DAVID G. GUTHRIE

Lieutenant Colonel | R.C.A.M.C.

At thirty-two years of age, David's first combat assignment as a medical officer was six months with the No. 25 Field Dressing Station, a campus of sandbags and canvas behind the front but not lacking in the horrors of war.  It was gruelling work, but he felt well prepared having earned his Medicinae Doctorem et Chirurgiae Magistrum, or "Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery" from McGill University, the only school to offer such a degree.

 

He moved toward the sharp end in September 1952 to serve as regimental medical officer with the 1er Bataillon, Royal 22e Régiment, a predominantly French regiment of the Canadian Army affectionately known in its Anglican form of the Van Doos.  For three months, he survived with the infantrymen in the hellish trenches under constant bombardment by Chinese artillery.  He had not thought this experience would be included in his career as a doctor and it may have been by chance that he was selected for the assignment because of his fluency in French.

Just before Christmas, he left the regiment to return to the No. 37 Advance Dressing Station that had replaced his former No. 25 F.D.S.  He was here for only a couple of weeks before relieved and sent home to Quebec where he began practicing medicine as a young general practitioner.

This particular battle dress uniform is a humble piece worn by a doctor who gave generously and cared for all those he could.  The letter accompanying the group details a plea from a ROK unit seeking assistance from Guthrie's hospital at the time.  He no doubt was responsible for saving many lives from combatants to the struggling civilians who constantly passed through the United Nations medical facilities.  Doctor Guthrie continued practicing medicine with a giving soul when he returned to Canada, sometimes taking a plane or boat to reach his remote patients in northern Quebec.  He stayed in the service for twenty-five years, during which time he studied radiology and became a distinguished doctor in the field.   Throughout his lifetime he donated to his beloved McGill University, ultimately contributing one million dollars to scholarships in his name.

Sources:

 

(1) http://collections.banq.qc.ca/ark:/52327/bs2319014

(2) McGill University Yearbook 1944

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