John Rankin Rathbone

In St Margaret's church, Westminster is a small 15th century carved figure of St Margaret of Antioch and the dragon given in memory of John Rankin Rathbone. The inscription on the plate reads: 

Presented by his wife and children John and Pauline in loving memory of Fl. Lt. John Rankin Rathbone R.A.F.V.R. killed in bombing operations against the enemy December 1940. M.P. for South East Cornwall, Churchwarden of St Margaret's Westminster 1937-40

He was born on 5th February 1910 a son of Major W. Rathbone and his wife Agnes (Rankin). The family were merchants from Liverpool and several served as Members of Parliament. In 1932 he married Beatrice Clough of New Haven, USA. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Civil Lord of the Admiralty and secretary to the Minister of Supply and lived at 4B Dean's Yard in the precincts of Westminster Abbey. He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He was killed on 10th December 1940 and is buried at Schoonselhof cemetery in Antwerp. A memorial service was held at the church on 29th January 1941.

His brother Henry was killed in 1943. Beatrice married secondly Sir Paul H. Giraud Wright, diplomat, and served as a Member of Parliament.


5th February 1910


10th December 1940


Politician; airman


St Margaret's Church

John Rankin Rathbone
John Rankin Rathbone memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster