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Medical Services in New Zealand and The Pacific

XIII: Medical Arrangements for United States Forces in New Zealand

XIII: Medical Arrangements for United States Forces in New Zealand

In June 1942 there came to New Zealand United States troops of 37 Division, United States Army, and 1 Marine Division, United States Marine Corps. In the anxious days of 1942 the Dominion became a base for operations in the South-west Pacific. Thousands of green-uniformed Marines were in camps in the North Island and with them came huge quantities of American war equipment.

The units of 37 Division disembarked at Auckland and went to camps in the area south of Auckland at Manurewa, Papakura, Karaka, Opaheke and Pukekohe. First Marine Division disembarked page 289 at Wellington and occupied camps north of Wellington at Kaiwharawhara, Porirua, Titahi Bay, Judgeford, Pauatahanui, Paekakariki and Paraparaumu.

Complete co-ordination was established between the United States Forces and the New Zealand Army from the time of disembarkation onwards. Considerable liaison was carried out by the medical staff of Army Headquarters with the administrative medical officers of the American division, with a view to assisting them in the organisation of their medical arrangements. The United States medical units agreed to assist in the supply of much-needed drugs and other medical requirements.

Jurisdiction over camp areas with regard to the allotment of accommodation and camp organisation belonged exclusively to the American divisions.

The American units were fairly independent. For instance, they had their own medical units within their camps to service them, and in addition established their own hospitals in buildings made available to them. At Silverstream the buildings nearing completion for a convalescent depot were handed over to them for 6 US Naval Mobile Hospital, while at Hobson Park, Auckland, 4 US Naval Mobile Hospital of 1000 beds was established. Also, 39 General Hospital of the US Army established a 1000-bed hospital at Green Lane, Auckland, and construction was begun on a building for a naval hospital to accommodate 2000 patients at Middlemore, Auckland.

The hospitals were used for the reception of invalids from the South Pacific as well as for cases of sickness from the local American forces.

The policy of the New Zealand Army Medical Service was to co-operate with and assist the United States Medical Services wherever possible. Thus 12 Field Ambulance supplied motor ambulance transport in the Auckland area and 13 Field Ambulance acted similarly in the Wellington area.

For its part the US Navy made itself responsible for the whole of the transport of New Zealand personnel and equipment between New Zealand and the South Pacific bases.