No. 4 Medical Receiving Station RAAF

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Brief History

No. 4 Medical Receiving Station (4MRS) was formed at Pearce, Western Australia, on 1 May 1942. Three days later personnel moved into a house and tents on Woodsome Estate, a property on the main Perth to GinGin road. There were approximately 500 troops in the area, with patients coming from RAAF Pearce, No. 77 Squadron and Army personnel. Two stores tents were used as wards, with 20 other tents erected around the main house. The house itself was used for stores, a provisional operating theatre, offices and messing.

A garden area had been cultivated for growing vegetables. Slit trenches had been dug, and large red crosses painted on the roof of the house. Sick parades for Army personnel continued during June. During July a test or the mobility of the dispensary was made, with the entire dispensary being dismantled and packed on a tender by two men in 24 minutes. By the beginning of October 1943, the unit was packed up and ready to move to Corunna Downs whewre the first patient was admitted on 15 Oct 1943. The floor or the operating theatre tent was made from earth, spread over the stony surface, then watered. Later in the month, this was covered with loose sand, and finally with linoleum. Rations were supposed to be sent from the Army at Port Hedland by train once a week, but the train only ran about once in every two to three weeks.

At the beginning of November, 4MRS assisted 73 Operational Base Unit in preparing the camp for the impending arrival of about 260 personnel from American squadrons. The first strike took place from Corunna Downs on 9 November 1943, when 14 Liberators took off. By 16 November, there were 700 personnel on the Station, the American squadrons having doubled in size before they left on 19 November. They also operated a detached flight at Exmouth Gulf before it moved to Broome in October. Nursing sisters arrived at the unit on 30 Dec 1943.

Using the air ambulance, visits were made on a regular basis to surrounding units, and to outback stations to give medical assistance to families and workers alike. Patients were transported to hospital if necessary, and liaison kept up with civilian doctors in practice in lhe area. Assistance wa• also given with delivering babies.

On 12 Mar 1943, the USAAF squadrons were beginning to arrive once again, and by 25 April there were 1400 service personnel on the Station. At the end of August 1944, the air ambulance crashed into the sea after taking off from 76 Operational Base Unit at 'Potshot'. Packing commenced on 28 Novr 1944 for the unit's move to Broome, and on 14 Dec 1944, they were ready to funct1on, with borrowed equipment withthe rest of the unit personnel arriving on 17 Dec 1944 with the Equipment arriving by sea. Ouring bad weather associated with a cyclone on 11 Mar 1945, water damaged their living quarters. Broome Hospital was also badly a affected. The roofing was in such a bad state that the water poured through. The unit was disbanded at eh end of October 1945.

Unit Personnel



Content has come from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 9 Ancillary Units - Australian Government Publishing Service - 1995 pages 75 - 77

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