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Lot 80: THE HIGHLY IMPORTANT GALLIPOLI D.S.O. GROUP OF SIX AND DIARY OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL ROBERT RANKINE 14 BN. A.I.F.
May 19, 2013
Melbourne, AustraliaLive Auction
THE HIGHLY IMPORTANT GALLIPOLI D.S.O. GROUP OF SIX AND DIARY OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL ROBERT RANKINE 14 BN. A.I.F.
mounted on display bar:
- Distinguished Service Order (G.V.R.)
- 1914-15 Star impressed to reverse 'Major R. Rankine 14/BN A.I.F'
- British War Medal impressed 'Lieut-Col R. Rankine A.I.F.'
- Victory Medal impressed 'Lt-Colonel R.Rankine A.I.F.'
- Long Service Medal (G.V.R.) impressed 'Major R. Rankine D.S.O. U.List'
- Colonial Auxiliary Services Medal privately impressed 'Major R. Rankine D.S.O. U.L.'
and related items:
- Lett's pocket diary for 1915 with green leather cover, inscribed in ink to the fly leaf 'In the event of my being killed in action to my I desire that this diary be forwarded to my wife Mrs R. Rankine "Dunmore" Avoca Avenue, St Kilda Victoria. Gallipoli April 26th 1915', the diary includes detailed entries in pencil for every day from December 21st 1914 'left Broadmeadows camp commanding advance Coy. Bivouaced in Sturt St Street, very wet' to Tuesday December 21st December 1915 'Passed inwards through Heads 6 am exactly one year from date of leaving fine day', other entries of note include 27th April 1915 'Turned out of our dug outs at daylight + formed up, started up the high hills in single file on narrow path winding through low scrub 2 ft high, terrific fire the whole morning. My company pushed forward up a jungle covered ridge 1000 feet; very difficult + trying. Entrenched under heavy fire from within 500 yards + had many casualties before noon. At 12.15 Turks brought up machine gun and in 3 minutes had given me 23 casualties, panic followed but lasted very short time. Could not hear yourself speak for din of firing, naval ships all joined in cries + screams of wounded most distressing. Afternoon brought many more casualties, enemy was badly knocked about, stretcher parties were kept busy. Hung on to our trenches all night + repulsed Turks attack at dawn no food all day, a little muddy water to drink Capt Hogart killed instantly Lieut Hanby severely wounded.'
- complete typed transcript of diary
- Bestowal document for the D.S.O. dated 3rd June, 1915
- copy of 'The Statutes of the Distinguished Service Order' with certificate mounted to interior dated 12 June 1915 confirming Rankine was mentioned in a Despatch, signed by Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill
- 'Suttons Melbourne' copper and brass bugle
- open faced pocket watch with gold detail to the dial in sterling silver case, key wind, with key and incised 'R Rankine'
- Sheffield sterling silver cased hip flask monogrammed 'R R'
- George Goulet champagne cork attached with wire to a 'Field Service Post Card', inscribed with Rankine's name, dated 'July 29th 1915 Gallipoli Peninsula'
Other Notes: D.S.O. Citation London Gazette 3 July 1915
'On the night of 26th-27th April, 1915, during operations in the neighbourhood of Kaba Tepe, for gallantly leading an assault resulting in the capture of a most important post, and subsequently for holding that position against repeated attacks for five days without relief'.
Robert Rankine (1868-1941) of St Kilda was born in Chatham, Kent, England on 29 July 1868.
From service records it appears that Rankine's first commission was as 2nd Lieutenant in the Militia in December 1901. On 10 May 1906 as Lieutenant of 6th Infantry Regiment, Commonwealth Military Forces, Victoria he was appointed militia acting adjutant. Rankine was 46 years old on 9 October 1914 when he enlisted as major of A Company, 14th Battalion, a Victorian unit of the 4th Brigade, commanded by Colonel John Monash.
The 14th Battalion departed Broadmeadows by train for Port Melbourne on 22 December, and then embarked aboard the Ulysses. In Egypt, Rankine was appointed commander of A Company which departed Alexandria on April 12 on troop carrier SS Seeang Choon. On 26 April, Company A landed on shore under schrapnel fire and waited in reserve. The following day Rankine marched with his Company up to support the garrison at Quinn's Post, the most advanced Allied position at Anzac, which was held by a small group of men from the1st and 3rd Brigades, some New Zealanders and a New Zealand machine gun. The Australian and Turkish lines were in close proximity and the Australians repelled repeated attacks until relief arrived on 29 May. During this time the 14th battalion lost nearly one third of its men.Shortly after Rankine was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and temporarily placed in command of the 14th Battalion.
After Gallipoli, Rankine was invalided to England suffering from severe dysentery.
He later returned to the Western Front in France, appointed in command of 39th Battalion A.I.F. However he continued to suffer from ill health and was eventually evacuated in December 1916 with severe myalgia.