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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Medical Stores and Equipment

Medical Stores and Equipment

The sadly depleted condition of the New Zealand medical units on arrival in Crete was ameliorated by drawing upon 7 General Hospital for both extra equipment—such as tents, stretchers, and blankets—and drugs and medical stores. It was fortunate that the hospital had such adequate supplies. Later, further supplies were sent from Egypt by sea and air.

A major setback occurred when the SS Rawnsley (which had previously taken the male staff of 1 General Hospital from Greece to Egypt) was sunk by enemy action with 25 tons of medical supplies aboard. (A further reverse was to be suffered on 20 May when the entire reserve of medical stores in a tent at 7 General Hospital was lost following a direct hit by a bomb and subsequent fire.) Local civilian supplies were commandeered and gauze and flannelette obtained from ordnance stores to fulfil requirements. The 7th General Hospital eventually resorted to using sheets for bandages. The DDMS 2 NZEF, Brigadier MacCormick, was responsible for sending extra medical supplies from Egypt direct to the New Zealand force, together with some very welcome medical comforts.