Camels carrying wounded

Camels carrying wounded

Camels equipped with ‘cacolet’ stretchers transport wounded soldiers across the desert during the Sinai campaign of 1916-17.

Two Camel Companies were formed from NZMR Brigade Reinforcements. The roles of camels in Sinai and Palestine included transporting wounded on ‘cacolet’ stretchers. This was an uncomfortable experience, as C.G. Powles observed in his history of The New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine (p. 41):

The cacolet was a contrivance lashed to a camel’s back which carried a man on each side; but the rolling motion which accompanied the camel’s gait allows of neither rest nor ease and exacts the full penalty of pain from the unfortunate occupant. Happy indeed was the man whose wound permitted him to be lashed instead to his horse.

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