Harold Henry Ransom
Private, 14th Co of London (London Scottish)
Age 14, Class IVC: 'Full of enthusiasm for his work.'
Harold Henry Ransom was born in April 1891 and attended Alleyn’s from 1905 to 1906. He lived at 8 Claude Villas in East Dulwich with his parents, Horace and Sarah Ransom, and his brother Horace Roland Ransom. Horace also attended Alleyn's for just a few months in 1905. Another address associated with the family is 238 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich.
After the outbreak of war in August 1914, he decided to leave his job as a clerk to enlist in the British Army. He joined 14th City of London (London Scottish) Regiment in November 1914 after being declared as medically fit for service. During his time with the London Scottish, Harold saw service overseas in France and was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal for a short period of time in 1916 before he decided to revert back to the rank of Private later in the year. In November 1916, he was involved in a tragic accident that left him and 5 other men wounded as a result of a bomb exploding in an enclosed space. The accident occurred in a small hut, shortly before the men were due out on patrol. Corporal Anderson, who was leading the party, was demonstrating to the men how quickly a bomb could be pulled from the inside lining of a jacket. However, midway through the demonstration the safety pin of his grenade caught on his clothing. He attempted to leave the hut with the bomb but was unable to open the door. As a last resort, he pulled the bomb closer to his body to shield the men, including Harold, from the explosion. Luckily, Harold suffered only minor injuries to his left leg and foot which allowed him to return to service after short spell in hospital. Corporal Anderson, who had shielded Harold from the blast, later died of his injuries.
Harold returned to the front after the incident and continued to serve with the London Scottish for the remainder of the war. He married his wife, Ethel, in 1917 and returned home to her in England after the end of the conflict. They had four children together and Harold died in 1958. The images to the right show Harold's identity tag, and a picture of himself and Ethel with their first grandchild in 1948.
For his wartime service he was awarded the British War and Victory Medal.
With thanks to Harold's grandson, David Ransom, for providing the photographs.