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John Kidd Collier Laing MB


Australian Army Medical Corps


John Kidd Collier Laing MB - Information

John Kidd Collier Laing was born in Ontario, Canada on the 24th of December 1890. John’s father, James Byers Laing eventually moved the family to Campbelltown where they lived on Glenroy Farm. John was quite a smart chap, he finished school and began studying medicine. In 1911, John’s father was transferred to a position at the Victoria Barracks in Melbourne. The Laings then left Campbelltown for Victoria, where John worked as a medical practician. James applied for a commission in the AIF in August 1915. The development of war in Europe, allowed John the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps. John enlisted in the Army Medical Corps on the 17th of March 1916, when he was 25 years old.

John was made a Captain with the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, and departed Sydney on the 5th of June 1916 onboard the HMAT Borda. John arrived in Southampton on the 23rd of July, and was sent to France in September. He immediately went to work at the Casualty Station, sadly with large influxes of wounded from the Somme Battlefield. By October, John was completing duty with the Special Operating Hospital. Here, John witnessed the many horrific wounds attributed to modern weapons. The vast amount of machine gun fire, heavy artillery bombardments and use of gas was remarkable, causing much death and mutilation. He was then transferred to the 1st Australian General Hospital in early December. By the end of the month, he was assigned to the 12th Field Ambulance.

However, in 1917, John was suffering from poor health and was evacuated to England. He was placed under observation, having pain around his heart and a rapid pulse. While he was in England, John got married to a local London girl, Jessie. Despite being promoted to Major, his military career was hindered by his medical condition. He was sent back home to Australia at the end of April 1918. However, in the 1930s John was back in London working at the Colney Hatch Mental Hospital in New Southgate.