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War Surgery and Medicine

The Foot Problem in 2 NZEF

The Foot Problem in 2 NZEF

Although movement of troops was generally carried out by motor transport there were occasions where marching was necessary. The GOC 2 NZEF considered that training for long marching was essential, and this was part of the routine of army training overseas. Two long marches were especially noted, the one in England by troops of the Second Echelon and the other in Egypt prior to the embarkation of the Division for Italy. As a result of these marches many men suffered from foot strain which had prolonged aftereffects, necessitating down-grading in several instances. This drew the attention of the Medical Corps to the necessity of graduated training, and the necessity for RMOs to ensure that any men subjected to the strain of long marches were physically fit beforehand and to provide for transport of those falling out during the march. The campaign in Crete made a lasting impression on senior combatant officers with regard to the necessity for only having grade A men in the Division. The long march across the island proved too strenuous for some of the men, especially those more accustomed to mechanical transport. The employment of graded men on the understanding that normally they would not have to march long distances was discountenanced, though conditions similar to those in Crete never arose again during the war. This led to an unnecessary restriction in manpower available for the Division, and would, in the future, quite negative any value of the Pulheems system of evaluation as far as the locomotor system was concerned.