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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Units at Sora

Units at Sora

As A Company, 5 Field Ambulance, moved into the house on the Sora road, the advanced party moved out again and went ahead to occupy a palatial house about half a mile from Sora itself. The company followed next day and continued to admit and treat battle casualties and sick. It was found that the civilians in the liberated towns regarded medical establishments as the ‘cornucopia’ of all the amenities of civilisation. They expected medical treatment, food, and a safe passage to their homes. This attitude of mind called for constant dissuasion and taxed the ingenuity of the linguists of the units. When 5 ADS arrived at Sora, the Padre wanted to ring the bell of the chapel for the inhabitants, but was dissuaded on the grounds that their physical hunger would probably be greater than their spiritual needs, and that a repetition of the miracle of the loaves and fishes would be the only adequate answer. The chapel bell was not tolled. Many Italians, however, were given medical treatment, the wounded among them being sent on to the MDS with soldier patients.

On 3 June the rest of 5 Field Ambulance arrived to run an MDS, and A Company moved out and bivouacked in the fields to the rear. The house was ideally suited for a hospital. There were 40 or more rooms, and all sections except the post-operative centre were accommodated on the ground floor. Two rooms for nursing were fitted up on the first floor, and three men from the CCS were attached for the nursing of abdominal and chest wound cases. Casualties were heavy, and the attached 1 General Hospital surgical team and 2 NZ FTU were kept busy. On the 4th one of the tarpaulin shelters was erected outside the house to facilitate reception and evacuation. There were no difficulties with holding patients as the large ballroom made an excellent ward. Several batteries of page 362 heavy guns nearby made conditions unpleasant both for casualties and the orderlies trying to get some sleep. Moreover, the Germans responded vigorously, some of their shells landing too close to the MDS for comfort.