Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps

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Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps
ActiveNew Zealand Medical Corps: 1908–1947
Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps: 1947-present
Branch New Zealand Army
RoleMedical support
Motto(s)Semper quietus, semper agens
(Always calm, always alert)
AnniversariesCorps Day (7 May)[1]
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

The Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps (RNZAMC) is a corps of the New Zealand Army, the land branch of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). The Medical Corps provides for the medical needs of soldiers, such as diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries. Medical personnel are part of almost all Army exercises and operations, and personnel work in conjunction with personnel from the Royal New Zealand Dental Corps and the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps.[2]


The New Zealand Medical Corps (NZMC) was established in May 1908 to provide a reserve of medical personnel should that be required in the event of war.[3][4] After the declaration of war in August 1914, the New Zealand government sent a small contingent of medical staff to Samoa to take over the hospital at Apia. The contingent was made up of four medical officers, two dental surgeons, 67 non-commissioned officers and seven nurses.

As the war progressed and the number of casualties increased, it became apparent that more medical personnel were required to treat them. James Allen, Minister of Defence, offered to send medical personnel to a stationery hospital in Egypt, including eight officers and 50 nurses. New Zealand medical personnel went on to serve in Samoa, Egypt, Palestine, Gallipoli, France, Belgium, Serbia and Great Britain. Among the hospitals serving New Zealand personnel in Great Britain were No. 1 General Hospital, located at Brockenhurst in Hampshire; No. 2 New Zealand General Hospital in Walton-on-Thames;[5][6][7] and No. 3 General Hospital at Codford.[3] No. 2 General Hospital came under the control of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in April 1916, and was located in the requisitioned 15th century Mount Felix estate until mid-1919.[5][8] There were also another seven military hospitals of various types serving the Expeditionary Force in the UK, France, and Egypt.[3]

As part of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, three General Hospitals, three Field Ambulances, and a Convalescent Depot were dispatched to the Middle East (and 1 General Hospital and 5 Field Ambulance to the United Kingdom with the Second Echelon, temporarily) along with the remainder of the force.[9]

On 12 July 1947 (Gazette No. 39/1947) the NZMC was granted a Royal Warrant and became the Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps (RNZAMC).[10] Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was the Colonel-in-Chief from 1977 to 2002.

During the Cold War, the Army maintained hospitals and field ambulances. In 1991, 2 (GH) Field Hospital, tracing its descent from No. 2 General Hospital originally formed at Walton-on-Thames, celebrated its 75th anniversary.[11] The Forward Surgical Team was deployed to East Timor while serving with INTERFET from 1999.[12] The last Field Hospital was reorganised into 2nd Health Support Battalion in the mid-2000s, following an Australian example.[13] The Battalion is located at Linton Military Camp.

Current training[edit]

Medical training for the entire New Zealand Defence Force is conducted at the Defence Health School which is located at Burnham Army Camp. All medics enlisted in the Army, Navy or Air Force are sent there for training. The medic training is conducted in two phases; Military Medical Technician and Medic. Within these two phases, students complete a Primary Health Care Phase and an Operational Phase. Each phase comprises an academic component and on the job experience. On the job experience is conducted at various camps, ships and bases within the NZDF. This is a total of two-and-a-half years of intensive training. After their training, medics are then posted to their respective camps and bases. Most gain overseas operational experience with the NZDF within a short time and become proficient and experienced across a wide range of pre-hospital environments. Medics can continue onto a range of degree or graduate level qualifications when their workload permits.

The Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps also employs a wide range of other medical specialists from Doctors through to radiographers, environmental health officers and other health professionals.


  1. ^ "Army medics to receive royal banner". New Zealand Defence Force. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Our Ranks and Corps". New Zealand Army. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b c National Library, First World War Medical Services, accessed November 2019.
  4. ^ See Lt Col A.R.D. Carberry, The New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War, Whitcomb and Tombs, Auckland 1924, now digitized.
  5. ^ a b Crummy, Andrew (2017). The Mount Felix Tapestry. Impress Print Services. ISBN 978-1-912031-49-8.
  6. ^ "Walton-on-Thames Hospital booklet" (PDF). 2019.
  7. ^ "New Zealand and World War One – General Hospitals – 1916 – 1919". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Lost_Hospitals_of_London". Retrieved 7 April 2019. and "The Mount Felix Tapestry: Kiwi soldiers in Walton-on-Thames". Radio New Zealand. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  9. ^ J.B. McKinney (1952). Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–45: Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy. Wellington: Historical Publications Branch.
  10. ^ Army Medics to Receive Royal Banner, 18 May 2010.
  11. ^ New Zealand Army (1991). 2_(GH) Field_Hospital 75th Jubilee 1916-1991.
  12. ^ 'Operation East Timor'
  13. ^ Colin Robinson (Autumn 2018). "Towards an effective joint force: The Joint Support Component Command" (PDF): 33. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)


External links[edit]