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Category: Air support/WW2/Allied

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1 Air Ambulance Unit RAAF (1 AAU)

A total of 8,252 patients were airlifted by 1 AAU during the unit's service in the Middle East and Italy.

Click to enlarge Libya. 1941-12. The crew of an aircraft of the No. 1 Air Ambulance Unit (1AAU), RAAF, checking aerodrome locations on the map before taking off.
Click to enlarge Libya. 1941-11. A blazing Air Ambulance of No. 3 Squadron, RAAF, which was shot down by German air gunners. The crew of three escaped although one was badly burned. No patients were on board at the time.
Click to enlarge 1943-02-26. Middle East. A De Havilland DH 86A Air Ambulance (A31-7), one of eight used by the RAAF from 1939 until 1945. Capable of carrying one doctor and up to eight patients, (six of whom can be carried on stretchers), these four engined biplanes served with 35 and 36 Squadrons and 1 Air Ambulance Unit (1 AAU). A31-7 served with 1 AAU in the Middle East. It arrived at Cairo on 3 July 1941 and was based at Gaza and Gerawla supporting the work of 1 Australian General Hospital before being damaged on the ground in an enemy attack on Mersa Matruh airfield on 31 January 1942. Despite being riddled with shrapnel holes, it was repaired with parts scavenged from enemy aircraft and flown again, being the only aircraft 1 AAU had which was capable of flying for most of the first half of 1942. As the last operational DH 86A, A31-7 was withdrawn from use due to the unavailability of 77-octane fuel after transporting patients during the Italian campaign in 1943. It has been suggested that the aircraft was then dismantled for spares and probably scrapped. 
Click to enlarge Torokina, Bougainville Island, Solomon islands. C. 1945-02-18. Army patient being lifted from ambulance prior to being loaded on an air ambulance aircraft of No. 37 (Transport) Squadron RAAF at Piva airfield for evacuation to a base hospital.
airambulance2.jpg (34825 bytes) Interior of air ambulance aircraft, showing 6-litter configuration, cleated floor (for traction with aircraft on ground), backward facing seat for ambulant patient or attendant on left and thermos flasks for hot food at rear. Photograph published in Australia in the War of 1939-45, medical, Vol 4, medical services of the RAN and RAAF, page 271.
airambulance3.jpg (40705 bytes) Nadzab, New Guinea. 1943-11. Wards of the strip A.D.S (advanced dressing station) set up and staffed by the 10th Field Ambulance for the holding and treatment of patients awaiting air evacuation.



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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces