New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
Until the end of April large bodies of troops were still arriving from Greece. On 28 April 6 officers and 57 men rejoined their unit, 5 Field Ambulance, at Ay Marina. At the embarkation beach at Porto Rafti on the night of 24–25 April they had boarded a tank landing craft too late to reach the ships of the convoy, which had put page 155 to sea. The naval authorities sent the party in the landing craft to the small island of Kea offshore, whence they were taken back to Porto Rafti in a tank landing craft on the evening of 26 April and put aboard HMS Carlisle, which put them ashore at Suda Bay on 27 April. The NCO and 16 men from 4 Field Ambulance who had been attached to 2/1 Australian Field Ambulance, which was serving with 4 Infantry Brigade at the time of the final withdrawal in Greece, embarked at Porto Rafti on the night of 26–27 April on a destroyer and landed on Crete the following day. They were sent to 6 Field Ambulance and became members of the groups on duty at 7 General Hospital, whence they accompanied to Egypt the wounded who were evacuated by the hospital ship Aba on 5 May. An officer of 1 General Hospital, Captain Kirk, reached Crete on 29 April in a small boat, having been three nights and two days en route. A party of twenty-one members of 1 General Hospital, on duty at 26 General Hospital, Kifisia, and the Convalescent Hospital at Voula, also escaped to Crete and on their arrival were sent to 7 General Hospital, where they performed valuable service.
Major-General Freyberg arrived from Greece on 29 April, having been embarked on HMS Ajax at Monemvasia the previous night with the last detachments of New Zealand troops to be withdrawn under the Navy's organised evacuation. Fourth Field Ambulance had also been aboard HMS Ajax, but on arrival at Suda Bay was transferred to the Thurland Castle which took it to Egypt.