LIEUTENANT BERTRAM COLEBY RANSOME
ARMY SERVICE CORPS
30TH JUNE 1918 AGE 47
BURIED: STE MARIE CEMETERY, LE HAVRE, FRANCE
Bertram Ransome was forty-five, a director of the family firm, Ransome, Sims and Jefferies of Ipswich, married and with six children when he joined the Royal Defence Corps on its formation in March 1916. The corps was intended only for home duties: guarding ports, bridges and prisoners of war. But a year later Ransome transferred to the Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport Section and went to France.
Ransome was a mechanical engineer, his firm, which made agricultural equipment, turned out aeroplanes during the war. In France he was involved with the building of the hospitals at Trouville. In 1917, he transferred to the 8th Auxiliary Steam Co. which was beginning to use steam vehicles to move heavy equipment and guns. In June 1918 he became ill with influenza and died from pneumonia in hospital in Le Havre.
His wife, Phyllis Ransome, chose his inscription from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's A Psalm of Life. Despite knowing very little of the man, from the little I've discerned from websites like this, the words of the poem would seem to suit him well. These are the last three verses:
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.