Augustine Peter Curtin

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Augustine Peter Curtin, also known as A. P. Curtin, was a British physician born on 20 April 1914. He studied medicine in London at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.

During World War II he initially served on destroyers in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, but later served as the medical officer aboard the Nankin, a troop ship that was captured by the Germans. He was subsequently handed over to the Japanese, and was held in Kawasaki Camp #2B (originally Tokyo Prison Camp #2). His obituary in the British Medical Journal states that during his captivity as a prisoner of war in Japan, he made surgical instruments from materials at hand, including a scalpel from a 6-in. nail and forceps out of the metal strap used to secure a packing case. These were the tools he used to perform operations. His heroism also included relentlessly interceding for fellow prisoners who were unfit to be sent on work details. He endured cruel beatings as a result, but never relented. For his service the United States he was awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States.

Following the war he was a general practitioner in Lowestoft, and from 1952 to the end of his career he maintained an independent practice in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. During his career, he served in such positions as the district’s chief police surgeon, president of a branch of the British Red Cross Society, and vice president of the Far East Prisoner’s Society.

He was married and had a daughter and three sons. One son became a lawyer and the other two entered medicine.

His wife died in 1990. At the age of 79, he died on November 7th, 1993. Dr. Curtin’s obituary appeared in the British Medical Journal in 1994 (London: British Medical Association, April 30, 1994, pp. 1157-1158.).

Dr. Curtin wrote an article, entitled "Imprisonment Under the Japanese", that was published in the British Medical Journal in 1946 (London: British Medical Association, October 19, 1946, pp. 585-586).

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