The 2/4th Australian General Hospital (AGH) was a medical unit during the Second World War, designed to set up and operate hospitals in the field. Between 1940 and 1945 they operated at Tobruk, Redbank, Jerusalem, Colombo and Labuan. In this time, they examined more than 34,000 casualties, including 14,000 during the siege of Tobruk.
Statistics cannot tell us about the quality of care. They can highlight the tremendous efforts and the conditions under which these units were operating. The 2/4th AGH examined 34,000 casualties, admitted 13,497 and treated a further 14,808 at aid posts. They lost 234 patients. They averaged 15 operations a day but at one time performed 108 operations in eight hours. And once they operated in shifts for three days until no further casualties were waiting.
The monument to the 2/4th AGH at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital tells us this was a service seldom surpassed.
Watch last year's service:
Reviewed 02 August 2021