John was born in Sedbergh, Yorkshire, to Frederick Proud M.D. and Jane Proud who lived at 12 and then 18 Curzon Street in Maryport, Cumbria.
He was educated at Charterhouse School in London, before going on to study at the College of Medicine from 1910 until 1915. Upon his enrollment at the university in 1910 John lived at 16 Holly Avenue, Newcastle (Day Students Register No 4, p. 103). He was a prolific sportsman, serving on the committees of the college athletics and cricket teams (Medical Gazette Volume XII, p. 102 and Volume XIV p. 176). He also appeared in a students vs professors golf match and participated in lawn tennis doubles matches (Medical Gazette Volume XII p. 131 and Volume XIII pp. 103 and 144). In June 1914 he finished second in the Victor Ludorum Challenge Cup (Medical Gazette Volume XIV, p. 175)
In November 1914 John was appointed House physician to Dr Lyle and Dr Bolam at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (Medical Gazette Volume XV, p. 30).
John was commissioned into the RAMC Special Reserve on 2nd July 1915 at the rank of Lieutenant. He was promoted to Captain on 16th January 1916, and to Acting Major on 4th January 1918. On 1st June 1918, John transferred to the Regular Army, gaining a permanent regular commission at the rank of Lieutenant (Temporary Captain).
He was awarded the Military Cross "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He worked continuously for forty-eight hours under heavy fire and succeeded in bringing in many wounded men". John went on to be further recognised "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He worked for five days in charge of bearers practically without rest, personally assisting to evacuate stretcher cases under the heaviest shell fire", and was awarded a Military Cross bar.
John was wounded on 28th July 1918 while acting as bearer officer for the forward clearing of wounded of an infantry brigade. John died of his wounds on the 1st August 1918 aged 26 years old. His Colonel wrote "He was quite fearless and one of the best officers I have ever had serving under me." (http://www.ramc-ww1.com/profile.php?profile_id=8687)
Obituary, Medical Gazette Vol XIX, p. 11: ‘It was with the greatest regret that I heard of the death of J.D. Proud, and I am sure all who knew him will mourn the loss of one of the best men who ever attended our college of medicine. He was a capital fellow in every way, being a good and keen student, a good sportsman, and, above all, a good comrade, always willing to give you a helping hand if in difficulties. I saw J.D. just about a month before his death, and little did I think it would be the last time, because he was so bright and cheery. It is a great pity he has paid the supreme price, because he had done so well in the army, having attained the rank of captain in the RAMC and having gained the Military Cross with bar for valour in the field. In conclusion I will say I am exceedingly sorry this war has deprived us of such a pal and has deprived the medical profession of such a promising member. A friend.’