9. Field Ambulance - History (2023)


OneFebruary 10, 1916, Lieutenant Colonel F.A. McGUIRE was appointed to command 9 field ambulances that were recruited as part of the Australian 3rd Division. The unit was formed on March 3, 1916 in LIVERPOOL, NEW SOUTH WALES. Made up of men from the AMC Liverpool depot, it was originally formed in three sections.

The original officers of the unit were:-


After formation, the unit trained in Liverpool and sailed from Australia with several ships - HMAS BENALLA on 1 May 1916, HMAS HORORATA on 2 May 1916 and HMAS MARATHON on 4 May 1916. On 11 May 1916 , the remainder of the unit under LTCOL MAGUIRE sailed on HMAS ARGLLSHIRE ; a total of 248 officers and men sail together.

The unit arrived in England in July 1916 and concentrated at Camp 21, LARKHILL, SALISBURY PLAIN. Continued training and physical training, marching on the way and ambulance work in unimaginable on-duty conditions were the escapeEUnot for the next three months.

The unit took part in the Royal Review of HM King George V at BULFORD DOWNS on 27 September 1916.

On November 23, 1916, the unit left LARKHILL and was reloaded on two ships for France that same night - the steamer "MONA'S QUEEN"."and "BELLEROPHEN" - Disembark in LE HAVRE the next day.

On 25 November 1916 the unit arrived at STEENWEREK and relieved 103 Fd Amb opening an MDS at ARMENTIERS and an ADS at BRICKFIELDS.

The unit suffered its first combat loss when CAPTAIN VICKERS was wounded by shrapnel in the trenches near the SQUARE FARM.

The unit was released from three battalions in line and was receiving a total of 1047 patients in February 1917.

In early March 1917 the unit was transferred to 3/2 West Lancershire. Fd. Amb. and up to 11 Fd. Amb. and moved to PONT DE NIEPPE where they took over 1 NZ. FD. package and moved to PONT d'ACHELLES a month later. This became 2 during BATTLEOF MESSINESnd🇧🇷 ANZAC CORPS MDS under Command CO. 9 Fd Amb. and manned by members of the 9 Fd Amb plus attachments from other medical units. Command of 9 Fd Amb passed to MAJ. LIND and the rest of the unit worked from a Division staging post near HYDE PARK CORNER during the battle while carriers and transports supported 10 and 11 Fd Ambs.

At the end of MESSINES operations, the unit moved to NEUVE EGLISE and led the 3rd Aust. Dept. MDB.

Up to this point, the unit had suffered the following combat losses:

KIA: 7 and injured: 11.


Decorations for the unit were: 1 DCM and 6 MMs for MESS1NES operations.

From mid-June to the end of September the unit was in the rear Div areas and held rest stops behind the ARMENTIERS-MESSINES fronts and then moved to the YPERS area and took over the ADS and RAP front behind ZONNEBEKE. After a week at the front during the BATTLE OF BROODSEINDE, 9 Fd Amb manned the medical outposts with all loaders from 10 and 11 Fd Amb attached.

THE SECOND BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE began on October 12, 1917 - there were many casualties, the transport was very tedious due to the mud and lack of trucks, and by nightfall the porters were exhausted and help had to be hurriedly provided. The unit remained in forward positions and dealt heavy casualties until 20 October 1917 when it was relieved by 11 Canadian Fd Amb and returned to ST OMER where it rested and operated a field hospital.

During YPERS operations, the unit lost: 15 killed and 16 wounded; and the unit received two DSOs, 3 MCs, 1 MSM and 8 MMs.

After three weeks of rest, August 3rd. Div again on line south of MESSINES and 9Fd. package Assumed DRS. on the PONT d'ACHELLES. After a month here, the unit returned to L'ESTRADE and again took on a DRS, receiving only cases of scabies and diarrhea from the 3rd Aust Division..Here LT COL MAGUIRE left the unit and became ADMS 3 Aust Div with the patent of COL. His successor was MAJOR A.J. JOLLEY from 2 Fd Amb who was promoted to

Post of LT COL.

The unit moved into an anteroom with its HQ at NIEPPE and outposts in the ARMENTIERS area. On 8 March 1918 the unit was relieved and returned to BRUNEMBERT in ST OMER and operated a Fd Hosp for a fortnight, after which it was transferred to VILLIERS BRETTONEUX and took part in this now famous action and remained until 12 July 1918 in this area. Here the unit lost: 1 killed and 12 wounded; and the unit was awarded 1 MC and 3MMs.

On July 12, 1918, the transfer to HAMEL took place and the unit took part in the then ongoing battle - loaders were assigned to the battalions and moved forward with the infantry. By the way, American chargers were attached

of the unit in this action as "apprentices". The unit took part in the various actions from HAMEL to SUZANNA where on 4 September 1918 the carriers returned to HQ and the unit moved forward and established an MDS at HALLE in PERONNE.

On September 28, 1918, another advance to ST EMILIE was carried out and the next day the attack on the HINDENDURG LINE began. The unit moved forward with advancing infantry and moved to B0IS DU RONSOY on 1 October 1918 and established an ADS on a former German position. Two days later, the unit was replaced and transferred back to ST EMILIE, and two days later: Still, they made their way to ABBEVILLE, where the team enjoyed a long-promised, hard-earned rest.

Casualties during the last series of operations were: 4 killed and 24 wounded,

The prizes presented were 1 Bar for MC, 1 DCM, 1 MSM, 7 MM's, 1 MID and 1 Belgian Croix de Guerre (LTCOLJOLLEY).

While at ABBEVILLE, CommanderThe officer went to England for six months for all original ANZACs; he was married there and did not return to the unit. MAJ. JS SMITH became the new CO. While resting, the unit heard about the signature of theArmistice. A month later there was a change to VALINES, and from hereDrafts began to go to Australia, and eventually the unit was disbanded. A total of 61 offers. and 502 ORs provided with 9 Fd. AMB.

The total casualties were:

Officers: 2 killed and 2 wounded.

Other ranks: 30 killed and 60 wounded.

(Video) Earliest Life Saving Ambulances in History

Overall awards: 2 DSOs, Bar toMC, 4 MC, 3 DCMs, 2 MSMs 27 MMs, 1 Belgian Croix de Guerre, 1 MID.

9 field ambulances, militia.


Between the wars, the 9 Field Ambulance was a militia unit based at Victoria Barracks, Sydney. At the outbreak of World War II it was mobilized again but never served in its proper role as a field ambulance for the 9th Army.º. Brigade.

die 9º🇧🇷 Fd. Amb. He worked on the 'Emergency Ambulance Train' which ran between Townsville and Brisbane until another Ambulance Train unit took over. They moved to Atherton Tableland where they worked at the "Rocky Creek" medical complex and cleared the area to set up 26 Convalesent Depot to care for the sick and wounded returning from the KOKODA route. At that time, one section was working on an ambulance pick-up from the various units in the highlands.

The unit departed for Port Morsby on the 20thº🇧🇷 June 1943 and established a forward dressing station, changing station and medical air evacuation post.

There were five deaths during his time in New Guinea. The 9Fd. Amb. Disbanded in 1944 and members sent to other units.


The unit (9 Fd Amb) has been renovated for Ist in DANDEN ONG, VICTORIA. July 1940. LIEUTENANT COLONEL H.F. SUMMONS is named Commander and H/CAPT FORSYTH QM. The unit was known as the 2/9Fd AMB. on the 11thº🇧🇷 In July 1940 the QM and 35 OPs moved to the old camp at SEYMOUR, VICTORIA, with personnel arriving almost daily until the end of the month. At the end of the month, unit strength was 8 Offrsand 261 ORs. Training began and ended in August 1940.August strength was 12 Offrs. and 261 ORs. On September 27, 1940, the unit moved to BONEGILLA, VICTORIA, where training continued until the unit went on Christmas break.,on December 21, 1940.

In November and December, training included walks lasting up to seven days. and tactical exercises. After the Christmas break the unit boarded the HT "QX" (QUEEN MARY) and departed Sydney

February 3, 1941. The ship arrived in Singapore on February 18, 1941
after a two-day stopover at FREMANTLE and personnel taken to PORT DICKSON and transferred to MALAY REGIMENTAL BARRACKS and established a MIR, CRS and advanced medical supply depot; Employees of the 2/4 CCS, attached. These included medical officers and members of the A.A.N.S.

Training continued at PORT DICKSON and the unit participated in 22 Bde brigade exercises during March, April, May and August. From August 11, 1941 different detachments were sent and on August 31, 1941 the unit was as follows:

UPTOWNVehicles and personnel from HQ Coy and MTOccupation of a field hospital:

JOHORE BAHRUBase Depot - 2 Offrs and 16 ORS "A" COY occupying a field hospital.

PORTO DICKSONRear Party - I Offr e 35 ORs

USE"b" Coy was an ADS employee at Mersing Civil Hospital

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Personnel not employed as above were involved in training, fitness and competitive sports in other units.

B Coy moved to the battle stations on 6 December 1941 and was fully occupied running ADS on the 2/20 perimeter and setting up camps until the hospital opened, BuieuMaterial etc. Works were carried out on the road that passes through the ADS and a 20 x 40 m underground operating room was built and coveredEUtwo feet from the ground. 12 smaller 15 x 9 bays were also excavated and covered. B Coy was assisted in this work by ACoy and the MT Section.
On December 28, 1941, A Coy took over the ADS in MERSING from B COY, and B Coy took over again on January 10, 1942; Coy initiated an ADS in area 2/18B. This was later taken over by a division of B Coy and A Coy moved to the 121 Mile Post and installed another ADS there.

On January 18, 1942, the MERSING area was bombed. The bombs fell about 80 meters from the ADS. The dive bombing lasted for about five days, but no other bombs landed near the ADS. This is attributed to the ADS being well marked with red crosses, with the permission of the Bde COMD.

January 22, 1942: B. Coy moves to 44 Mile Harbor and RAP, 2/10 Bn. moved to the ADS site. However, a shy one continued to move at the 40.5 mile mark.24January 1942 moved to 66.7 Mile Post and B Coy to MUS at KOTA TINGGI. On 25 January 1942 the enemy shelled the area north of the MDS but only three native casualties were inflicted.

January 27, 1942: Battle casualties evacuated by ADS - around 70 to 80 casualties.

28 January 1942: Low casualties - all information receivedThe forces retreated to Singapore Island. Headquarters transferred to SINGAPOREestablishment of a 200-bed hospital at HILL 60; A&D formed companiesCenters on 12 Mile Post. The next day a shy one moved in and on the 30thº.JanuaryIn 1942 he moved to CHU KANG VILLAGE and set up a medical station. The Red Cross was prominently displayed when it appeared that the enemy respected it.

February 1, 1942: Enemy air raids. Several bombs near the MDS, but only
1 injured; Enemy air activity increases as friendly planes disappear.

February 2-7, 1942: Headquarters settles in - low combat casualties but steadyinflux of sick people. Bed condition quickly increases from 40 to 100. Apparently both 10 and 13 AGH are full as cases are often sent from one to the other.

Decrees of February 8, 1942:

B Coy - Fwd ADS at 17 Mile Post. ADS in the range of 2/19 billion (MR669219)

A Coy - ADS about 1/4Mile Forward LIM CHU KANG-CHGA CHU KANG (664194)


During/after B Coy's rear ADS was targeted and taken off. also theThe Advance ADS came under fire and was withdrawn to the MDS that night.An ADS of a COY at the intersection was also threatened by shelling.At 23:00 a message came that the enemy had landed in the AIF area.

9 February 1942: SDA fires about 2 miles from MDS. high levelDive" intensive bombing. Received orders to evacuate the MDS and prepare to do soMove to Singapore Racecourse. Go to SINGAPORE RACECOURSE.

At 7pm there was an ADS at the previous MDS location on the circuit.B Coy com 2/10 Fd Amb e 2/4 CCS not SWISS RIFLE CLUB foram receivedCombat casualties were also evacuated directly to 10 and 13 AGHs.

February 10, 1942: In the afternoon, the roads were constantly blocked,bombed, bombed and strafed. All surplus employees, stores andRations sent for 10 AGH - remainder of unit transferred to SWISS RIFLE CLUB. CO cannot contact 22 Bde HQ.

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February 11, 1941: Still no connection to headquarters 22 vols. At 0030,Shooting club attacked by fire SA and LMG. It felt like chilling out at the Red Crossit was lit. All personnel from 2/9, 2/10 Fd Amb and 2/2 MAC were evacuated to OLDHAM HALL.

11-12 February 1942: evacuation of casualties from the 22nd Bde area alongTANGLlN ROAD for 10 AGH. Unit personnel working with 10 AGH. The unit established a WCP on HOLLAND ROAD with another WCP about a kilometer behind and a pool of ambulances further back near the FARRER ROAD bend.

February 12, 1942: The WCPs are withdrawn to the Ambulance Pool. 6:10 pm AGH moved into CATHAY BUILDINGS and operated as a combined entity.

February 13, 1942: Steady stream of sick and exhausted troops and

wounded natives. CAPT MILLS re-established contact with 22 Bde HQ. 12:00, bombs fell on cathedral grounds - 2 injured and many vehicles destroyed.

February 14, 1942: Cathedral overflows with wounded and victims,taken to ADELPHI HOTEL. The evacuation was interrupted by shelling in the streets.

February 15, 1942: Artillery had positions along theWaterfront and many bombs fell on the Cathedral grounds. there were approx,200 patients in the cathedral – 243 in the hotel and 90 in the ADS at TA1NGLIN.Artillery fire made evacuation impossible and flooding was accommodated
particular houses.

The victims registered in the period were:

1st to 15th February 1942:1200 sick 450 injured 300 civilian casualties

16 February 1942: 2/9 Fd Amb strengthened in vehicles and equipment from 2/10 Fd Amb and transferred to AIF POW.s at SELARANG BARRACKS, CHANGI.

February 17, 1942: 3:05 pm, moves to CHANGI and starts opening a

270-bed hospital in the barracks building. The first cases were bacillary dysentery and malaria. With the exception of CAPT PARK who was killed, all officers in force were captured with 299 other ranks.

“The only bright light in the darkness of captivity was the medical route

Services continued to care for the sick and injured. staff of
2/9 Fd Amb was no exception and his service and self-sacrifice in appalling conditions, lacking equipment and medicine, will long be remembered by those who needed his attention.”

(Taken fromOfficial War History)


  • Eddie's story
  • Lob
  • Unit history books


1. The Chain of Evacuation
(Scott Thomas)
2. Hell's Healers: Australian Field Ambulance in the Papuan Campaign, 1942-43 by Dr. Jan McLeod
(Military History Society of NSW)
3. 1 Armoured Field Ambulance - as it slowly fades into history
(P.J. Redswan Enterprises)
4. From the Vault: Insane spell of 7-1 as Ambrose wreaks havoc
5. Class 9 History Chapter 2 | The 1905 Revolution - A Turbulent Time
(Magnet Brains)
6. Hillsborough Disaster: How it Happened in 1989
(On Demand News)


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