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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

3 General Hospital (4th Reinforcements)

3 General Hospital (4th Reinforcements)

After tentative plans made earlier in 1940 for the mobilisation of a third general hospital had been cancelled, representations from General Freyberg in September 1940 led to the calling-up of 3 General Hospital in October. The Commanding Officer, Colonel Gower,1 entered Trentham Camp on 27 October and the rest of the unit arrived in the next three days.

The 4th Reinforcements then in camp embarked in three separate sections, and according to the usual practice a medical officer and a few orderlies were sent with each departing transport. No. 3 General Hospital embarked on the Nieuw Amsterdam with the third section of the 4th Reinforcements on 1 February 1941, the number embarking being 14 officers (including a dental officer and a chaplain), 48 sisters, and 143 other ranks.

After the departure of 3 General Hospital no further medical units were formed in New Zealand to extend the medical services of 2 NZEF in the Middle East. Other units, notably the Casualty Clearing Station, were established in the Middle East. This enabled full use to be made of the capable officers and men who already had considerable experience of overseas conditions.

Medical reinforcements from New Zealand proceeded overseas with each general reinforcement and also on HS Maunganui.

1 Brig G. W. Gower, CBE, ED, m.i.d.; Hamilton; born Invercargill, 15 Apr 1887; surgeon; 1 NZEF 1915–19: medical officer 133 Br Fd Amb, 1915, 1 Gen Hosp 1916–18; surgeon, Christchurch Military Hospital, 1919; CO 3 Gen Hosp Oct 1940–May 1945; DMS 2 NZEF May–Oct 1945.