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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II

156 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

9 August 1942

I have just finished visiting our General Hospitals at Beirut, the Canal Area, and Helwan following personal experience of the greatest skill and care at No. 1 General Hospital while recovering from my wound. I feel that at the present moment, when there are so many battle casualties in our hospitals, you would be reassured to know something of the wonderful work of our medical services in looking after battle casualties.

Our hospitals are excellently equipped. The saline bath recently bought by the New Zealand Government and installed here is invaluable as the most modern treatment for certain types of wounds. The skill of the doctors and the nursing is of the highest standard and all serious cases have special day and night nurses.

The Director of Medical Services3 reports that the wounded arrive in excellent condition due to quick evacuation, including evacuation by air ambulances now in constant use, and to the high standard of medical attention by our field ambulances, whose excellent equipment and efficiency have greatly impressed the Medical Mission at present visiting the Middle East.4 A wonderful spirit of efficiency and devotion to duty is evident amongst all doctors, sisters, and attached services both in the hospitals and in the field. Finally, the great work of the medical services receives continual inspiration from the magnificent spirit of our wounded.

3 Brigadier H. S. Kenrick, CB, CBE, ED, was Director of Medical Services, 2nd NZEF, at this time. He held this appointment from 10 May – 18 Sep 1942 and 17 Apr 1943–22 May 1945. Brigadier K. MacCormick, CB, CBE, DSO, ED, was Deputy Director of Medical Services, 1 Oct 1940–8 Apr 1942, and Director of Medical Services, 8 Apr-10 May 1942 and 18 Sep 1942–17 Apr 1943.

4 A British group headed by Lieutenant-Colonel W. C. Wilson, FRCSE, Regius Professor of Surgery, University of Aberdeen, sent specially to the Middle East to do medical research.