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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

The Work of the Regimental Medical Officers

The Work of the Regimental Medical Officers

The RMOs were faced with difficulties and serious discomforts in their work during this period. Their equipment varied considerably, some having a 15-cwt truck, some a three-tonner, but generally an ambulance was also attached to each battalion. In some cases a 3-ton truck had been especially fitted up for the RAP. Four-wheel-drive vehicles were obtained if possible, as sandy areas had to be negotiated and the desert surface was often very rough. Unit trucks and Bren carriers were utilised to take the wounded to the RAP and ambulances to transport them to the ADS. Frequently ambulances were utilised in front of the RAP.

Casualties from minefields and from bombing were frequent. The minefields caused many casualties amongst the ambulance page 360 personnel when the ambulances were used away from the cleared tracks. Large Red Cross flags were flown by the RAPs, and large crosses painted on top of the 3-ton trucks.

Wound treatment was simple and splinting, except of the simplest kind, was generally left to the ADS. Speed of evacuation was the aim. The sand and heat were oppressive and there was only the minimum supply of water.