John was educated at Charterhouse and at Durham University, where he graduated M.B., B.S. in 1915. As a student he represented his university in all branches of sport, and was described as a good game shot. He was also a keen ornithologist. As soon as he qualified he joined the R.A.M.C., gaining a commission as a lieutenant in the Special Reserve on 2nd July 1915. On 16th January 1916, he was promoted to Captain and then 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." and a bar to the Military Cross "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, thus setting an example of gallantry and devotion to duty under most arduous circumstances." He was wounded on 28th July 1918 while acting as bearer officer for the forward clearing of wounded of an infantry brigade. He died from his wounds at a casualty clearing station four days later. His Colonel wrote "He was quite fearless and one of the best officers I have ever had serving under me." John was the only son of Frederick and Jane Proud of 5 Osborne Terrace, Newcastle-on-Tyne.