Veteran Stories:
John McDougall


  • Page from the “Maple Leaf Scrapbook”. The “Maple Leaf” was the Canadian Army newspaper, and this scrapbook was produced at the end of the war.

  • Sgt. John McDougall`s discharge certificate, 1940-1945.

  • Colonel Bice awarding John McDougall`s Military Medal, January 1944.

  • ‘A’ Section, Florence, Italy 1945. Top row: Henry McIntyre, Lloyd Reimer, and George E. Jones, Ben Richer, Claude Touzell. Bottom Row: Gordon Bass, Captain Perry, John McDougall, Wilf Bell.

  • John McDougall and his parents at Camp Borden, 1941.

Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"When they came back, my corporal and myself took a stretcher and proceeded to reach the officer and bring him back. We evacuated him back to our ADS and he made good recovery"


My name is John McDougall. And I enlisted in the Second Canadian Field Ambulance [Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps] July, 1940. I was 17 years old at the time. We arrived at Salisbury Plains, a very desolate place but a very good place for tank training. When our unit was originally formed, our colonel was Colonel James and he was a specialist in venereal diseases. And he recruited some of the better doctors that were in Toronto at the time. But after we got to England most of these doctors were taken away from us and placed in hospitals or in special units. We landed in Sicily on 1st of July. The landing was very smooth and there was very little fighting on our front. My section had been away from our headquarters for over a month. When we returned to rest and re-supply, I was promoted to sergeant. I was promoted from private to sergeant in less than three months. (laughter) My new officer was Captain Downing. And we got along very well. We were attached to the Ontario Regiment [part of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade] and we moved to Campobasso area. So then we moved out to support the Carleton and York Regiment [part of thec 1st Canadian Infantry Division]. There was lots of shelling and encounters with enemy tanks. And the intelligence officer of Ontario Regiment stood on a tiller of mine, while scouting the enemy, and lost both legs and an arm. We dressed his wound and evacuated him back to the ADS, the Advanced Dressing Station. His wounds were too severe to survive. We set up a first aid post in a town called Boiano. We were shelled often and two of the Carlton York soldiers were wounded. One was killed and the other one lost his leg and a foot. Shelling continued for several days and slowly the enemy retreated to lines beyond the Sanko River. The Regimental Medical Officer of Calgary Tanks [The Calgary Regiment] asked for some help up at his aid post because they were being heavily inundated with casualty. Myself and a spare driver went up with him. A tank had been knocked out, and most of the crew had got out safely, but the officer of the tank was wounded. And they could not bring him back. The RMO and my officer tried to reach him by jeep but they were driven back by mortar fire. When they came back, my corporal and myself took a stretcher and proceeded to reach the officer and bring him back. We evacuated him back to our ADS and he made good recovery. This was the beginning of the Battle of Ortona. We evacuated 79 casualties in one night and during that week we took care of another 279. And considering we were the smallest medical unit there, you can imagine how many casualties there were. On December the 17th, we were replaced by another section. And I had been with a fighting group from September the 1st to December the 17. So I was badly in need of a rest.
Follow us