- Swinden, Greg
- Biographies and personal histories, WWII operations, History - WW1
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Rankin, HMAS Anzac I, HMAS Albatross, HMAS Brisbane I, HMAS Canberra I, HMAS Moresby I, HMAS Yarra II, HMAS Cerberus (Shore Establishment), HMAS Penguin II, HMAS Australia II, HMAS Melbourne I
- September 1994 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
One of the survivors, Ordinary Seaman W.D. Witheriff, brought with him the only relic saved from YARRA. As the action Bosun’s Mate he was required to carry a Bosun’s Call (pipe) and when he abandoned ship he took it with him. This Bosun’s Call is now on display at the Australian War Memorial. ((22 WITHERIFF, W.D. – Correspondence with Author. Ordinary Seaman Bill Witheriff is a HMAS YARRA survivor. ))
Perhaps the final epitaph of YARRA was written by a British sailor from the destroyer HMS STRONGHOLD held prisoner in one of the Japanese cruisers.
We were taken on deck and shown as they tried to impress us the might of the Japanese Navy. The YARRA was the only ship left afloat and we could see flames and a great deal of smoke. The destroyers were circling YARRA which appeared stationary and were pouring fire into her. She was still firing back as we could see odd gun flashes. The three cruisers then formed line ahead and steamed away from the scene. The last we saw of YARRA was a high column of smoke, but we were vividly impressed by her fight“.23 Rankin died as he had lived, determined to do his best and not let the service down. His actions on that fateful day in March 1942 have earned him and YARRA a glorious page in the history of the Royal Australian Navy, and he has not been forgotten.
At the RAN College, HMAS CRESWELL, his sword and medals are on display to inspire another generation of Naval Officers. His medals were presented to the College in 1992 by Rankin’s daughter, Trish. Ironically, the Commanding Officer of the College at that time was Captain Simon Harrington, son of the late Vice Admiral Sir Hastings Harrington.
In Darwin, which Rankin visited several times during his service in HMAS MORESBY, Rankin Street was named in his honour during the early 1960’s. ((PARRY, A.F. – Ibid.))
Neither Rankin, nor any of the Ship’s Company of YARRA, received any decorations for the actions on 4th March 1942, however, the Navy has decided to honour Lieutenant Commander Rankin’s memory in a most significant manner.
In Adelaide, South Australia, six new submarines for the RAN are under construction. The new submarines are to carry the names of famous RAN personnel. The sixth is to bear the name HMAS RANKIN.
ARCHIBALD, J.R. – Ordinary Seaman – YARRA survivor. Correspondence with Author.
AUSTIN, K.A. – “YARRA IN BATTLE”. Chapter in Australians in War, 1974.
BALDWIN, SUZY (ed) – Unsung Heroes and HEROINES of Australia.
COULTHARD-CLARK, C. – White Ensign, 1939-45. The Navy Goes to War, 1993.
DUFFY, C.J. – “Rankin of *yarra”. Biographical address delivered by Monsignor Duffy to Meeting of Naval Historical Society, February 1972.
ELDRIDGE, F.B. – History of the Royal Australian College, 1949. GATACRE, G.G.O. – Report of Proceedings. Nautical Press and Publications, 1982.
GILLET, R. – Australian and New Zealand Warships, 1914-1945. Doubleday, Australia, 1983.
HERMAN-GILL, G. – Royal Australian Navy, 1939-1942. Australian War Memorial, 1957.
JONES, R. – Seagulls, Cruisers and Catapults. Pelorus Publications, Tasmania, 1989.
LIND, L. – Historical Naval Events of Australia Day by Day, 1982.
MANTHEY, R. – Ordinary Seaman – YARRA survivor. Correspondence with Author.
McLEAN (nee BROUGHTON) Mrs MOLLY (Widow of LCDR RANKIN) – Correspondence with Author.
PARRY, A.F. – HMAS YARRA, 1936-1942. Naval Historical Society of Australia, 1980.
PAYNE, A. – HMAS CANBERRA. Naval Historical Society of Australia, 1991.
RAN COLLEGE – Magazine: 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924.
RANKIN, P. (Daughter of LCDR RANKIN) – Correspondence with Author.
ROBERTS, T.F. (LCDR RAN RETD) – Correspondence with Author. LTCDR Roberts served with HMAS MORESBY, 1936-38.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY LISTS – Appointment dates to ships and promotion dates were derived from the RAN Navy Lists, a Quarterly publication listing officers, seniority, ships currently serving in and courses conducted:- 1921 until 1942.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVAL COLLEGE – Magazines 1921-1924 and RANC Archives.
WITHERIFF, W.D. – Ordinary Seaman – YARRA Survivor. Correspondence with Author.