Dr. Joseph Culloden Eager was born on the 26th of October, 1884 in Waterdown, Ontario. He was the eldest of 3 children born to James Edward Eager and the former Elizabeth Mullock. His father was a merchant in Waterdown and his twin sisters Agnes Ramage Eager and Mary Tassie Eager were born on the 7th of May, 1887. Dr. Eager’s mother died of tuberculosis in Waterdown on the 27th of March, 1891. His father married Agnes Eliza Maud Higginson on the 21st of September, 1898 and they had 3 more children. A daughter Eliza Helen Fielde Eager was born on the 8th of February 1904, a son Alfred William Higginson Eager was born on the 20th of April, 1905 and another son James Edward Benjamin Eager was born on the 2nd of August, 1907.
Dr. Eager was 26 years old when he graduated from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in 1910. However his name appears on birth/death records in Raleigh Twp in 1905. It is unknown if he had medical credentials from another country that were not recognized in Canada and he was doing a practicum to be accepted at The University of Toronto or if he was working in the community with a licensed physician as part of his matriculation. In letters that Dr. Eager wrote during WWI, he documents the fact that he interned at Hamilton General Hospital.
In 1911, Dr. Eager was employed by Dr. William Brown in Neustadt, Ontario. Dr Brown was a medical practitioner and Dr. Eager lived with Dr. Brown and his family which included a daughter named Louise and a son named Elmer.
Dr. Eager enlisted in WWI in London, Ontario on the 29th of December, 1915. His father James Eager was listed as his next-of-kin. (That was later changed to his wife after his marriage). On his medical history sheet he was listed as 5’11”, 134 pounds with a slight build.
Prior to going oversea’s, Dr. Eager married Dr. Brown’s daughter, Louise Barbara Brown in Waterdown on the 5th of January, 1916. Mrs. Eager was born in Neustadt on the 6th of February, 1883, the daughter of Dr. William Brown and the former Regina Henrietta Winkler. Her mother died at the age of 34 of pneumonia on the 20th of March, 1898. Besides her younger brother Elmer Wellington Brown, Mrs. Eager had an older brother named Arthur Valentine Brown.
When Dr. Eager arrived in England in January of 1916, he received training in battle related injuries at the Canadian Army Medical Training School in Sandgate. On the 31st of May, 1916, Dr. Eager fell and broke his right arm. He was admitted to the Queen’s Canadian Military Hospital in London, England on the 2nd of June, 1916 and discharged on the 7th of June. In April of 1917, Dr. Eager was at the No. 1 Canadian Hospital in Étaples, in Northern France. On December 25th of 1917, he wrote to his father in Waterdown and told him he was eating his Christmas turkey dinner at an aid post.
On the 14th of June, 1918, Dr. Eager wrote to his father that he had attended a dance at the clearing station and he mentioned that the hospital in Étaples had been bombed with many lives lost and many more wounded.
As part of the 78th Battalion, Dr. Eager served at the No. 2 Stationary Hospital in Abbeville, (Northern France) as of the 11th of August, 1918.
Dr. Eager received a severe gun shot wound to the face on the 10th of August, 1918 while working in a field hospital in France. When Dr. Eager was presented with the Military Cross on the 3rd of November, 1918, the following was the commendation that came with the medal; “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Throughout the fighting this officer worked unceasingly ministering to the wounded, frequently under heavy shelling and machine-gun fire. He went without food or sleep and when wounded (Dr. Eager) refused to leave until his station was cleared.” Dr. Eager was admitted to the Devonport Military Hospital 4 days after he was wounded.
Dr. Eager was officially struck off strength due to demobilization on the 22nd of August, 1919. Upon returning to Canada, Dr. Eager set up a medical practice in Hamilton, Ontario.
Mrs. Eager died on the 22nd of February, 1923. At the time of her death, Dr. and Mrs. Eager resided at 8 Glendale Crescent in Hamilton.
Dr. Eager served as the Commanding Officer of the No. 19 Field Ambulance Unit. As early as 1935 until the time of his death, Dr. Eager resided at 947 Main Street East in Hamilton. Dr. Eager retired from the practice of medicine in June of 1948.
Dr. Eager died at the Hamilton General Hospital on the 25th of December, 1948. Dr. and Mrs. Eager were buried at Grace Anglican Church Cemetery in Waterdown.
*Dr. Eager’s brother James Edward Benjamin Eager also became a physician. Both of Mrs. Eager’s brothers, Arthur Brown and Elmer Brown became physicians.