RANNS, George

No.13801, Private, George RANNS
Aged 18

7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday, 3rd July 1916

George Ranns was born in 1897 in Eriswell (Mildenhall Q4-1897 4A:827), son of Walter Lewis and Betsy RANNS (née FLACK).

1901 census...Aged 3, he was at Cranhouse Farm, Eriswell with his father Walter RANNS [31] horsekeeper born Cavenham; his mother Bessie [29] born Lakenheath; brother Sidney [5], sister Jessie [2] and cousin Mabel RANNS [15]. All the children were born in Eriswell.

1911 census...Aged 13, farm labourer, he was at Canada Farm, Icklingham with his parents, brother Walter Sidney; sisters Jessie Maud and Hilda Mary [9] born Eriswell; brothers Charles Henry [8] and Fred [5] both born in Icklingham.

CWGC have his mother's address as Barnham Lodge, Elveden, she had married Richard BLAKELY in Q3-1916 (his father died in 1914).

He enlisted in Icklingham.
The war diary :-
"July 3rd- At 3:15 am the battalion made a frontal attack on Ovillers on a frontage of 200 yards; the disposition of the Battalion was as follows:- "D" Coy on the right, "C" Coy on the left, supported by "B" Coy on the right , "A" Coy on the left. On the right of the battalion was the 5th Royal Berks and on the left the 37th Brigade, the 36th Brigade being in reserve. Two companies of the Essex Regt were in support to each battalion, the Norfolks being in reserve.
Zero was 3:15, ten minutes before zero the leading waves advanced under cover of the bombardment and at the hour of zero the battalion assaulted in eight successive waves. The first 4 waves (D and C Coys) penetrated to the enemy's third line and portions of them into the village itself, but owing to the darkness, touch was lost with succeeding waves and with the 5th Royal Berks on the right, so that the leading waves were not supported closely enough, thus allowing the Germans to get in between the waves and cut off the leading ones at the 3rd line of resistance, it was at this 3rd German line that the chief casualties occurred and the assault was brought to a standstill. the two companies of the Essex Regt moving up in support were too far behind and were practically annihilated by machine gun fire during the advance across the open. The casualties in the battalion were 21 Officers and 458 O.R. killed, wounded or missing,though some of the missing eventually rejoined the battalion during the following night".

158 men died, all bar 2 of those with known graves are in Ovillers Cemetery, but 112 have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme (amongst over 72,000 such names).

George fell with Horace Sharman see here

George Ranns is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, pier and face 1C/2A
and also commemorated on the Weather Heath Memorial (Elveden Column by the A11)

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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