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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Staffing of Ambulance Trains and Naval Carriers

Staffing of Ambulance Trains and Naval Carriers

The DMS General Headquarters, British Troops in Egypt, suggested that, in view of the very general shortage of medical personnel in the Middle East Force, 2 NZEF should take its share in line of communication services such as ambulance trains and ambulance carriers (naval). DDMS 2 NZEF, therefore, agreed to the formation of an ambulance train unit, comprising one medical officer and page 293 fourteen men, and an ambulance transport unit of three medical officers and thirty men. The latter unit was to be employed in the Mediterranean on the Warsawa, a Polish ship of 3000 tons, but was never actually used for this purpose owing to the ramming of the ship at Alexandria. An ambulance transport was defined as ‘a ship which carries cargo on the outward journey and casualties on the return journey’.

The ambulance train unit functioned from 28 November 1941 until 21 January 1942 and earned commendation for its efficient work.

A party of NZMC personnel comprising one medical officer and ten other ranks was detached for duty on the Hospital Ship Somersetshire, which evacuated casualties from forward areas on the Mediterranean coast to Alexandria. This group returned to Maadi on 6 March 1942.