The Dressing Station, Western Desert Nov 1941

Overflow from a dressing station. This photograph was amongst Hixon Hamon's personal possessions.  Hixon is the eldest brother of Pte Eruera Dennis Hamon who was admitted to the Mobile Surgical Unit (28 Māori Battalion) on the 25th of November 1941 and died 5 days later on the 30th of November 1941, aged 21 years.  He is buried in the Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt.  Whānau members would scan war photographs in an effort to find a loved one. This will be why Hixon had this photograph.  He was certain when questioned that this was his baby brother on the left with the beanie on and his knee drawn up. The original source and any other details are unknown.  


Pearl Hamon Anderson Family Collection.  Original source is unknown.  If anyone can help here, please feel free to contact Te Awhi Manahi so that acknowledgement can be attached.

Update: 7 November 2010

Wounded New Zealanders at an Advanced Dressing Station near Belhamed, November 1941.  Cliff Turner

Submitted by TeAwhi_Manahi on Fri, 04/12/2009 - 22:29

Takupu (5)

In his book, McKinney states, “The Mobile Surgical Unit, the only unit of its kind in the Eighth Army, was attached to the field medical units to carry out major forward surgery of all types.  It carried elaborate equipment in a specially designed van, and also a valuable extra supply of water.  It was fully mobile and self-contained and had a picked staff of surgeons and nursing orderlies”(1952). The following quote relates to the Dressing Stations on the 27 and 28 Nov 1941, The MDS centres working constantly, day and night, had been almost vainly endeavouring to give treatment and some measure of care and attention to the wounded men who so urgently required it. The reception centre was frequently choked with waiting cases, stretchers with wounded covering the entire floor of the large tarpaulin shelter, with many more outside; men with gaping, horrible wounds and piteously smashed and broken bodies, but there was hardly a murmur from them; their courage, and endurance was amazing. Blood transfusions could be given only sparingly, but wounds were dressed and fractures splinted. Day and night in the theatre, with the thick smell of blood, ether, and antiseptic in the air, work continued. Case after case followed from the preoperative tent next door, and the little steriliser boiled continuously. The evacuation centre had spread itself into tentage of every description, shape, and size. Tents of the ambulance units, German tents, and even the crude shelter of odd pieces of canvas accommodated the many hundreds of patients, but blankets were all too few among so many for the bitterly cold nights in the desert. The nursing orderlies could not hope to give these men the care they really required. Food had to be strictly rationed and water was so scarce that Red Cross invalid foods could not be prepared for the serious cases (McKinney, 1952). Reference:McKinney, J.B. (1952). Medical units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy. Wellington: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved December 05, 2009, from

Eruera Dennis Hamon was in the captured Medical Centre near Belhamid, Libya when he died.  To read more about the Medical Centre under German and later Italian control, click on the link - In the Captured Medical Centre.Reference: McKinney, J.B. (1952). Medical units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy. Wellington: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs.

After Brigadier Kippenberger was seriously injured from a landmine at Cassino in Italy early 1945 he was placed on Hospital ship at Naples bound for England. Cliff Turner was New Zealander who worked as a baker on this ship named the" Llandovery Castle"It appears he be- friended Brigadier Kippenberger and continued the friendship post war. As I understand because it was a hospital ship the Brigadier gave him a copy of this mobile 8th Army surgical unit photo, more than likely taken by the Brigadier himself as he was often seen taking the odd photo. He was well known to frequent the kiwi wounded at various places and hospitals, his empathy with the wounded is documented. So the Brigadier may have made it known to individuals in this photo and shared a single copy as he did with this Cliff Turner on board the Llandovery Castle from Naples. Trust this may assist or you may already know this. Cheers Denis.

Further to previous note a much clearer image is available of this photo if you would like i could send you such and the date the hospital ship left Naples with the badly wounded Brigadier was April 1944 not as previously mentioned. Cliff Turner later stated that the Brigadier quietly endured great pain and was lonely and depressed while on his journey to England and a strong bond proven by a solid post-war lifelong friendship with the Brigadier.