Second World War Army personnel were subjected to medical boards at various times during their service: on enlistment, after being wounded or becoming sick, and on discharge from the service. The medical boards issued a medical grading to each individual that defined the sort of role that they could be expected to fulfil.
The medical grading system established in 1940 was as follows:
2 NZEF Orders (Middle East) 1940:
The medical grades in which personnel are classified on medical boarding are as follows:-
- Personnel who attain the full normal standard of health and strength and are capable of enduring physical exertion suitable to their age.
- Fit for active service in the field under all conditions.
- Personnel suitable for Grade I, but who are subject to such minor disabilities as can be remedied or adequately compensated by artificial means; i.e. personnel suffering from some temporary or remedial disability, and whose convalescence is proceeding satisfactorily.
- In due course this class should pass into Grade I.
- Those who, while suffering from disabilities disqualifying them from Grade I, do not suffer from progressive organic diseases, have fair hearing and vision, are of moderate muscular development, and are able to undergo a considerable amount of physical exertion not involving severe strain.
- This class is fit for all duties at the Base which do not involve severe strain.
- Those who present such marked physical disabilities or evidence of past disease that they are not fit for the amount of exertion required for Grade II.
Those who suffer from any of the diseases or disabilities specifically mentioned in the detailed instructions as indications for classification in Grade III.
Those who are fit for only clerical work or other sedentary occupations (e.g. Tailoring, Bootmaking).
- This class will have an occupational qualification and will be reserved for men fit for sedentary occupations by medical or occupational standards. The specific occupation for which the man is fitted (e.g. clerk, telephone operator, batman etc.) will be stated by the board.
HQ Base will ensure that men are employed as may be indicated.
- Those who suffer from organic disease or are for other reasons permanently incapable of the kind or degree of exertion required for Grade III.
- This grade will comprise all men not fit for any employment in the 2 NZEF overseas, and therefore to be returned to New Zealand at the first opportunity.
In 1943 the system was changed. Although the existing grading system was retained within New Zealand, the Military Authorities overseas adopted a new medical grading scheme. The system that applied in overseas units from 1 June 1943 was as follows:
2 NZEF ORDERS
HQ 2 NZEF
21 May 1943
260 Medical Grading
2 NZEF Order No 216 of 1943 is repeated for general information.
- Commencing 1 Jun 43, the medical grades applicable to 2 NZEF will be as follows:-
- Fit for general service in 2 NZEF
- Fit for general service except for minor disabilities as specified.
- Fit for service in medical or administrative units on L[ine] of C[ommunication] only.
- Fit for service in base camp or base medical units only.
- Unfit for any service with 2 NZEF.
- The terms previously used, i.e. Grade I, II, III or IV will be applicable to boarding in New Zealand only, and will not apply in 2 NZEF.
- 2 NZEF Order 67 of 1940 will be cancelled as from 1 Jun 1943