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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Work of the Field Ambulances

Work of the Field Ambulances

In the quiescent period before fighting began a certain amount of surgery, including appendicectomy, was performed in the MDSs of the field ambulances. Minor cases of sickness were also held in the field ambulances for some days until they had recovered and were then discharged to their units. A surgical team from 1 General Hospital, consisting of a surgeon and an anaesthetist and equipped with some extra surgical instruments, was attached to 6 Field Ambulance to enable major surgery to be carried out in the divisional area should circumstances make this necessary. (This surgical team performed a considerable amount of major surgery in Greece and Crete and furnished a most valuable report on its experiences, with recommendations which were of great value to our medical services later in the war.)

page 135

When hostilities threatened, orders were given to the field ambulances by Colonel Kenrick not to carry out any but the most urgent surgery of the civilian type. During the campaign 4 Field Ambulance treated 350 wounded, 5 Field Ambulance 534, and 6 Field Ambulance 87.