Lawrence Cuthbert Doust
Serial No. 17281
Australian Army Medical Corps
Lawrence Cuthbert Doust - Information
Lawrence, known as Laurie, belonged to a large prominent Camden family. Laurie’s grandfather David Doust migrated to Australia from England in 1857 with his wife Ann. On his journey, he was shipwrecked twice, before settling in the Camden area. He gained work, constructing the first wooden bridge over the Nepean River, which opened in 1861. In Camden, David and Ann’s family grew in size, including Horace, (Laurie’s father) born in 1862. In 1863, David took over ‘Lustard’s Store,’ the Camden General Store. The shop was located at 184 Argyle St, and he renamed it ‘David Doust Store.’ From the 1860s and 1890s, the store grew in size, and became very prosperous. Horace grew up with his many siblings, earning the trust of the community and becoming a Town Alderman and began running his father’s store. Horace married Catherine Wasson on the 9th of January 1889 in Theresa Park and moved into a property on Mitchell St in Camden. Here, they had five children, including Laurie arriving on the 26th of August 1895. Laurie was a very smart lad, he served three months with the Army Pay Corps and found work as a Government Clerk.
As the war raged on, Laurie was still living in Camden. At the age of 21, he decided to enlist in the AIF on the 9th of May 1916 in Liverpool. He signed up to the Australian Army Medical Corps and commenced his training. To help bolster enlistments, Laurie and other local boys were given a going away party. The social was held at Foresters’ Hall in May, where each recruit was given a wrist watch and thanked for volunteering. He was trained in general soldiering, attending lectures and completing required reading on medical treatment. These studies were extensive and necessary to save lives on the battlefield. They covered elementary anatomy, wounds, dressing, fractures, haemorrhage, antiseptic and hygiene. He gained experience completing hospital work at Milson Island, South Head and the Field Hospital in Liverpool. On the 10th of May 1917, Lawrence departed Sydney Harbour onboard the HMAT Marathon as a Private with the Medical Corps.
The Marathon sailed into Devonport in late July. He was marched into Parkhouse for training, before leaving Southampton for France in mid September. He was taken on strength to the 2nd Field Ambulance on the 30th of September. Many sick and wounded troops had Laurie to thank for surviving the war. With such devastating wounds and trauma, immediate treatment was necessary. After a bitter winter and working with patients, Laurie came down with influenza. He was admitted to hospital from mid February to early March. 1918 was the most shocking year of the war. Attempts on both sides to break through the lines, led to many campaigns and unending casualties. Laurie and his unit worked tirelessly to save their lives and transport wounded troops to safety. After the war ended, Lawrence continued his duty with the Medical Corps. On the 3rd of July 1919, he was sent back to Australia, completing nursing duties on the voyage home. He was discharged in late September, and returned to his life in Camden.