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Kennedy, Ronald Sinclair

Captain Ronald Sinclair, M.C., M.D., was reported as killed in action in the casualty list of May 6th. There is not one member of the Hospital, from the most senior to the most junior, who will not mourn his death as one of the greatest losses Guy’s has yet sustained. Mentally, physically, and morally he was a tower of strength. Always cheery, always good-humoured, always certain that we were beating the Hun, it was impossible to be low-spirited or pessimistic in his company.

Generous to a fault, he could not tolerate meanness in others. Manly and courageous himself, he had a supreme contempt for men who accepted safe posts behind the lines. Being originally attached to the artillery, he asked to be exchanged into the infantry, and consequently remained in the line for a year, where he saw much hard fighting, mostly on the Somme, and where also he gained the M.C. for conspicuous bravery. At the end of his year he returned to the artillery, only to exchange again at his own request into the infantry. He was subsequently attached to a Casualty Clearing Station, and it was while he was with a Field Ambulance that he met his death, the Dressing Station being wrecked by shell fire. His last leave was a hurried dash home to appeal against his recall by the Egyptian Government, who had “lent” him for service at the Front. He could not bear to go where there was “nothing doing.” His request being granted, he returned triumphant to his old Company barely a month before his death on April 17th.

Capt. Kennedy was born on July 14th, 1887, and was the only son of Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy, of Woollahra, and Sydney, N.S.W. He was educated at Tonbridge School, Christ’s College, Cambridge and Guy’s. At Cambridge he got his blue for Rugby Football, and distinguished himself also in other branches of athletics. At Guy’s, too he was a most useful member of the XV. and  was one of the best forwards at Guy’s in his time. He took the Diplomas of M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. (London) in April, and M.B., B.C. (Cantab) in June 1912, having taken Cambridge B.A. Honours in 1909. He left Guy’s early in 1913 to join the Egyptian Medical Service, becoming Opthalmic Surgeon to the Daqahlin Province Hospital, and working exclusively on trachoma, one of the scurges of the native population. He was afterwards appointed Inspector of the Ankylostoma Hospitals, where he did most useful and brilliant research work, and on his return from Egypt for active service he gained the M.D. (Cantab) in 1917, for a thesis based on the Notes in the Ankylostominsis Campaign in Egypt.  Had he lived unquestionably his career would have been a distinguished one, but the war which has claimed so many other young lives has claimed him too, and all those who knew him can only remember him as a thorough sportsman, and a very gallant gentleman. He was killed in action on April 17th, 1918. After his death he was awarded a Bar to his M.C. Guy’s Hospital Reports Vol.LXX, War Memorial Number and Guy’s Hospital Gazette 1 June, 1918


First name(s)Ronald Sinclair
Date of birth14 July 1887
Family detailsOnly son of Dr. John William and Mrs Leana Sinclaire Kennedy, of Wallahra, and Sydney, N.S.W.
Previous educationTonbridge School,Christ's College, Cambridge
CollegeGuy's Hospital
Dates at college1909-1912
Dept / courseM.B. Cambridge
QualificationsB.A. Honours.M.B. B.C. Cantab 1912, M.D. (Cantab.) 1917
Military unitRoyal Army Medical Corps, 76th Field Ambulance
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Decorations / medalsM.C. and Bar
Citation(s)M.C.: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in dressing and attending to wounded men under extremely heavy shell fire. At great risk of his life he made several journeys to the front line and personally brought in wounded men who otherwise must have been killed by the intense hostile barrage.
Bar: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When in charge of advanced bearers he collected and led forward reinforcing bearer squads in a most gallant manner through a heavy barrage and through lines of retiring infantry, until he gained touch with the regimental aid-post. He cleared many wounded who would otherwise have been left to the enemy. A splendid example of persevering gallantry and fearlessness.
Date of death17 April 1918
Age at death30
Rank at deathMajor
Cause of deathKilled in action
Burial placeMont Noir Military Cemetery, St. Jans-Cappel
Commemoration(s)Guy's Hospital Memorial
SourcesGuy's Hospital Medical School Records, King's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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