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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

British General Hospital

British General Hospital

The only military hospital on the island was 7 General Hospital—a 600-bed tented hospital established only a week before. This was situated on a promontory on the seashore about 2 ½ miles west of Canea, the site having been selected long before it was apparent that Crete would be invaded. There was a fairly large stretch of level, open land leading inland from the beach to the main coastal road from Canea to Maleme, and the hospital tents were widely dispersed in the area close to the road. The tents for the staff were placed nearer the sea. On the shore were several large caves capable of holding a considerable number of men.

The hospital accommodation at 7 General Hospital was quite inadequate to deal with all the wounded arriving from Greece, and in the early stages hundreds of men were sheltered under olive trees in transit camps, where dressings and treatment were undertaken by field ambulances. Besides 5 and 6 Field Ambulances, there were three Australian and two British field ambulances from Greece and also 189 Field Ambulance. The last-named had been stationed in Crete for a considerable period and was the only field ambulance with a stock of medical equipment, as the medical units from Greece had little equipment and no transport.