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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Promotion of NCOs

Promotion of NCOs

It was also decided at the conference of senior medical officers on 10 June that future promotions of NCOs above the rank of corporal should be on a corps and not a unit basis. Various anomalies had arisen through: (a) excessive losses in some units; (b) formation of new units; (c) arrival of reinforcement NCOs. The new system would ensure that the claims of all suitable men were considered for promotions. For the purpose a complete nominal roll was compiled. The system could not be of complete general application in that certain NCOs were specialists such as dispensers and radiological and laboratory technicians.

Promotion of NCOs was always a vexed question. In order to prevent difficulties and disappointments DDMS 2 NZEF had recommended to DGMS Army Headquarters on 8 October 1940 that all reinforcement NCOs should be given temporary rank only. This would allow for reduction of rank if need be in fairness to experienced men who had preceded them overseas.

When the 6th Reinforcements arrived at the end of July 1941 a high proportion of NCOs was noted, namely 28 to 197 other ranks. Even though the ranks were temporary there was considerable difficulty, and some disappointment, to the reinforcement NCOs who were reduced in rank, as well as to established units who had to absorb these NCOs, even at reduced rank, and so block promotion to men who had done good work in the unit. As was understandable, the units who had served throughout Greece and Crete had quite marked feeling on the matter, although some of the new arrivals page 244 had served with 8 Brigade in Fiji. DDMS 2 NZEF had to ask that the number and rank of reinforcement NCOs be kept as low as possible after their arrival by a board nominated by him which, as far as possible, should consist of OC 1 Camp Hospital, the Officer-in-Charge NZMC Training Cadre, an officer with experience of field ambulance work, and an officer from one of the general hospitals.

This system was applied fairly successfully with the 7th Reinforcements, but with a break of over a year before the arrival of the 8th Reinforcements, some of whom had substantive rank, the system was not so rigorously applied then or at later dates. Consequently, there were always grounds for a certain measure of discontent on the question. Unit promotion also came to be the accepted rule instead of corps promotion, except for first appointments to commissions.