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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Medical Units

Medical Units

In the early days of July 4 MDS remained open for the treatment of casualties and sick. Considerable quantities of blood, plasma, serums, and saline were given to patients, a number of whom had page 343 received severe injuries in heavy dive-bombing attacks, and voluntary blood donors were used extensively. The CO 14 CCS, in fact, sent a verbal message to CO 4 Field Ambulance congratulating him on the excellent state of the patients received from the unit. This, it was felt, was due to a great extent to the rapid evacuation to the MDS and the generous use of intravenous fluids, plasma, serum, and blood transfusions.

On 1 July arrangements were made to evacuate cases by 2 MAC through 15 CCS, stationed on the line of evacuation to the medical centre at Gharbaniyat, and a section of 2 MAC was attached to 4 MDS for this purpose. It had been decided previously, however, by Eighth Army to utilise a fresh desert axis leading from the south flank of the front deep across the desert to join the Cairo-Alexandria road, and 15 CCS and 2 MAC were detailed to operate on this axis. A small convoy was sent to 15 CCS on 1 July, but next day neither 15 CCS nor 2 MAC could be contacted as they had moved off without notifying the MDS. The 16th MAC, however, had made contact with the MDS late in the evening of 2 July and evacuated sixty-six cases next day.

On 4 July a reconnaissance was made of the route taken by 15 CCS and it was found to be impossible for ambulance evacuation; and, in the meantime, all cases were evacuated to 14 CCS at Gharbaniyat, partly by our own New Zealand ambulances and trucks and partly by 16 MAC from 30 Corps. Strong representations to Headquarters 13 Corps by ADMS 2 NZ Division resulted in the MAC service being re-established on 6 July, still evacuating to 14 British CCS.

Medical equipment and Red Cross stores arrived from Maadi Camp on 3 July and were divided equally between 4 and 5 Field Ambulances. Further medical stores arrived from Maadi on 8 July, and plasma on 10 July.

Casualties treated by the field ambulances from 27 June to 7 July were:

Battle Casualties Sick
4 Field Ambulance 612 304
5 Field Ambulance 157 133
6 Field Ambulance 47 109
816 546

On 6 July 5 Field Ambulance moved west until it was just south of Kaponga Box and opened an MDS, but following an alteration in the divisional plan it moved back next day to the 4 MDS site at page 344 Deir el Tarfa, 4 MDS having closed earlier in the day and moved to Mirbat Aza. Then 5 MDS remained open until 16 July, during which time 1095 cases were treated. In addition to bomb and shell casualties, there were many wounded from the fierce battles for Ruweisat Ridge.