New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
HOSTILITIES had ceased in North Africa with the surrender of Marshal Messe, Commander of the Italian First Army, to Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Freyberg on 13 May 1943. It was immediately decided that 2 NZ Division would return by road from Tunisia to Egypt and would rest and reorganise in Maadi Camp. The three field ambulances accompanied the divisional troops on their long trek. But after DMS 2 NZEF had conferred with the Medical Directorate, General Headquarters Middle East Force, it was decided that 3 General Hospital, 1 Convalescent Depot, 1 CCS, and NZ Section MAC would all remain in the Tripoli area in the meantime to cope with recent casualties, and also possibly to assist with casualties from the invasion of Sicily.
In order to make room for divisional troops in Maadi Camp it was necessary for the training depots, Reception Depot, and some other base units (numbering in all about 2500 men) to move to a camp at Mena near the Pyramids, a distance of about 20 miles from Maadi. Separate medical arrangements were made for this camp, but cases for admission to hospital were taken by motor ambulance car to 1 General Hospital, Helwan, or 23 Field Ambulance, Maadi, in accordance with previous practice.