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War Surgery and Medicine

Individual Precautions

Individual Precautions

The DGMS (Army and Air), Brigadier Bowerbank, prepared a series of lectures for senior medical officers of each transport to give to all troops of the First Echelon, and in a memorandum for combatant officers proceeding to Egypt the problem of hygiene was summed up on precautions in regard to the three ‘Fs’—food, fluid, flies.

Right from the time of arrival of New Zealand troops in Egypt in February 1940 the DMS 2 NZEF was most insistent on the observance of the hygiene arrangements in every possible detail. In his representations he was always supported by the GOC, and the unrelaxing vigilance of regimental medical officers and personnel of the hygiene unit, under Captain Wyn Irwin, gradually educated the officers and men in the necessity for proper sanitary arrangements, so that observance of essential health precautions became almost habitual.

The New Zealand Force was able to draw upon the experience of British divisions already in Egypt, visits being paid to different formations, and advice was received from the Deputy Director of Hygiene, British Troops in Egypt. The GOC 2 NZEF and DMS 2 NZEF had decided in Sydney, after reading an account by Sir Aldo Castellani of hygiene measures adopted by the Italians in Abyssinia, to introduce into 2 NZEF certain measures such as the disinfection of hands after leaving latrines and before partaking of food.