Wounded sent for treatment from Italy to North Africa

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Gary Tankard, Aug 30, 2021.

  1. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Some posts copied over from 7961213 Tpr Colin PICKERING, 2nd Lothians and Border Horse: 08/02/1944

    I’m transcribing all the Italy casualties into a database and I’ve come across a few that have been wounded in Italy who have subsequently died (and buried) in North Africa. Also a couple who have died ‘At Sea’ suggesting they were being transported back.

    The above are early in the Italian campaign (September-November).
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  2. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Also it is worth remembering that units of 6th Armoured had been sent to Italy before the bulk of the division - 16/5 Lancers were sent to 23rd Armoured Brigade in January and 1st Guards Brigade to 46th Division in February.

    As for Trooper Pickering, next time I’m at Kew I’ll get the Lothians WD to check their whereabouts in February.
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  3. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Gary, when you do finally complete this, then I will pay for it.. Please keep me informed (has to when you complete it)? I'm sure you will be at it for a while. How many is a few?

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  4. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Thanks for this, Gary.

    Without asking you to divulge the inividual results of your labours, can you give us an broad idea? Were they officers or ranks? I wonder what type of wounds they had sustained which necessitated such a transfer.

    The logistics are fascinating. Is there any way of finding out what size/type of vessels were being used? Aircraft as well a ships? What ships were plying the Mediterrean between Italy and North Africa in this period?

    I'm still interested in a thread on this subject but don't have enough information to start one.

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  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Charles Sydney Frost who wrote 'Once A Patricia' was wounded on 26th Oct '43.
    On 18th Nov '43 he was transfered by DC-3 from 98 British General Hospital ,Bari, Italy to 94 British General Hospital, Algeria.
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  6. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Brilliant, Owen. This just what I was looking for.

    What does he say about his wounds? Presumably it was something which couldn't be treated at Bari.
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  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    It's a must read book.
    Try & get a copy , you won't regret it.
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Just found this:

    © IWM NA 9973
    Object description
    Original wartime caption: Gdsman. Bilsland, Scots Guards, of 24 Airdrie Street, Glasgow.

    The original caption actually includes more details:
    North Africa
    Story of British wounded from Regiments now officially stated to be fighting in Italy.
    17/19 December 1943

    large_NA_009973_1.jpg large_NA_009973_2.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2021
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  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hospital ships were operating in Mediterranean, 1943 & 1944

    HMHS Newfoundland - Wikipedia
    [Fate: Damaged by a Luftwaffe bomb 40 miles off Salerno, 13 September 1943 Scuttled, 14 September 1943]
    "After the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943, HMHS Newfoundland was assigned as the hospital ship of the Eighth Army, and was one of two hospital ships sent to deliver 103 American nurses to the Salerno beaches on 12 September. The hospital ships were attacked twice that day by dive bombers, and by evening they were joined by a third hospital ship. Concerned by a number of near misses, it was decided to move the ships out to sea and anchor there for the night. All three ships were brightly illuminated and carried standard Red Cross markings to identify them as hospital ships, and their protection under the Geneva Convention."

    HMHS Chantilly (63) - Wikipedia
    "Chantilly the sailed to Falmouth, Cornwall, arriving on 27 March.[5] She was converted to a hospital ship.[2] She departed from Falmouth on 2 November for Liverpool. She then joined Convoy OS 59KM,[5] which departed on 16 November and split at sea on 28 November.[10] Chantilly was in the portion that formed Convoy KMS 33G and arrived at Gibraltar on 29 November.[11] She was carrying 810 troops bound for Algiers,[10] which was reached as a member of Convoy KMS 33. During December 1943 and January 1944, she operated in Mediterranean waters, always under escort or in a convoy.[5]"

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  10. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    There are quite a lot that can be positively identified as being wounded in Italy and subsequently died in North Africa.

    For example, looking at just OR 'Died of Wounds' for 56 Division (to keep it manageable) in September/October 1943 we have:


    Note that these are all entries 'Died of Wounds' i.e. they had already been moved from Italy to North Africa and died before the list was compiled.

    I did also look at the 'Reported wounded on xxxx subsequently reported died of wounds' casualties expecting a few of these to have been transferred to North Africa but all were buried in Italy.
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  11. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    Sorry if this is a little off-topic, but in the book "Ever your own Johnnie (1942-3)" R.S.M. John Kemp was sent back to Algiers from the hospital in Syracuse to free-up beds space for frontline casualties. However, John wasn't wounded in action, he had contracted jaundice.

    Unfortunately, because his rank had not been substantiated, he was demoted upon his return back to B.S.M.

    "John eventually rejoined his regiment at Bari, Italy, two months later, a period of time unnecessarily prolonged as a result of the complexities and inefficiencies of transferring him back to active service."

    I couldn't find any reference to the mode of transport for either journey.
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  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Thanks to all of you. At long last we have some FACTS.
  13. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Without moving on the wider story too much, my Dad's mate, Jim Murtagh, was severely wounded in Sicily on 12th August 1943 and was en-shipped but died at sea on 15th August - he's buried in Tripoli.

    Another part of Rifleman Murtagh's story was that the MM citation was passed upwards from Brigade on 16th August 1943 - a day after his death - eventually signed off by Monty on 28th August and Alex on the 30th. In the LG on 18th November 1943. The CWGC weren't ever informed of the MM and they corrected their records in 2018 and they/we have now been waiting 2 years now to be able to replace the headstone.. For perfectly understandable reasons.

    485 - Murtagh.jpg

  14. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Theres lots of references in the BNPA a few to illustrate what can be found with searh term `hospital in North africa`. Filter in the year 1944 ;-

    Clitheroe Advertiser and Times 07 April 1944

    "Two Billington brothers have recently met in North Africa .They are Guardsman Wilfred Taylor and Gunner Jim Hornby of 5 Longworth Road. Wilfred had been serving in Italy where he was wounded and transferred to a hospital in North Africa where his brother met him. Wilfred is married and his home address is 20 Wesley Street Sabden.Before the war he played with Whalley cricket club in the Ribblesdale league. Both brothers worked as bricklayers. "

    Dundee Evening Telegraph 08 August 1944
    " Mrs G Maxwell of 52 Leslie Street Blairgowie has received intermation that her husband Sergeant George Maxwell, Royal Corps of Signals, has been dangerously wounded while serving in Italy, and is in hospital in North Africa. Sergeant Maxwell served in the Black Watch in peace time, and when called up as a reservist was transferred to the Signals Corps having before the war worked as a telephone linesman at headquarters in Dundee . He went to the Middle East two and a half years ago.

  15. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member


    Looks like Sj.t Maxwell subsequently died of wounds. Interesting that casualties were still being sent to North Africa in July 1944.
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  16. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    A very common thing . People were sent from Indian hospitals to South Africa and air and sea repatriation to the UK was a frequent occurrence
  17. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    I hadn't really given this much thought before, but I suppose that some field hospitals were little more than super-duper First Aid kits, while others were more like an Accident & Emergency facility.

    Either way, I guess a field hospital is not there to provide medium/long term health care. So most patients would have been moved on a.s.a.p.
  18. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Medical process in 1940

    Old thread above. Even though the original images are missing, post #2 gives a general overview of how the wounded were treated or evacuated.

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  19. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Might also mean bodies recovered and subsequently buried at sea.

    I haven't got the file to hand at the minute, but pretty sure one of the LCT's on the run in to Salerno hit a mine about 4 miles out from the beaches. A number aboard were killed or drowned, with their bodies later recovered, identified and then buried at sea.
  20. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    These are the casualties from 142 Field Artillery LCT 572 (I think) when it went down after htiing a mine of 9th September. I haven't checked further if the missing believed killed were subsequently reported as lost at sea.


    I think anyone buried (or lost) at sea was simply recorded 'At Sea'. Not sure is someone dying en-route from Italy to Africa would be buried at sea or not; I do know of one casualty that was being transported directly from Italy to UK who was.

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