment for J Force, and also checking and packing equipment from disbanding medical units. The New Zealand Government had directed that all medical (I. 1248) equipment held by 2 NZEF medical units should be returned to New Zealand, where it could be handed over for civilian use or held as a military reserve. Allied Force Headquarters agreed to replace part-worn equipment with new or reserviced I. 1248 equipment. These replacements were collected by the New Zealand Medical Stores Depot, which thus gathered complete equipment for two 600-bed hospitals, a casualty clearing station, and three field ambulances for shipment to New Zealand. The I. 1248 equipment of 2 General Hospital in Egypt was similarly packed and shipped to New Zealand.

By the end of January there were fewer than one thousand New Zealand troops in Italy, and within a few weeks these, too, were on their way home. The sick were transferred to 45 British General page 689 Hospital, Taranto, and were embarked at that port by HS Maunganui on 11 February, which date marked the end of activities of the New Zealand medical services in Italy.