Assistant Surgeon C M Douglas MD VC

Campbell Mellis Douglas joined the 24th as assistant surgeon on 1st Oct 1862. In 1867 the 2nd battalion was posted to Burmah and a detachment was sent out on the 'Arracan' to the Andaman Islands to find out what had happened to the captain and crew of the 'Assam Valley' who had been reported as killed on Little Andaman. The first boat to reach the shore capsized and the occupants found themselves in difficulties with the island's natives. A volunteer crew of four men commanded by Dr Douglas took a boat into dangerous surf to try and rescue these men. The first attempt failed but the second attempt brought five men off safely, and yet another effort brought off the rest. The London Gazette of 17th Dec 1867 says:

'Dr Douglas accomplished these trips through the surf to the shore by no ordinary exertion. He stood in the bow of the boat and worked her in an intrepid, seamanlike manner, cool to a degree, as if what he was doing was an act of everyday life. The four privates behaved in an equally cool and collected manner, rowing through the roughest surf, where the slightest hesitation or want of pluck on the part of any of them would have been attended with the gravest risks. It is reported that 17 officers and men were thus saved from what otherwise must have been a fearful risk, if not certainty of death.

Campbell Douglas was born in Quebec on 5th Aug 1840 but lived in Dunmow, Essex. He reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel and retired as surgeon-major in 1881. He also received the silver medal of the Royal Humane Society. He died in Horrington, Somerset on 31st Dec 1909.

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by Stephen Luscombe