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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

The Medical Plan

The Medical Plan

There was available in Crete before the arrival of the force from Greece two British medical units and a field hygiene section. The medical units were 7 General Hospital and 189 Field Ambulance, the latter without one company, which had been functioning in Greece. The general hospital had only been set up for a week before the arrival of our troops, although 189 Field Ambulance had been on Crete for a longer period. The 7th General Hospital was sited on the seashore just to the west of Canea, unfortunately in a position very vulnerable to both seaborne and airborne attack. The 189th Field Ambulance was sited in the vicinity of Suda Bay. Thus both were able to serve the New Zealand sector.

The New Zealand units available were 5 and 6 Field Ambulances and 4 Field Hygiene Section, all without the minimum equipment. When the ADMS NZ Division, Colonel Kenrick, was appointed DDMS Crete Force on 7 May and the CO 6 Field Ambulance, Lieutenant-Colonel Bull, became ADMS NZ Division, the administration of the New Zealand medical services was, for the first and only time during the war, completely under the control of its own medical personnel. The units worked in the utmost harmony with the British and Australian medical units and personnel, especially with 7 General Hospital, the major hospital unit on Crete. New Zealand personnel worked on the staff of 7 General Hospital and a surgeon was on the staff of 189 Field Ambulance, which also ran a large extemporised hospital during the campaign.

The medical plan as it affected our troops consisted in the servicing of 5 Infantry Brigade by 5 Field Ambulance and of 4 Infantry Brigade and the composite 10 Infantry Brigade by 6 Field Ambulance. Both field ambulances evacuated to 7 General Hospital, page 159 which used 6 Field Ambulance as a convalescent depot. Later, 189 Field Ambulance Hospital was used for the overflow from 7 General Hospital. A tented naval hospital, landed on 10 May and sited south of Canea, was also very actively employed during the campaign, treating mainly Australians and New Zealanders.