The Official Website Of
THE CAPTAIN WAS A DOCTOR
The Long War and Uneasy Peace
of POW John Reid
PUBLISHED BY DUNDURN PRESS
In August 1941, John Reid, a young Canadian doctor, volunteered to join the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps with four friends from medical school. After five weeks’ officer training in Ottawa, Reid took an optional two-week course in tropical medicine, a choice which sealed his fate. Assigned to "C" Force, the two Canadian battalions sent to reinforce “semi-tropical” Hong Kong, he was among those captured when the calamitous Battle of Hong Kong ended on Christmas Day.
After a year in Hong Kong prison camps, Reid was chosen as the only officer to accompany 663 Canadian POWs sent to Japan to work as slave labourers. His efforts over the next two-and-a-half years to lead, treat, and protect his men were heroic. He survived the war, but finding a peace of his own took ten tumultuous years, with casualties of a different sort. He would never be the same.
Author photograph: Jo-Anne McArthur
Jonathon Reid has worked as a filmmaker, English teacher, freelance writer, magazine editor, and partner in a magazine publishing firm. He lives in Toronto.
Interview on The Agenda With Steve Paikin
The Captain Was a Doctor is a haunting exploration of a decorated hero of the Hong Kong campaign during the Second World War....This is a moving story by his son attempting to understand how his father endured the war, and how he left part of himself behind in the prison camps.
Tim Cook, best-selling author of
Vimy: The Battle and the Legend