The thousands of New Zealand men who fought in the First World War went through hell. And right beside them was another fighting force, armed with scalpels, bandages and drugs. Hundreds of doctors, nurses, stretcher-bearers, orderlies and ambulance drivers, dentists, chiropodists, pharmacists, physiotherapists and chaplains cared for the sick and wounded, often at great personal risk. Veterinarians did the same for horses, camels and other animals.
The challenges were enormous — horrific injuries, gas and deadly diseases, especially the influenza of 1918. There were some astonishing successes — most famously by plastic surgery pioneers Harold Gillies and Henry Pickerill — but the price was high, for patients and carers.
The skilled, compassionate and courageous New Zealand medical personnel of the Great War have not always received the attention they deserve. Anna Rogers tells their remarkable story.
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