The Interned

Lieutenant Colonel E. S. Doughty, D.S.O.
31st (Alberta) BattalionDoughty

Looks somewhat tired and languid. States that he does not feel up to the work. Feels nervous and irritable at times. Does not sleep as well as prior to enlistment. Is troubled with nocturnal emissions. Also has occasioned dizzy spells. States that he feels that he requires a rest.

(“Medical History of an Invalid,” 9 Jul 1919)

Born in India on 25 January 1881, Edward Spencer Doughty was second-in-command with the 31st Bell’s Bulldogs Battalion. Twice wounded in the field, he assumed command of the battalion when the original commander, Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Bell, was promoted to brigadier general on 23 April 1918.

Buried by a shell explosion on 12 June 1916, Doughty suffered severe shell shock. Two weeks later, a medical board recorded, “he is still suffering from sleeplessness and headache; is decidedly tremulous and nervous; requires a complete rest.” He returned to duty two months later.

Doughty had evidently recovered enough to assume command of the 31st during the Final Hundred Days Offensive in summer 1918. He earned the Distinguished Service Order in September for organizing a successful trench raid.

By October 1918, Lieutenant Colonel Nelson Spencer, former commander of the 175th Battalion, replaced Doughty. His nervous symptoms had returned leading to irritability and insomnia. He complained of feeling “depressed and unnatural,” while doctors noted “Periods of depression succeed each other.” He resumed command of the 31st after the armistice and led the battalion home to Alberta.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Doughty had been stationed in Hong Kong for a decade as commissioner of Immigration. When the city fell to the invading Japanese in December 1941, Doughty was interned along with the captured Canadian defenders.

On being repatriated to Canada in 1942, Doughty recounted, “It was the only battle I was ever in where I saw soldiers throw away their uniforms.” He died on 11 March 1958.

Digitized Service File (LAC):

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