Ambrose Rayner hailed from Fornham All Saints in Suffolk and during his 41 years in the lodge held many offices, including Worshipful Master in 1925. Known as ‘Army’ to his friends and family, he was known also as ‘Ray’ to his colleagues in the Metropolitan Police with whom he served for 25 years.
Ambrose was born on 3rd December 1885, one of thirteen children. After working on a local farm, while still in his early teens, he went to London where he took employment intially as a Porter and Lamp Boy on the local railway at Lea Bridge and later as a gardener in Dulwich.
A career in the police beckoned so he moved, first to Cambridgeshire, and then back to London.
Initially he took employment with the Cambridgeshire County Constabulary as Police Constable 19, serving at Whittlesford, near Duxford. However, in 1907 he joined the Metropolitan Police working at Commercial Street Police Station, London E.1. During his time in the Metropolitan Police he was employed at the seige of Sidney Street in 1911 and was later to become one of the first members of what became known as ‘The Flying Squad’.
On his retirement from the force in 1933, Mr. F. G. Langley, Magistrate sitting at Old Street Police Court, in reference to Detective Sergeant Rayner’s retirement said that ‘……his work was well known to all, and had added to the moral welfare of the district and to the happiness of a great number of people’.
Following his retirement for the force, Ambrose took employment as a private investigator with The Tobacco Trade Association (TTA).
However, on the outbreak of World War II Ambrose rejoined the Police as a Police Reserve Sergeant and placed in charge of a small sub-station in Whitechapel. Here he was in charge of Specials and War Reserves, but after a lifetime as a detective he found the work mundane. He retired and again worked for the TTA, while acting as a Shelter Marshall part-time.
Following his marriage to Mary Sutton Chatburn on 20th April 1915 in Streatham, the couple moved to 58 Ufton Road, Dalston, London N.1 where they resided until their deaths.
Having been appointed London Rank he was further rewarded with Grand Rank, namely Past Grand Standard Bearer in March 1953. Sadly he died a few months later on 1st September 1953.
Even in death his renown as a detective was not forgotten.
With grateful thanks to Ambrose’s grandson, David Randall.