Ernest Erle (Ernie) RANKINS

RANKINS, Ernest Erle

Service Number: 490
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 24th Infantry Battalion
Born: Beechworth, Victoria, Australia , date not yet discovered
Home Town: Eldorado, Wangaratta, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Bushman
Died: Killed in Action, France, 25 February 1917, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Beechworth War Memorial, Eldorado War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

10 May 1915: Involvement Private, 490, 24th Infantry Battalion
10 May 1915: Embarked Private, 490, 24th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne

Extracts from a letter from Reuben Alexander Thompson (37th Battalion) to Mrs Rankins.

‘June 4th 1917

Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot, England.

Dear Mrs Rankins,

It is with my deepest sympathy I write to you. I know no sympathy can explain your burden which has befallen you. I can assure if sympathy comforts you, you have mine and all the boys here. You will no doubt wonder who is writing, well I will explain. I was driving Cunningham’s baker’s cart for a little while, but left shortly after war broke out. Ernie was a great friend of mine and I often used to hear from him. He always got on well with his men and needless to say they feel your loss sadly, but all is in the fortune of this wretched war. Our buys have made a name for themselves during this past advance. Every morning in the papers here there are a few items of the brave deeds the sons of Australia have done. Ernie was always fearless but not a reckless fighter and fell as only a true soldier could have fallen. There is one consultation he answered to his country’s call, such a great way from El Dorado. I have just heard that Artur Shaw has fallen. If so, Mrs Shaw has my greatest sympathy. I know your losses can never be replaced, but if you could realise the way your son has fought and fell, I am quite sure you could not feel half the loss. My own sister was accidentally killed through the discharge of a pea rifle at Xmas. The news was a great shock to me. My poor Dad and sister could no longer live in Everton so they have gone to Queensland. Well Mrs Rankins you will see by the above address that I was wounded and in hospital. I was wounded in Feb. right across the left shoulder and through my arm by shrapnel, the largest being over seven inches long and three wide. My shoulder has dropped but I am getting the use of it again.

I remain, yours very sincerely, No. 1669 Reub. A. Thompson. 37th Battalion’

*Cunningham and Shaw mentioned were both El Dorado residents.

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