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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Medical Units with Second Echelon

Medical Units with Second Echelon

To form the field medical unit for the Second Echelon the officers and NCOs of 5 Field Ambulance, under Lieutenant-Colonel Kenrick,1 commenced a course of training at Burnham on 8 December 1939, concluding it on 6 January 1940. Most of the officers and NCOs had had some years of territorial training. The main body of the unit began to arrive in camp on 10 January 1940. Most of the men were new to medical work as well as to army life. Like 4 Field Ambulance before them, they were given training in all departments of field ambulance duties. Training was extended into April, pending the arrival of ships to take the Second Echelon overseas, and 5 Field Ambulance left Burnham for Lyttelton on 30 April to go by ferry to Wellington, where the unit embarked on HMT Aquitania on 1 May. The strength of the unit, including attached personnel, was 14 officers and 230 other ranks.

As planned, a general hospital staff was called up with the Second Echelon. The first members of 1 General Hospital began to assemble at Trentham Camp on 12 January 1940 under the command of Colonel McKillop.2 Only a few had had previous territorial training. Training consisted of squad and company drill, first aid, bandaging, and stretcher drill, while as many men as possible were employed in rotation at the camp hospital where they were given lectures by sisters of the NZANS. The hospital's establishment provided for specialists in the different branches of medicine and surgery. In addition to experienced general physicians and surgeons there was a specialist in tropical medicine, an orthopaedic surgeon, an eye and ENT surgeon, and an anaesthetist.

Embarkation on the Empress of Britain took place on the night of 1 May at Wellington. Small sections of medical officers and sisters were detached to provide medical services on the sister ships of

1 Brig H. S. Kenrick, CB, CBE, ED, m.i.d., MC (Greek); Auckland; born Paeroa, 7 Aug 1898; consulting obstetrician; 1 NZEF 1916–19: infantry officer 4 Bn; CO 5 Fd Amb Dec 1939–May 1940; acting ADMS 2 NZEF, Jun–Sep 1940; ADMS 2 NZ Div Oct 1940–May 1942; DMS 2 NZEF May–Sep 1942, Apr 1943–May 1945; Superintendent-in-Chief, Auckland Hospital Board.

2 Col A. C. McKillop, m.i.d.; Christchurch; born Scotland, 9 Mar 1885; Superintendent, Sunnyside Hospital, Christchurch; 1 NZEF: medical officer, Samoa, Egypt, Gallipoli, 1914–16; CO 1 Gen Hosp Jan 1940–Jun 1941; ADMS 3 Div (Fiji) Aug 1941–Jul 1942; ADMS 1 Div (NZ) Aug 1942–Mar 1943.

page 36 the convoy-Aquitania, Empress of Japan, and Andes. The unit's total strength was 21 officers, 37 sisters, and 145 other ranks.

The staff of 1 Convalescent Depot was assembled at Trentham at the same time as that of 1 General Hospital and underwent the same training. They were originally under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Spencer,1 but on the eve of sailing Colonel Spencer was given command of 2 General Hospital and Lieutenant-Colonel Boag2 took his place. The convalescent depot also embarked at Wellington on the evening of 1 May 1940, its ship being the Empress of Japan. Its strength was 5 officers and 49 other ranks.

1 Col F. M. Spencer, OBE, m.i.d.; born Rotorua, 3 Oct 1893; medical practitioner; 1 NZEF: NCO NZMC 1914, medical officer 1918–19, 1 Gen Hosp, 1 Fd Amb, 1 Bn Canterbury Regt; CO 2 Gen Hosp Apr 1940-Jun 1943; died, North Africa, Jun 1943.

2 Lt-Col N. F. Boag, ED; Christchurch; born Leeston, 13 Aug 1897; medical practitioner; CO 1 Conv Depot Mar–Dec 1940.