War Surgery and Medicine
As personal cleanliness is so important in promoting general bodily health, as well as in preventing skin disease, persistent pressure was applied by medical authorities for the provision of adequate bathing facilities in all areas. In base camps at Maadi and in Italy hot and cold showers were erected, but in the forward units, especially in the desert, little provision could be made. When near the coast all troops indulged freely in sea-bathing.
At Bardia in the advance from El Alamein, 4 Field Hygiene Section came into possession of an Italian mobile shower unit, and this was used to great advantage in the Division in subsequent campaigns. It could handle over 1000 men a day. It proved such a boon that there is a case for such units being part of the standard equipment of any force. In Tunisia, as soon as a unit was withdrawn from the line, the shower unit set up alongside a well and was providing hot showers within an hour. Likewise, a disinfestor was available when it was needed. When the Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit was formed extra showering facilities were provided. In Italy a number of units developed their own hot-water supply for showers by pumping water through the cooling system of unit water carts. When the mobile shower equipment wore out in Italy it was replaced by equipment made by 4 Field Hygiene Section to a plan of its own.