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Oscar Glennie Donovan was born in Hantsford, Nova Scotia, on 22 May 1883 to John and Sarah Jane Donovan. He was raised in Truro, attended Colchester County Academy and graduated from Dalhousie Medical College in 1906, followed by a one-year internship at Victoria General Hospital, Halifax.
He settled into a medical practice in New Germany, Lunenberg County, where in 1908 he married Lila Agnes Hamm of Mahone Bay, a graduate of the School of Nursing at the Victoria General Hospital.
In 1914 Dr. Donovan joined the Active Army as a Lieutenant. He enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in 1917 and served overseas as Captain and Commanding Officer for the 22nd Reserve Field Ambulance, during which he was twice awarded the Croix de Guerre. He died at his home in Halifax on 25 January 1945.