Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Book: "The New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War." Free online


Recommended Posts

While searching for info on bathing and laundry facilities on the Western Front, I came across The New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War online here. I found some very interesting info in chapter VIII on the procedure for securing billets (161), the sanitation regulations for close billeting (100 or more men) (p 162), the adoption and training of chiropodists (like a podiatrist) (179), sanitation responsibilities to an occupied municipality (173), control/oversight of licensed brothels (178), as well as info on the divisional baths, laundry and disinfesting plant established at Pont, de Nieppe (176).


I've pasted the table of contents below. Book link: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz//tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Medi-t1-front-d5.html

Introduction by Major-Genl. Sir W. G. Macpherson, K.C.M.G., C.B., LL.D. xii.
List of Abbreviations x.
List of Maps ix.
Preface xiv.
Notes on some Military Formations xix.
Section I.—Mobilisation.
Chapter I.—Formation and Organisation of the N.Z.M.C.
Colonial Medical Service 2
Formation of the N.Z.M.C. 7
Outbreak of War 12
Chapter II.—Mobilisation and Embarkation.
The Samoan Force 14
The Main Body 17
Action at the Suez Canal 24
Embarkation for Lemnos 27
Chapter III.—The Landing at Anzac.
Medical Arrangements 31
Landing of the Bearers 39
Scandals of the Evacuations 48
Operations at Helles 53
Chapter IV.—Summer Months at Anzac. N.Z.Bases in 1915.
Sickness Wastage and Sanitation 59
Medical Administration of the Home Base 67
Base Units in Egypt, 1915 76
Chapter V.—The August Battles.
Medical Corps Operation Orders 79
Assaults on Sari Bair 83
Wounded at No. 2 Outpost 95
Hill 60 102
Chapter VI.—The Evacuation of Gallipoli.
Exhaustion of the Troops 109
The Sanitary Commission 116
The Blizzard 123
Medical Arrangements for Evacuation 132
Section III.—The Western Front.
Chapter VII.—Mobilisation of the New Zealand Division.
Recruiting in New Zealand, 1915 137
Formation of the Division 142
Camp Sanitation at Ismailia 147
Embarkation for France 158
Chapter VIII.—Armentieres.
The Armentières Sector 164
Methods of Evacuating Wounded 168
Municipal Sanitation 173
The Raids 180PAGE VIII
Chapter IX.—The Somme. 1916.
The Military Situation 191
Operations near Flers 198
Bogle's Post 205
Work at the Dressing Stations 212
Operations 25th, 26th, 27th September 216
Operations 2nd October 220
Chapter X.—Sailly sur la Lys.
Sickness Wastage. The D.R.S. 231
Medical Officers Training School 243
Gas Casualties at Fleurbaix 253
Chapter XI.—At the Bases in 1916.
The Second Epidemic at Trentham 256
Trentham Military Hospital 259
N.Z.E.F. Base in England 265
Chapter XII.—Preparations for Messines.
Ploegsteert—Le Touquet Sector 270
No. 4. N.Z. Field Ambulance 275
The Military Situation 280
Medical Arrangements 282
Divisional Medical Posts 285
Chapter XIII.—Messines.
Zero Hour 297
Night of the 7/8th June, 1916 301
Medical Reports on the Operations 307
Work at the Westhoff C.M.D.S. 311
Estimate of Casualties 315
Chapter XIV.—After Messines.
Shell Shock, N.Y.D.N. 318
La Basse Ville 328
Mustard Gas 325
Chapter XV.—Passchendaele.
Operations at Gravenstaffel 4th to 6th October, 1917 331
Otto Farm 337
Operations near Bellevue Spur 11th to 18th October 343
Waterloo Farm 347
Medical Reports on the Operations 351
Chapter XVI—New Zealand L.O.C. in 1917.
Poldernhoeek Chateau 365
Medical Administration of the N.Z.E.F. 366
General Hospitals in 1917 369
N.Z. Hospital Ships 375
Military Hospitals in N.Z. 380
Chapter XVII.—The German Offensive, 1918.
The Military Situation 382
Division Advancing from Hédauville 387
La Signy Farm 394
The Line Stabilised 399
Chapter XVIII.—Bapaume.
Fusileer Trench 405
Operations at Bapaume 21st to 31st August. 1918 409
Riencourt and Bancourt 415
Trescault Spur 420
Chapter XIX.—The Final Campaign on the Western Front.
The Military Situation 424
Bon Avis Ridge 430
Crèvecœur 432
Advance to the Selle River 437
Le Quesnoy 441PAGE IX
Section IV.—Sinai and Palestine.
Chapter XX.—N.Z.M.C. In Sinai and Palestine.
The Battle of Romani 453
Invation of Palestine 458
Capture of Beersheba 464
Operations in Moab, March 1918 473
Final Operation 480
Chapter XXI.—Demobilisation.
Work of the General Hospitals in 1918 485
Outbreaks of Purulent Bronchitis 490
Demobilisation of Medical Units 497
The Ambulances on the Rhine 498
Chapter XXII.—Reconstruction in New Zealand.
The Staff of the Surgeon-General 502
The Great Influenza Epidemic 506
Military Hospitals and Reconstruction 510
Appendix I—Nominal Roll of Colonial Medical Officers, 1845-1860 519
Appendix A. I.—N.Z.M.C. Strength, Casualties 520
II.—Killed in Action. Died of Wounds. Died of Disease 521
III.—Honours and Awards 526
IV.—Nominal Roll of Wounded 531
V.—New Zealand Army Nursing Service Strength and Casualties 536
VI.—Specifications of Hospital Ships 536
Appendix B. I.—Graph showing Percentage of Population Recruited in New Zealand 537
II.—Casualties in N.Z. Expeditionary Force 538
III.—Analysis of Deaths by Disease 539
IV.—Composition of the New Zealand Division in 1918—Personnel 540
Appendix C. I.—Note on Medical Arrangements for the landing at Anzac 541
II.—Dysentery at Anzac 542
III.—Scale of Rations on Gallipoli 543
Appendix D. I.—Medical Officers Training School 1916/1917. Syllabus of Course 544
II.—Examination Paper Set at 4th Course, 1917 545
III.—N.Z. Divisional Sanitary School Syllabus of Training 546
Appendix E. I.—War Organisation of Medical Headquarters in New Zealand, 1918 548
II.—War Pensions in New Zealand 549
Appendix II.—Bibliography and Notes for Student of Military Medical History 550
LIST OF MAPS (in pocket).
1. General Staff Map—N.W. Europe, part 1 and part of 4 1/250,000
2. General Staff Map—N.W. Europe, part 4 1/250,000
3 Map of Anzac—Compiled by New Zealand Governmen  


Edited by catfishmo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

This is a great resource....I have used it extensively in my article entitle 'Casualty Evacuation Scheme, Battle of Messines, 7-12 June 1917' which is available for free download at my website: http://www.pshistory.com/articles/casualty-evacuation-scheme-battle-of-messines-7-june-1917/



Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, jvkpaulsutton said:

This is a great resource....I have used it extensively in my article entitle 'Casualty Evacuation Scheme, Battle of Messines, 7-12 June 1917' which is available for free download at my website: http://www.pshistory.com/articles/casualty-evacuation-scheme-battle-of-messines-7-june-1917/



Fantastic research, Paul! Few questions:


-I had been under the impression that generally a British soldier was passed though "British-manned" stops along the evacuation chain (RAP, ADS, CCS, etc). But with so much activity concentrated in the relatively small Messines area, your article suggests that a British soldiers might have been passed through a NZ or Australian ADS, MDS, etc. Is that correct or was my initial assumption of a Tommy being treated at British stops incorrect?

-Is the photo of a field medical card on your FB page a public domain photo? I have had a hard time finding good examples of them.

-Your article states, "Once at a CCS, if the injury wasn't too serious, the soldier would be transferred to a nearby General or Stationary Hospital within the Army area for rehabilitation prior to returning to his unit." I thought general hospitals were pretty much only in Base areas (not particularly 'near' to a CCS) and that stationary hospitals between Base towns and CCSs were mostly for treating non-combatant personnel like rail workers, animal handlers, supply depot people etc. However, I find the differences in general and stationary hospitals to be fuzzy, and it seems that by the end of the war, hospitals with the name 'stationary hospital' were doing the same work as general hospitals in Base areas. Do you have any insight into this stationary vs general hospital 'puzzle'? 

-You noted that when casualties arrived in Dover "the laborious task of separating the men and planning to which medical facilities in the United Kingdom they were to be sent was undertaken." I thought that was decided prior to leaving France and the receiving hospital was telegrammed so all transportation and the receiving facility would be prepared by the time patients arrived in Dover. This too seems to be a fuzzy issue that perhaps evolved or changed over the course of the war. Any insight on this?

-Finally, what prompted you to do all this research? A thesis perhaps? And you did all of that research and wrote this from Aug to May? Impressive! Your life must have been consumed by this....


Finally, for those interested in all things WWI medical, I have organized a gazillion WWI photos on Wiki Commons, and since my primary interest is the medical aspects of the war, those photos got particular attention. The general category for all the medical photos is "Military medical services in World War I" and can be found here. Categories often have subcategories, so dig around if you are looking for something in particular. For excellent examples of typical Regimental Aid Posts, Dressing stations, CCSs, and other field-type hospitals, see "World War I field hospitals" here. For photos of all modes of patient transportation (Ambulance Trains, Hospital ships, Hospital barges, stretchers, light rail, and other forms of wheeled patient conveyance) see "World War I transport of wounded" here


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Catfishmo - thanks fot your kind words.


Certainly in the case of the Australians, but I would assume the same was the case for the NZ, Canadian and SA governments, there was an acceptance by them, and the British, that they lacked the resources to fully manage the entire chain of treatment of their own casualties. As such it was accepted that casualties would all need to be merged into a joint evacuation and treatment chain.Whilst each of these Dominions provided a range of medical units none were sufficiently independent that they could only be used for their own casualties. That said the MO's at the unit RAPs and the Field Ambulances were all located in the Divisional area and cleared from that area and so one would expect they would only handle casualties from their own division ( and nationality). Perhaps for the majority this was so however that wasnt always the case. As the article demonstrates where British and Australian Divisions were fighting side by side it was not unusual for Australian casualties, in the ensuing chaos,  to end by being cleared by a British MO at a British RAP - and no doubt vice versa. The research I have done on the 47th Battalion, AIF also shows that Australians were frequently transferred from an Australian Field Ambulance to a NZ Field Ambulance for rest prior to return to their units.


Once a casualty arrived at a railhead they were admitted to whichever CCS was 'open' at the time. If there were British, Canadian and Australian CCS located there, it is reasonable to suppose a British soldier could end up in the non-British ones depending on his wound classification and which were admitting at the time. (As there were no Canadian infantry involved at Messines presumably all the casualties the Canadian CCS handled were of a different nationality). Whilst we have no admission records for the ADS/MDS it is, again, reasonable to suppose there was a degree of mixing up. 


Once at the Base areas the vast majority of hospitals were British units and as such the non-British casualties had no choice but be admitted to British units. The same was also the case in England. All the  central 'war hospitals' were British and so the non-British casualty would always be admitted and handled by the British for treatment. It was only after the completion of the 'treatment' phase and the beginning of the 'rehabilitation' phase that you start to see a deliberate segregation of nationalites and their rehabilitation by their own governments and medical units. The Australians had three Auxiliary Hospitals in England where casualties were always discharged to from the Central hospitals - I have found no evidence of an Australian going to an non-Australian rehabilitaion unit. Whilst I've not researched this, I would presume the Canadian/NZ/SA wounded were the same and by extension it seems reasonable to assume British were not admitted to these non-British rehabilitation units.


So in conclusion whilst it might have been a desirable outcome for non-British casualties to be treated by their own nationality, the practicalities of the war and a lack of sufficient medical resources of each nation made this impractical - until the rehabilition phase that is.


Yes the medical card is in the public domain. This was taken from the individuals service file which is online. In fact I have come accross quite a few of these in the Australian service files.....just the other week I also saw a 'buff slip' in one of them.


You are correct in stating that most of the General and Stationary Hospitals were located in the Base areas rather than the Army area. However, there was a cluster of them around both Amiens and Hazebrouck - both of which were on the edge of the Army and LOC area. I did come across infomation that demonstrated that a NZ Stationary Hospital in the Army area did receive less severe casualties for rehabilitation. That said, and with the benefit of hindsight, my sentence should have read 'the soldier would be transferred to a nearby General or Stationary Hospital or to a convalescent depot'  Unfortunately I ran out of time and wasnt able to fully research the role (and location) of the various convalescent depots...maybe next time!


Regarding Dover I used the inference from the British Medical History that the sorting took place once they arrived in Dover - though this was not Messines specific. To be honest the history is a bit vague on how this system actually worked out. Again further research would need to be done to fully understand this process.


In reality I think there was very little difference between a General and a Stationary Hospital - at the least in the roles that they played. The establishment of the General was larger than the Stationary and so presumably it was envisaged that the former was to be located at a Base and the latter perhaps as a satelite that could be used for specific types of casualties - but I'm really not sure on the de facto differences as applied during the war.


I just did this ( as with all my research) for interest sake only. I am part of a project called AdoptaDigger here in Queensland (www.adoptadigger.org) that has identified all the soldiers from our area that served in the Great War. As part of this I prepared a presentation to the researchers about the evacuation process but I wanted to do a more indepth research into a specific battle to see how the theory compared to the reality. Hence this piece.


As an aside, I have written a specific article on the casualties incurred by the 47th Battalion, AIF at Messines. This is due to be published in the Great War Association journal 'Stand To' this summer - not sure when exactly. Part of the detail from that article appears in the one we are discussing here - but there is more of it. it you arent a member let me know and I can send you a copy. 


I have had a look at your WikiMedia site...thanks for sharing this. It looks great and I certainly appreciate the effort it takes to do something like this.


I'm glad you liked the article. Feel free to distribute to anybody that might be interested and also download anything else of my site that is of interest.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the detailed reply, Paul.


A few follow-up thoughts:


-Just to be clear, your first comment about about the merging of evacuation chains was generally relevant for Commonwealth countries only, correct? For the most part, Belgian and French troops did not flow through Commonwealth medical facilities. 


-Your comments reminded me of two accounts I read:

  • I recall being surprised when reading that a Canadian CCS once loaned/donated tents and personnel to a neighbouring British CCS. Granted, this was very early in the war but interesting nonetheless: “Some dozen miles down the line rested a Canadian Clearing Station. It possessed tents, but having buildings, did not need them.. We accepted an offer of assistance ...without hesitation. With the tents they sent a couple of officers and 25 men. The meadow behind the chateau was the very place for them.” ~From Tale of a Casualty Clearing Station, p 281. (Incidentally, this remains one of my favourite CCS accounts--well written, funny, and full of interesting details. It was set in a chateau whose description was in such juxtaposition to the carnage of war that it proves the old adage that "truth is stranger than fiction." You can read a short description/excerpt of the chateau-turned-CCS on my blog, Blighty and Beyond, here. 
  • A quote from Olive Dent in A VAD in France reminded me that yes, Commonwealth soldiers were indeed treated at British General hospitals: “Certain nicknames are given as a matter of course—Jock to Scotchmen, Geordie to North countrymen, Taffy to Welshmen, Pat to Irishmen,  'Aussy' to Australians or otherwise 'we from Kangerland',..." (Is Kangerland a reference to Australians as well?) 

-In regards to your "AdoptADigger" project: When I did my initial WWI research, I was very impressed at how well the Australians and Canadians have organized their WWI records. Kudos to you guys!


-I dug up my notes on Stationary/General hospitals and this is what I found:


    "At places along the railways traversing the evacuating zone there are medical units known as stationary hospitals. These in theory are 200-bed hospitals of comparatively simple equipment as compared with that of a general hospital. Their bedsteads, for instance, are folding iron "barrack bed-steads," and they are not supposed to have clinical laboratories or x-ray annexes. In France, however, nearly all stationary hospitals are capable of accommodating several times their regulation number of patients, and many in point of equipment and extent of accommodation do not differ from the large general hospitals in the distributing zone, unless they are used to fulfil some special aim.

    Such of these units as are in the evacuating zone do their work in direct association with main dressing stations, and since the dispatch of a patient to them does not necessarily entail his formal evacuation, they are almost to be regarded as annexes thereto and therefore as front-line units. The rest are used for the reception and treatment of cases of sickness and injury among troops on the lines of communication and for cases which the medical officers in charge of ambulance trains may think it desirable to off-load at the earliest possible moment." ~From http://www.vlib.us/medical/ramc/ramc.htm  Although not mentioned here, there were stationary hospitals in base areas. I got the impression that at the beginning of the war, stationary hospitals were generally located between the Front and base areas, but as the war went on the roles of stationary hospitals expanded to such a degree that by the end, they were nearly indistinguishable from general hospitals.

Thanks again for your info.



Blighty and Beyond: Medical Musings, Memories and Images.


Link to comment
Share on other sites



On the whole I'd say you are correct and that French and Belgian troops probably did not get processed along with the British troops....but on occasions they did. Certainly one French soldier was evacuated from the British railheads on a British Ambulance Train during Messines...as did two French civilians. Most likely any real sharing of resources only took place where British and French forces fought side by side...ie south of the Somme and north of Ypres.  In 1917 American medical units arrived and they took over some General Hospitals in the Base areas and certainly British forces were dealt with by American medical staff there. In 1918 as American and Allied forces fought together you would assume they shared the evacuation process.


It is also worth mentioning that German POWs were also evacuated through the British chain....1085 were evacuated from the Messines area on British Ambulance Trains. These had obviously also been previously cleared through RAP, ADS, MDS and CCSs.


Yes there was sharing of resources going on...as in the case of Lt-Col L.T.Challenor, RAMC ,who was British but who assisted at an Australian CCS during Messines. No doubt there are more examples out there.


Thanks for sharing the rest of the detail....it made an interesting read!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...