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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Ryan, Charles Snodgrass

Ryan, Charles Snodgrass, M.B., C.M., was born on Sept. 20th, 1853, in Melbourne, Vict., and educated at the Church of England Grammar School, and subsequently at the Melbourne University, as a student of medicine; afterwards he proceeded to Edinburgh, where he graduated in medicine and surgery, and took the degrees of M.B. and C.M. He then travelled on the Continent and studied medicine in France, Austria, and Italy. In Sept. 1876 he entered the Turkish service, and was forthwith sent to Nisch, where he was placed in charge of a large hospital during the Servian war. He was afterwards sent to the Orchanie Balkans in charge of 3000 Turkish soldiers, and from there was ordered to march to Widdin, although still suffering from a severe attack of dysentery. He reached that place in ten days, having nearly died from exhaustion on the road. Whilst in Widdin he was present during nine bombardments. From Widdin he proceeded with Osman Pacha to Plevna, which he gained after marching for three successive days and nights, and was present at the first battle of that memorable conflict, being the only doctor on the field. He was in the Turkish ranks at the great action of July 31st. On Sept. 8th his horse was shot under him, and his attendant killed by his side, whilst riding into one of the Turkish redoubts, which was about to be attacked by Skobeleff. At the battle of Gravitza he entered one of the redoubts captured by the Turks from the Russians, and on the Turks, in their turn, being expelled from this redoubt, Dr. Ryan was the last to leave it, which he did leading his horse, on which he had placed two Turkish soldiers whose legs were broken. In this plight he returned to Plevna, a distance of six miles, for the first two miles of which he was exposed to a very heavy fire. He next accompanied the expedition to Loftcha. On Oct. 18th he left Plevna for Constantinople, and was sent to Erzeroum as head of an ambulance. Here he remained four months in charge of a hospital. During this period the city was besieged by the Russians for six weeks, and for four weeks Dr. Ryan was suffering from a severe attack of typhus, which disease carried off twenty-two out of thirty-six surgeons in Erzeroum, more than sixteen thousand Turkish soldiers dying from it and from dysentery. For his services during the war he received the order of the Medjidie of the fourth class, the order of the Osmanieh of the third class, and the war medal. Dr. Ryan married on July 5th, 1883, Alice Elfrida, daughter of the Hon. Theophilus J. Sumner, M.L.C., of Stony Park, Brunswick, Vict.