Captain Harry Ranken RAMC was born in Glasgow in September 1883 the oldest son of Rev Harry Ranken. He was educated at Irvine Royal Academy and graduated MB ChB with commendations in 1905. He entered the Army in 1909 after appointments in several hospitals including the Brook Fever Hospital London. At army medical college he excelled gaining several prizes including the Prize of First Order of Merit. He was promoted to Captain in 1912 and started his research on Trypanosomiasis with Sir William Leishman. He published extensively in medical journals on sleeping sickness its origin and treatment.
When war broke out in 1914 he volunteered for active service and became the regimental medical officer for the 1st Kings Royal Rifle Corps with the BEF. For gallant conduct under fire between 21 and 30 August he was awarded the Croix de Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour and mentioned in despatches. On 19th and 20th September his actions resulted in him gaining the V.C and his death. Severely wounded while in the trenches he stopped the bleeding in his own nearly severed leg and continued despite the pain to tend to the wounded sacrificing his own chance of survival to increase theirs. When finally carried to the rear it was too late and he died of his wounds on 25th September 1914 aged 31. The Times History of War states that " no man ever won the Victoria Cross more nobly than did Captain Harry Ranken RAMC"