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3/2118 Captain Oswald James Reid - New Zealand Medical Corps
 
With the early enlistment of medical personnel in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) their position were
often filled by recently gradated junior doctors or by older practitioners returning to work. One young doctor was
Oswald James Reid. In the annual report on Porirua Hospital the Superintendant, Br Gray Hassell, commented the lack
of resident assistance.[i]
 
          ‘In the first half of the year I fortunately had the assistance of Dr Gribben,
          whose ability and experience I appreciated all the more because for some
          months prior to his coming I was without a resident assistant. Dr Redpath
          was on duty for about two months in the autumn, and did some good work.
          He left to join the Army Medical Service, and is now on duty in Mesopotamia.
          Dr Hodgson was transferred from Seacliff in May, and is still here; he has
          maintained the high reputation he brought with him. Dr Reid joined our staff
          in September and remained six months, when he was appointed to the Army
          Medical Service, and is now, I believe, on duty in France. He proved himself
          a capable and painstaking officer, and I regret losing his services....’
 
Oswald was born in Wellington on the 19th August 1888 the eldest son of Leonard Greenwall and Elizabeth Reid. Oswald’s father was a district court judge, in Wellington, where Oswald grew up going to the Terrace School and then Wellington College where he:[ii]
 
‘. . . was not only a prominent scholar but also a successful athlete.
While at the college he held the 100 yards and 200 yards championship,
and for some years subsequently, when he was studying medicine
at Otago University, he was the captain of the ‘Varsity Rugby fifteen.’
 
Oswald passed his final exams in August 1915 and in September 1915 had moved back to Wellington and was the
Resident Assistant at Porirua Mental Hospital before enlisted in the New Zealand Medical Corps of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF). On the 30th March 1916 Dr Reid entered camp and became 3/2118 Lieutenant Reid and following basic training and before leaving for Egypt was promoted to Captain. Captain Reid departed New Zealand on
the 6th May 1916 as a member of the 12th Reinforcements New Zealand Medical Corps, No 2 Field Ambulance Reinforcements.[iii]
 
Captain Reid served in Egypt until June 1918 with the Field Ambulance or on attachment to the New Zealand Mounted units fighting in Palestine. In August 1918 Captain Reid was attached to the SS Wiltshire accompanying sick and wounded soldiers to New Zealand, he remained in New Zealand and was able to provide ‘excellent service during the influenza (Spanish Flu) epidemic.’[iv]  
 
Captain Reid remained with the army until the 23rd September 1919 when he was ‘struck from the strength of the NZEF and placed on the reserve (temporary) of officers.[v] Dr Reid had requested the discharge as he had no experience as a house surgeon and wished to travel to London for post graduate work hospital experience. Dr Reid’s noted that.
 
‘. . . I qualified subsequent to the out-break of war, and have no experience as a house-surgeon, I am 30 years
of age and wish to proceed to England for post graduate work as soon as possible. During my service abroad
I had no hospital experience and in so far any junior officer could adequately carry out my personal duties I
feel that my length of service merits your favourable consideration of this my application.’
 
The application was supported by his commanding officer who wrote that
 
‘ Capt Reid is a hard-working, reliable, conscientious officer whom I should be very sorry to lose.’
                            
Oswald  left New Zealand for England remaining there for four years, at one stage being in charge of City of London Maternity Hospital. Dr Reid’s return to New Zealand was signalled with the following card.
 
 
         
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oswald was also reactivated in the NZMC Reserves and attached to the 6th (Manawatu ) Mounted Rifles being
responsible for the examination and treatment New Zealand Defence Force personnel.
Oswald remained in Wellington for two years but at the end of 1926 moved to live in Takapau, Hawkes Bay. In January
1927 he returned to Wellington and the Bowen Street Hospital for treatment but died, possibly from appendicitis,
on the 29th January 1927.
 
(Possibly a photo of his grave there is a site reference in his papers if can’t locate a photo of him )
 
Notes:
Possibly Dr St Leger H Gribben
3/2950 Captain George Redpath NZMC & RAMC
3/3159 Captain Ronald George Keith Hodgson
 
References:
Archway archives New Zealand – Military Files: 3/2113 Captain Oswald James Reid
Paper Past Online
NZ BDM Online
 
Photos:
NZ Munted Rifles at Tel el Saba, Palestine,  1st November 1917: Wikipedia
 
[i] Annual Report Porirua Hospital (5 August 1916) Evening Post
[ii] Obituary Dr O J Reid (2nd February 1927) Evening Post
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 3/2118 Captain Oswald James Reid.
[iv] Obituary Dr O J Reid (2nd February 1927) Evening Post
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 3/2118 Captain Oswald James Reid.
 
 
 
ANZAC Landiongs 1915