Augustine Peter Curtin

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Dr. Augustine Peter "Doc" "A.P." Curtin
A.P. Curtin.jpg
Surg. Lt. Curtin in 1943 at Kawasaki Camp 2B
Nickname Doc
Born April 20, 1914(1914-04-20)
Died November 7, 1993(1993-11-07) (aged 79)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force (RAF)
Rank Surgeon Lieutenant
  • World War II
Prison of War Camps
  • The Legion of Merit
Other work Physician

Dr. Augustine Peter "Doc" "A.P." Curtin (April 20, 1914(1914-04-20) - November 7, 1993(1993-11-07))


Dr. Augustine Peter "Doc" "A.P." Curtin was born on the 20th of April, 1914.[1] He studied medicine in London at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. During World War II he served on destroyers in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He served as the medical officer aboard the Nankin, a troop ship captured by the Germans. He was subsequently handed over to the Japanese.

Following the war he was a general practitioner in Lowestoft. From 1952 to the end of his career he maintained an independent practice in Cheltenham.

His obituary in the British Medical Journal states that during his captivity as a prisoner of war in Japan, he made a scalpel from a 6-in. nail. He also made 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.

The United States presented him with the Legion of Merit.

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 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.[2]

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).

Artifacts pertaining to Augustine Peter Curtin


  1. Information for this biographical sketch comes from "Lest We Forget," Kawasaki News Letter (Edward Jackfert: Wellsburg, West Virginia, December 2000), p. 1.
  2. Peter Curtin’s obituary appeared in the British Medical Journal in 1994 (London: British Medical Association, April 30, 1994, pp. 1157-1158.)

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