Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Lieutenant William Reginald Pryn, MRCS, LRCP*, 9th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, died in the casualty clearing station at Hazebrouck in France. He was on temporary duty on the firing line with the Wiltshire Regiment, and had been delousing troops in the trenches, using paraffin. A soldier carelessly lit up a cigarette and set him alight. He was taken to the casualty clearing station but was so badly burned he could not survive.
(*LRCP: the diploma of Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians was reserved for medical graduates, mainly Bachelors of Medicine from Oxford and Cambridge; it is no longer awarded.)
The son of Deputy Surgeon General W.W. Pryn, R.N., Lieutenant Pryn was educated in Tavistock and then spent five years at Guy’s Hospital in London – he was remembered as a hard and conscientious worker who had no difficulty whatsoever in qualifying in the shortest possible time. He was also a member of the Officers’ Training Corps at Guy’s for three years.
At the outbreak of the Great War he held the post of House Surgeon at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford – he immediately offered his services to the War Office, was accepted as a Civil Surgeon and gazetted as a temporary lieutenant. Lieutenant Pryn worked for three months in the hospital at Rouen before being attached to the 1st Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment as Medical Officer until May of 1915. He was then attached to No. 9 Field Ambulance, working in the trenches with the Wiltshire Regiment. He is buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
William from Yeoland, Yelverton, in Devon, was 22 years old.