Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy
After handing over to 4 MDS at Atessa, B Company, 6 Field Ambulance, under Maj Edmundson, as ADS for 6 Brigade, had moved forward five miles to set up in a farmhouse about half a mile from the Via Sangritada. Most of the men installed themselves in a thatched hut, bedding down beneath racks of drying tobacco leaves. Others dug in and erected bivvies. As, from day to day, the attack was postponed, the company had little to do beyond treating and evacuating an occasional casualty and attending to a trickle of sickness cases. The area was in sight of the German positions; but no Red Cross signs were displayed as it was thought that they would give away positions of troops and indicate the point selected for the river-crossing. Consequently, the house came in for its share of shellfire.
On 23 November several shells landed in the area, hitting three parked Engineers' trucks, wounding several men, and blowing up a compressor. It was growing too hot a spot for a dressing station, and the company packed up the equipment and moved into the bed of a nearby stream, a tributary of the Sangro, and set up among thickets of bamboo, the men digging themselves into the muddy banks. It was a desolate place. The nights were cold and the days dismal, and rainstorms were heavy and frequent. With the movement of troops and transport, the countryside slowly disappeared under the mud.
B Company, 5 Field Ambulance, under Maj MacCormac, as ADS for 5 Brigade, had accompanied the brigade to the south of the Sangro on its five-day journey from Taranto, beginning on 18 November. When the ADS arrived at its destination, the Germans arranged a stirring welcome by dropping several shells in its area. The shelling continued on and off, two duds finally damaging the page 319 latrine. After that the vehicles were taken farther round the hill, out of sight of the German observation posts, and things quietened down. On the 26th the ADS moved two miles farther up, to a valley one mile behind the start line, and awaited the coming attack.