- Swinden, Greg
- None noted
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Moresby I, HMAS Yarra II
- September 2005 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
On 23 July 2005, Mrs Molly McLean (the widow of LCDR R W Rankin, RAN) passed away in Charters Towers, QLD. She was 92 years old.
Molly was born Mary Glennie Broughton in Townsville in 1912 and after leaving school trained as a nurse. She met the then LEUT Bob Rankin when he was serving as a Hydrographic officer in the WW1 sloop HMAS Moresby in the 1930s and the two were married at Thursday Island in 1937. The Rankins live in Britain during 1938-41, while LCDR Rankin was on exchange service with the Royal Navy, and their daughter Patricia was born in 1940.
On return to Australia in 1941, LCDR Rankin conducted a detailed survey of the Pittwater (north of Sydney) before taking command of the sloop, HMAS Yarra, on 11 Feb 1942. Yarra was then involved in the desperate Allied attempts to stem the tide of Japanese invasion in south east Asia.
On 4 March 1942, a convoy being escorted by Yarra was attacked by several Japanese warships, south of Java, and despite brave attempts to protect the convoy and during the fierce action LCDR Rankin was killed on the bridge by shellfire, and Yarra was sunk. There were only 13 survivors from the crew of 151 and the last of these men (Reg Manthey and Jack Archibold, who served onboard as ordinary seamen) died earlier this year.
After the War, Molly remarried and resided in Charters Towers, NQLD. She is survived by her daughter, Ms Trish Rankin, who lives in Canada.