Dr Alfred Nicolle de Gruchy
Alfred Nicolle de Gruchy, born on 31 July 1866, was the son of Joshua de Gruchy, of Jersey. He entered College in 1881, leaving the following year in order to take a Bank appointment. From this he went for a time to an insurance office in Birmingham, but although he remained there for some years, he was all the time studying chemistry, and eventually became a medical student at Edinburgh.
In due course he obtained his MB and ChB, and subsequently held various Government appointments, notably that of Medical Officer at the Seychelles, where his knowledge of French was of much value. It was from there that he wrote on one occasion that he had just been dining with Braithwaite in Madagascar. Later he somewhat unwisely accepted a similar appointment at Lagos, with the result that his health was permanently impaired, and he then abandoned the Government service and took a post as a ship`s doctor.
He was serving in this capacity on the Intaba at the outbreak of war. His ship was taken over by Government as a troopship and he became a naval doctor in her. He was at sea continuously till Christmas Day 1915, when he was found dead in his bunk, of heart failure. Former illnesses - blackwater fever, dysentery, malaria, as well as chronic rheumatism - had all left their mark on him and aged him prematurely.
This from his ship:- “He bore his physical infirmities with that air of stoic, philosophical calm that characterized his cheerful outlook on life in general, taking the good and the bad, like the happy Bohemian he was at heart. His fund of anecdote and his wide knowledge of literature gave him a place among our circle that was his only, and with him we lost an entertaining and instructive friend.”