Medical Units

Page 2 – New Zealand Medical Corps

An advanced New Zealand dressing station on the Western Front

Field Ambulance

A Field Ambulance was not a vehicle but a front-line unit of around 250 personnel which treated men injured in battle. Stretcher bearers (including bandsmen) collected men from the battlefield and carried them to first-aid posts near the front lines, where they were treated by regimental medical officers. Those requiring further treatment were transported via casualty clearing stations to hospitals behind the lines.

A Field Ambulance company was attached to each New Zealand infantry brigade and the Mounted Rifles Brigade throughout the war.

NameUnit attached toCampaignsDatesFurther information
New Zealand Mounted Rifles Field AmbulanceNew Zealand Mounted Rifles BrigadeGallipoli, 1915
Sinai, 1916
Palestine, 1917–18
Aug 1914–Jun 1919Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand
Unit diaries at Australian War Memorial
New Zealand Field Ambulance No. 1New Zealand Medical Corps, August 1914–February 1916; 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade, April 1916–February 1919Gallipoli, 1915
Western Front:
Somme 1916 
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
Aug 1914– Feb 1919Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand
New Zealand Field Ambulance No. 2New Zealand Medical Corps, December 1915–February 1916; 2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade, April 1916–March 1919Western Front:
Somme 1916 
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
Dec 1915–Mar 1919Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand
New Zealand Field Ambulance No. 3New Zealand Rifle BrigadeWestern Front:
Somme 1916 
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
Feb 1916– Feb 1919Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand
New Zealand Field Ambulance No. 44th New Zealand Infantry BrigadeWestern Front:
Somme 1916 
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917.
Mar 1917–Feb 1918Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand

Sanitary Section

The Sanitary Section, part of the New Zealand Medical Corps, was responsible for maintaining sanitary conditions at the bases and towns behind the lines, including ensuring the cleanliness of water, disposal of waste, and disinfection of clothing and blankets.

The New Zealand and Australian Division formed a sanitary section on Gallipoli in September 1915. This was disbanded when the Division returned to Egypt in December 1915.

A Divisional Sanitary Section was formed in February 1916 as part of the newly-created New Zealand Division, with one officer and 25 other ranks. It served with the New Zealand Division on the Western Front, and was disbanded in March 1919.

NameUnit attached toCampaignsDatesFurther information
Divisional Sanitary SectionNew Zealand and Australian DivisionGallipoli, 1915September–December 1915 
New Zealand Sanitary SectionNew Zealand Division, February 1916–April 1917; thereafter under corps commandWestern Front:
Somme 1916 
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918.
Feb 1916–Mar 1919 

Badges, shoulder titles and puggarees

Cap and collar badges: The rod of Aesculapius with an entwined serpent within a laurel-wreath surmounted by a crown, with a scroll below reading ‘New Zealand Medical Corps’. Motto: Semper agens – semper quietus (Always effective – always calm).

NZMC Shoulder title

Shoulder title worn by the New Zealand Medical Corps.

Puggaree (hatband) worn by the New Zealand Medical Corps.

Further reading

Carbery, A.D., New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War 1914–1918 (Auckland: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1924)

How to cite this page

'New Zealand Medical Corps', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/medical-units/new-zealand-medical-corps, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 22-Mar-2017

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