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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Embarkation of First Echelon

Embarkation of First Echelon

In the advance party which left New Zealand on 11 December 1939 in SS Awatea were two men of 4 Field Ambulance, and they were joined in Egypt by Lieutenant Harrison,3 who had come from the United Kingdom and who became acting Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services to the Expeditionary Force. The main embarkation of the First Echelon took place on 5 January 1940. At Lyttelton 6 officers and 217 other ranks of 4 Field Ambulance and 1 officer and 28 other ranks of 4 Field Hygiene Section embarked on HMT Dunera. At Wellington other Medical Corps personnel, comprising Colonel K. MacCormick,4 Assistant Director of Medical Services to the Expeditionary Force, 8 regimental officers, 18 sisters of the New Zealand Army Nursing Service, and 4 medical officers and 12 nursing orderlies and dispensers from 4 Field Ambulance, page 35 embarked on the Orion, Strathaird, Empress of Canada, Rangitata, and Sobieski.

The regimental medical officers and nursing sisters were split up among the transports and were able to establish small ships' hospitals to attend to any sickness cases during the voyage. The convoy sailed on 6 January 1940.

3 Maj T. W. Harrison, OBE, m.i.d.; Hanmer; born Dunedin, 9 May 1912; medical practitioner; DADMS 2 NZEF Jan–Mar 1940; Registrar 4 Gen Hosp Jul–Oct 1940; 4 Fd Amb Oct 1940–Sep 1942; surgeon 1 Mob CCS Sep 1942–Jul 1943; surgeon 3 Gen Hosp Jul 1943–Jun 1944.

4 Brig K. MacCormick, CB, CBE, DSO, ED, m.i.d.; Auckland; born Auckland, 13 Jan 1891; surgeon; 1 NZEF 1914–19: Egypt, Gallipoli, France–OC 2 Fd Amb Dec 1917–Jan 1918; DADMS 1 NZ Div Jan-Oct 1918; ADMS Northern Military District 1930-34; ADMS 2 NZEF Jan–Oct 1940; DMS 2 NZEF Oct 1940–May 1942, Sep 1942–Apr 1943.