Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Casualties from 4 and 10 Brigades

Casualties from 4 and 10 Brigades

The RMOs in the Galatas area suffered from the same deficiencies of equipment and supplies as did their fellow officers attached to 5 Brigade, and relied largely on captured German supplies when the fighting began. Captain Lomas of the Composite Battalion, however, had been able to procure adequate supplies from 7 General Hospital before the invasion, and after the hospital had withdrawn to the caves an abundant supply of stretchers and blankets was obtained from the abandoned site. The capture of 7 General Hospital and 6 Field Ambulance on 20 May upset evacuation arrangements. Instead of the field ambulance receiving casualties from the brigades, the position was temporarily reversed. Captain Dempsey of 18 Battalion had his RAP under a culvert on the main coast road next to his unit's area, and this culvert was given over to Captain Lovell for a dressing station for 6 Field Ambulance. page 176 The 19th Battalion was farther inland in rougher country, and Captain Carswell found it best to treat the wounded in trenches in the front-line positions. There were German snipers everywhere, in front, behind, and in between the New Zealand positions. In local positions it was estimated that German dead and wounded outnumbered New Zealand casualties by about twelve to one. After the first confused day German paratroops did not snipe at the medical officer or stretcher-bearers wearing Red Crosses. Evacuation of wounded was impossible by day, but was carried out at night in the single ration truck which visited the positions and took the wounded down the road direct to the dressing station. For lack of stretchers, the wounded had at first to be collected in blankets.

Captain Lomas had his Composite Battalion RAP at battalion headquarters, midway between Ruin Hill and Red Hill, in a ditch beside a track which ran from Galatas north-west to the coast. The wounded were brought in to this main RAP from the first-aid posts of the various companies of the Composite Battalion and 10 Brigade. This medical station, receiving as it did from the perimeter companies and battalions of 10 Brigade, was virtually an ADS, although owing to efficient evacuation by the truck drivers not much surgery was undertaken.

Headquarters 10 Brigade had two light trucks for all purposes, and these were used to evacuate the wounded. Later, the ASC drivers secured two more abandoned light trucks for the purpose. For several nights these drivers had to run the gauntlet of a machine-gun post manned by enemy paratroops, but they were never deterred and performed a magnificent task throughout the whole of the fighting in the Galatas area.