New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
Rations and the handling of them were specially investigated in view of the fly menace. Inspections carried out along the supply line from the field maintenance centre to units showed that precautions precluded the possibility of infection of food, except perhaps for bread, which was uncovered until it reached the field maintenance centre. The conclusion reached by OC 4 Field Hygiene Section after conversing with personnel of all units was that great satisfaction was felt concerning the rations. The standard was good and the supply sufficient. With the rations, plus those extras which most units provided out of regimental funds, it was considered that the diet was adequate.
While the men endured the discomforts of the desert a continuous stream of vehicles moved backwards and forwards over sandy desert tracks, great clouds of dust in their wake. They brought forward increasing quantities of food, water, and ammunition. The main items in the rations were bread, biscuits, bully beef, tinned stew, tinned sausages, cheese, and margarine. Then, with improved organisation, came fresh tomatoes, lettuce, melons, marrows, potatoes, onions, and limes. The water ration was small—one water-bottle and then one gallon a day for each man—for drinking, washing, and cooking; occasionally the issue was increased to permit of a real wash. In spite of all they had gone through, the men were comparatively fresh—fit, lean, and very brown, but not hard.