Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

The Withdrawal of the New Zealand Division

The Withdrawal of the New Zealand Division

Under strong enemy pressure 5 Brigade disengaged and withdrew according to plan during the night of 16–17 April. It was followed by 4 Brigade the following night, the moves being covered by 6 Brigade which had been held in reserve, and this latter brigade fought a rearguard action as all forces withdrew to Thermopylae in accordance with the decision of 14 April. The withdrawal to the new line was completed by 20 April.

During the heavy fighting on and around Mount Olympus by 5 Brigade, the men of the medical units carried on their work of treatment and evacuation of the wounded with commendable zeal and courage, often going right up to the forward areas to bring out the wounded, and sometimes having to run the gauntlet of enemy fire.

In 4 Brigade's area at Servia the few casualties that went through 18 Battalion RAP were carried by donkeys led by the unit's stretcher-bearers. When the order came to fall back, the battalion was led back at night from Kastania across rugged country until it joined its transport on the road just before dawn. The RAP staff tried to carry some stretchers back, but the hills and ravines were so difficult to negotiate that they had to abandon them. Fortunately, no casualties occurred on the march out. Some of the men were so page 120 exhausted that they had to be pushed up the last hill to the waiting trucks on the road.

In the withdrawal the medical units retired with the brigades which they were serving.