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War Surgery and Medicine

Rank of Laboratory Technicians

Rank of Laboratory Technicians

Shortly after the amendment to the 2 NZEF WE in November 1943 it was found that the WE for 3 Division in the Pacific was:

General Hospital (600 beds):
Staff-Sergeant 1
Sergeants 3

The 2 NZEF WE compared very unfavourably with this, and it seemed that the technicians who had served long and worked hard in the Middle East had been treated unjustly in contrast. Accordingly it was suggested that after:

  • 3 months a trainee should become Lance-Corporal

  • 9 months a trainee should become Corporal

  • 18 months a trainee should become Sergeant

if there was a vacancy for a sergeant on the establishment.

In reply it was suggested from the office of the DGMS that qualified technicians on enlistment should become sergeants at once and that trainees ‘after 6 months efficient service’ should become sergeants. The first of these proposals was fair: the second over generous.

However, it was recognised as a bad principle that the different divisions of the New Zealand Army should have different ranks for personnel doing the same work—and letters to this effect reached the Minister of Defence and appeared in the daily papers. One difficulty lay in the question of similar rank for radiographers, dispensers, etc.

Finally, after considerable correspondence in July 1944, the WE for 2 NZEF was amended to:

General Hospitals
600 beds 900 beds
Staff-Sergeant 1 1
Sergeant 1 1
Corporal 1 2
Lance-Corporal 2 2

For the future it might be suggested that the Senior Technician-in-charge should be a qualified and experienced ‘Hospital Bacteriologist’ and should be given commissioned rank. There should also be in every General Hospital laboratory a technician with considerable experience in biochemistry.

A General Hospital laboratory should always have a Pathologist (Medical Officer) in charge.