CFHS code : MG151

Parish : St Mary the Great

Inscription : In Ever Loving Memory of Our dear parents GEORGE RANNER d Oct 4th 1922 aged 67 also of CELIA ANN d Jan 13th 1924 aged 72 and of their son HENRY JOHN RANNER d November 16th 1949 aged 60

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202142, 0.13834164 – click here for location

Ranner headstone
The Ranner Monument
Ranner inscription


A small headstone, partially covered by ivy but with a well preserved inscription, the Ranner monument is located four rows from the east wall.


‘In ever loving memory of our dear parents George Ranner entered into rest Oct. 4th 1922. Aged 67 years.

Also of Celia Ann entered into rest Jan. 13th 1924. Aged 72 years.’

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

And of their son
Henry John Ranner died November 16th 1949 aged 60 years

George Ranner (1855 – 4 October 1922)

George was born in Borough Green, a village six miles south of Newmarket. He was the son of agricultural labourer John Ranner and his wife Harriet.  He married Celia Plumb in 1879 and the couple went to live at 46 Mill Road (1881).  George worked for Great Eastern Railway as a signalman (1881) and then as a railway goods guard (1891 onwards).

George and Celia had nine children: Rev. Sidney Charles (1880-1953), Ernest George (1882-1945), Kate Ethel (1884-1934), Maud Mary (1886-1955), Constance Annie (1888-1959), Henry John (1889-1949), Captain Rev. Frank (1891-1964) and George William (1898-1975).   From 1891 onwards  the family lived at 18 Catharine Street. George died aged 67 years old.

Celia Ann Ranner  (née Plumb) ( 1851 – 13 January 1924) 

Celia was born in Brinkley, just south of Newmarket and the next village to Borough Green where George Ranner grew up. She was the daughter of Henry and Jane Plumb and was baptised in Brinkley on 21 September 1851.  Her father was also an agricultural labourer and by 1861 the family had moved to live in Six Mile Bottom.   She married George Ranner in 1879 when she was c.28 years old and died at 18 Catharine Street 15 months after being widowed.

Henry John Ranner (6 November 1889 – 16 November  1949)

Henry was the third son of George and Celia.  Aged 21 he was living at Catharine Street and working at the Eaden Lilley Department Store as an assistant in the furniture department.   He signed up to serve with the Cambridgeshire Regiment in September 1916.  In November 1917 he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Cambrai in France.  He was imprisoned for almost a year  and when he returned home to Cambridge in November 1918 his home-coming was extensively reported in the Cambridge Independent Press.

Asked about his time as a prisoner he said ‘The thing I felt most was the deliberate neglect that was shown to the sick men.  The did not receive proper attention when it could have been given to them. I have known cases where men have died from lack of treatment. There was a fearful scarcity of medicines etc. in Germany, and paper bandages were used.  They only provided two meals per day. For breakfast we had a piece of black bread – four men to a loaf – and for dinner we had either maize, barley or cabbage, with a little horseflesh. So on one day we had maize, on the next day barley and on the following day cabbage, with horseflesh on all three.  During the first part of our imprisonment men died from dysentry and dropsy. At that time the sanitary arrangements were most inadequate – oh it was wicked! After six weeks we were sent to France and Belgium to help with the transport of munitions behind the lines. On one Sunday in October we were carrying munitions and when we protested we were told that if we refused machine guns would be turned on us.  When night fell we took advantage of the darkness.  We dumped a  large number of shells down a well, broke open boxes containing machine guns and threw them over the hedge as we passed along.  We destroyed thousands of cartridges.  I myself took cartridges and threw them into beds of nettles.  We took nose caps off some larger shells and springs out of others.  We did everything we could in fact to render the stuff useless. Of course if we had been discovered we should have been shot, but we took good care to let the guard get a long way in front’.

He also told the newspaper how the prisoners had to wait six months for food parcels to arrive from Britain.  For the last three months they did not receive any parcels as the German guards took them instead in order to eat. One day they were marched eight miles to Hal, handed over to a German batallion and then escorted to the British lines.   Henry admitted the men were confused as when they reached a nearby village there wasn’t a German soldier in sight. ‘We stood on a high bank and sang ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Sons of the Sea’ so that the Germans could hear us’.  Henry marched to Lille, and from there took a Red Cross train to Calais and then onwards to Dover and London before returning to Cambridge.  The newspaper ended its report ‘In conclusion Rifleman Ranner expressed the hope that the Allies would not be too easy with the Germans. ‘I have seen a good deal of them’ he said ‘and I can’t help feeling a bit vindictive”.

He returned to work in the furniture salesman at Eaden Lilley, and in 1939 was living at Belstone, 185 Cherry Hinton Road with his brother George and sister Jane.  He did not marry and died at Cherry Hinton Road aged 60 years old.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Celia Ann Ranner; George Ranner; Henry John Ranner
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