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Ronald Benjamin RANKIN

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Cpl 4266 20y2m 13 Sep 1915 2 Feb 1920 2

Corporal Ronald Benjamin Rankin (1887 - 1931)

Rankin Brothers Booklet

The Rankin Family

On the honour board in the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel with the name of Colonel Dr D. G. Croll CBE on the top line are the names of three Rankin brothers.  Their father was Robert Alexander Rankin (junior), a Brisbane City Council alderman and gentleman of independent means whose father Robert Alexander Rankin (senior) was a co-founder of the confectionery firm Rankin and Morrow. Their mother was Jessie née Philip.

Alderman R. A. Rankin resigned his West Ward seat on the Brisbane City Council and the Fish Board in 1906 for health reasons. Their residence was at Woodlands, 137 North Quay where they raised their family of five sons and two daughters.  They worshipped at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  

After Mr Rankin’s death at the age of 60 years in 1908, Mrs Jessie Rankin lived at Merthyr Road, New Farm and later at Virginia Avenue, Hawthorne, Brisbane with Ronald until his death in 1931.  Mrs Jessie Rankin died in 1935.

Early life

Ronald Benjamin Rankin was the fourth son and sixth child of Robert Alexander and Jessie Rankin.  He was born in Brisbane on 7 June 1887. He lived with his mother at Enoch Emo, Merthyr Road, New Farm and he worked as a clerk.  In his early twenties he found employment as a labourer in Townsville.

Enlistment and service

At the age of 29 years he enlisted in Townsville to serve in the Australian Imperial Force on 13 September 1915.  He was trained with 10th Reinforcements for 25th Infantry Battalion at Enoggera before embarking from Brisbane per HMAT1 Commonwealth on 28 March 1916, bound for England.

Private Rankin spent some three months in hospital in England and after further training proceeded to France to join his unit in the field.  The 25th Battalion at this time was engaged around the Somme and in Belgium in dangerous and muddy conditions.  He was granted leave in England late in 1917 and on return took the rank of corporal.  His battalion did not carry out any major offensive role at this time, though it acted in a supportive way in the second battle of Bullecourt.

Corporal Rankin was again in hospital in March 1918 and on discharge was sent to the Australian Base Depot at Le Havre.  On 12 October 1918 he was transferred to 26th Battalion and posted soon afterwards to an NCO2 School in France.  

In 1919 in England Ben Rankin spent periods in hospital in Codford, Weymouth and Pershouse while waiting for return to Australia.  His elder brother, George also of 26th Battalion returned on the same ship Pakeha. He was discharged from the AIF on 2 February 1920.

Post war

Ben Rankin resumed his occupation as a clerk and lived with his mother at Merthyr Road, New Farm and later at Virginia Avenue, Hawthorne, Brisbane.  He did not marry.  He died at St. Helen's Hospital, South Brisbane on 26 August 1931 at the early age of 44 years and was buried at Toowong Cemetery. 

1. His Majesty’s Australian Transport
2. Non-commissioned officer

• National Archives of Australia, Canberra, military records
• Australian War Memorial - Embarkation  Rolls, Unit Histories
The Brisbane Courier, 10 Dec 1925, page 10; 6 June 1933, page 10
The Telegraph, 15 Sept 1906, page 8; 11 Oct 1905, page 2
• Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Annual Reports 1900 – 1930, Archives, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Brisbane
• Queensland Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages
• Queensland Electoral Rolls, 1903 – 1963
• Brisbane City Council, Cemetery Records
• State Library of Queensland

Compiled by N. E. Adsett, Brisbane. March 2016 ©



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