Lieutenant Commander Rankin joined the RAN in 1921 and, between the wars, had postings in Australia and the United Kingdom. Rankin returned to Australia in late 1941, and was engaged in hydrographic work near Sydney when Japan entered the war. In late January 1942, he joined the sloop Yarra, assuming command on 11 February. On 4 March 1942, Rankin was killed when Yarra was sunk protecting a convoy from a large Japanese naval force. Rankin did not receive an honour for this action.
In 2011, Rankin was listed in the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into unresolved recognition for past acts of naval and military gallantry and valour. The following is a link to Chapter 22 of the Report of the Inquiry which focusses on Rankin:
This Chapter should be read in conjunction with Chapter 21, HMAS Yarra.
The Tribunal received 24 written submissions in relation to Lieutenant Commander Rankin. These submissions are lised below.