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COL. RHODES'S MISSION.

IMPRESSIONS GATHERED

TRIBUTE TO POSTAL STAFF.

TROOPS READY FOR ACTION

Lieut-Colonel R. H. Rhodes, who went to Egypt last year on a mission for the Government, returned to Wellington by the Moeraki on Monday. It will be remembered that after the formation of the National Government, Lieut.-Col. Rhodes was asked to visit Egypt and Malta, and make full enquiry concerning the hospital and postal arrangements as they affected the New Zealand troops. During his visit to the war area, lie pursued his enquiries in Egypt, Malta, and Lemnos, and also paid a visit to the trenches in Gallipoli prior to the evacuation. His stay was prolonged by an attack of illness. WORKED WITH A WILL. When seen by a correspondent Lieut.-Col. Rhodes said that his impressions regarding the hospital and postal arrangements had been given fairly fully in letters to the Minister of Defence. Most of these letters had been published in the newspapers of the Dominion, and he had little to add to them. It was true that the .hospitals and the postal staff had been subjected to a very severe strain in the early days of the Gallipoli campaign, when the casualties were severe. The conditions were strange, and the distribution of officers and' men was uncertain. It was not surprising that certain difficulties had been experienced at that period. But he had not found that there had been carelessness or inefficiency at any point. His enquiries had convinced him that everybody had worked with a will, and that there had been a steady improvement in the services as the staffs adjusted themselves and acquired experience. A DEFINITE DENIAL. It had been said in New Zealand that enormous quantities of unsorted mail matter had accumulated at the New Zealand base at Alexandria. He could give that statement a definite denial. He found no such accumulation. During those early days, when the conditions were peculiarly difficult, the postal staff had been compelled to make use of the services of any men available, and delays might have occurred even without the element of confusion added by the movement of large bodies of sick and wounded men from the front to the hospitals, and from one hospital to another. But there had been no lack of effort at any point. IMPROVEMENT IN ORGANISATION. The position now was quite different. A very great improvement in the organisation of the postal branch had been effected. Experienced men had been drawn from the New Zealand and other forces, and an expert staff had been created. The work, naturally, was a great deal easier at the present time than when the troops were at Gallipoli, but he had no doubt that, in any case, the postal staff would prove itself capable of handling the work It might be mentioned in this connection that the organisation of the New Zealand Division had increased the difficulties of the postal staff by causing many men to be transferred from one unit to another. HOSPITAL ARRANGEMENTS Referring to hospital arrangements in Egypt, Lieut.-Col. Rhodes said he had no hesitation in stating that New Zealanders were well looked after in hospital There appeared to be ample accommodation in the hospitals, and the staffs were adequate, both in regard to doctors and nurses. The last batch of fifty nurses which had been dispatch- . Ed from the Dominion had been 'sent straight to England, since , there was not work for them in | Egypt. The troops were not I making any heavy demands upon the hospitals, as their health was excellent, and they were not i suffering any casualties.

The future might change the conditions in these respects, but he was confident that the medical nursing staffs, with their acquired experience, would be able to face any emergency that might arise. Some of the nurses had been practicaly out of work lately. I There were now probably no 'Zealanders in hospital at Malta. THE VOLUNTEER SISTERS. The Volunteer Sisters, headed I by Miss Rout, had done useful I work. Two of them had found 'employment in connection with the hospitals, and one was working at a convalescent home. Another sister was rendering very valuable service by ' conducting cooking classes for soldiers, who needed instruction in the best methods of handling and preparing their rations. The soldiers appreciated these lessons very much. The remaining sisters were employed in the V.M.C.A. canteens, where tea and coffee are supplied to soldiers. TROOPS IN PINE FETTLE. Lieut.-Col. Rhodes mentioned in conclusion that when he last saw the New Zealand troops, shortly before his departure from Egypt, they were in fine fettle and excellent spirits. He had, seen the New Zealand Mounted)

Rifle Brigade on the march, and had noticed that the horses looked fairly well, in spite of their long period of comparative idleness, while the bulk of the mounted men were fighting in the trenches on Gallipoli. He could say nothing regarding the movements or prospects of the Expeditionary Force, but the people of the Dominion could rest assured that the troops were ready for whatever might come. The force was bigger and more efficient than ever before, and any general would be proud to command it.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19160428.2.21

Bibliographic details

COL. RHODES'S MISSION., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3540, 28 April 1916

Word Count
864

COL. RHODES'S MISSION. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3540, 28 April 1916

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