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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Capt. H S Ranken. VC RAMC Legion d'Honneur


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I could not find a register or visitors book for this cemetery, and the fact that there are WW1 graves in this place is not readily visible from outside. Ranken's grave is second from the left in this picture.



Extract from CWGC site:


Initials: H S

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Captain

Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps

Age: 31

Date of Death: 25/09/1914

Awards: VC

Additional information: Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (France), for gallant conduct during the operations from 21st to 30th August 1914. Son of the Rev. Henry Ranken and Helen Morton Ranken, of The Manse, Irvine, Ayrshire. Native of Glasgow.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: A. 43.


Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 28976, dated 13th Nov., 1914, records the following:-"For tending wounded in the trenches under rifle and shrapnel fire at Hautevesnes on 19th September and on 20th September continuing to attend to wounded after his thigh and leg had been shattered. (He has since died of wounds.)"

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Thanks for posting these and the other pics.

What's the epitaph on Captain Ranken's headstone ?

I can't make it out on the pic above.

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difficult but I think it reads:

La Legion D'Honneur

Fallen to rise

Baffled to fight better

Sleeps to wake

The third line is odd but the best I can do even when the picture is blown up.


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The lack of a CWGC Register & Visitor's Book is probably best explained by experts such as Terry Denham, but my interpretation is if the Cemetery does not have a CWGC Extention the registers do not exist. There is a small green CWGC sign on the wall.

I have visited this cemetery four times and have yet to get a good photo of the grave, as the sun was either casting lots of shadows from the rear or was distorting the image by being too low in the frame. I note without criticism that your shadow (complete with hat !) is superimposed on the photo.

The epitaph is correct as you state it.

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Thanks for detailing the epitaph. Now I just have to figure out what it means.

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The quotation comes from a poem in “Asolando”, Browning's last collection of poems published in 1899, the day that he died,


At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time

When you set your fancies free,

Will they pass to where-by death, fools think, imprisoned-

Low he lies who once so loved you, whom you loved so,

- Pity me?

Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!

What had I on earth to do

With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?

Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel

- Being -who?

One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,

Never doubted clouds would break,

Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,

Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,

Sleep to wake.

No, at noonday in the bustle of man's work-time

Greet the unseen with a cheer!

Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be,

"Strive and thrive!" cry "Speed, - Fight on, fare ever

There as here!"

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In the context of the poem the sense is clear.

Thanks for posting it.

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