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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

New Zealand Medical Administration

New Zealand Medical Administration

On 10 March, when Colonel Kenrick reported to General Freyberg and Brigadier Large, he was informed that he was to take over the medical responsibility of the forward area. He was also given details of the approximate date of the arrival of the various units in the forward area and the positions they were to take in the line. Until 13 March he was occupied with Brigadier Large, Colonel Alexander, and Colonel McKillop, CO 1 General Hospital, in the selection of a site for the hospital, and on 14 March, as ADMS Forward Area, he proceeded by car to Katerini via Elasson and over the Mount Olympus road to make his first reconnaissance of the forward areas. The first combatant troops, 18 Battalion, arrived by train at Katerini the same day.

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The difficulties of terrain, bad roads, and poor communications—both road and rail—were at once apparent. When Colonel Kenrick crossed the shoulder of Mount Olympus it was snowing hard, emphasising the wisdom of the last-minute decision to send the troops from Egypt in battle dress rather than in summer kit. The country was bristling with problems from the medical point of view, and some of these are briefly surveyed.