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Medical Services in New Zealand and The Pacific


page vii


IN this third and final volume of the official medical history of New Zealand in the Second World War are covered the activities of the New Zealand Medical Corps with the Pacific forces, with prisoners of war in Europe, with the Royal New Zealand Navy, with the Royal New Zealand Air Force, with hospital ships, and the army and civil medical organisations in New Zealand. Preceding volumes are a clinical volume (War Surgery and Medicine) and a volume on the medical services in the Middle East and Italy, besides a unit history by J. B. McKinney of the medical units in the same theatres.

The Army in the Pacific had limited combat experience, but its story is important, especially if at any future time a New Zealand Division is required to assume a garrison or combatant role in the Pacific area. The Air Force record covers both New Zealand and Pacific activities, but no separate medical records are available of the New Zealand squadrons attached to the Royal Air Force. The medical service with our Navy was small, but it could not be disregarded, and its story has been comprehensively covered by Surgeon Captain H. K. Corkill.

The section on medical work with prisoners of war has been made possible by compendious reports by Captain J. Borrie and supplementary material by Brigadier W. H. B. Bull, who were both prisoners of war for four years along with many other New Zealand medical officers and orderlies.

The army medical organisation in New Zealand under Major-General Sir Fred Bowerbank was, of course, basic to any overseas activity and is broadly dealt with in this volume, along with planning by the National Medical Committee and related activities such as those of the Health Department.

The volume is a composite one and has been difficult to complete, partly because the phases of the medical war effort covered were largely outside the experience of the Medical Editor or his assistant, J. B. McKinney. A considerable debt, therefore, is owed to those who gave of their time to help with information and correction.

page viii

Medical war activities in the preservation of health, saving of hospital beds, conservation of manpower for the forces, and restoration of the sick and wounded to health with as little subsequent disability as possible, are vastly important to a nation's war effort and its public welfare. If this war history results in greater appreciation of what is involved and preserves some of the lessons of experience, it should prove its worth.

T. D. M. Stout,

Medical Editor

September 1957