Great Bri­tish ec­centrics

Sir Hugh Charles Rhys Rankin (1899–1988)

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook - Sid­ney His­cox

THE son of a big-game hunter, Sir Hugh was born in the mid­dle of the Tu­nisian desert—a fit­ting start to a life fully lived. As a boy, he ran away from Har­row to work in a Belfast ship­yard, be­fore en­list­ing in the army. He joined the Royal Dra­goon Guards and soon be­came a broad-sword cham­pion. In 1931, Sir Hugh was liv­ing as a sheep farmer in West­ern Aus­tralia when he in­her­ited his baronetcy. Later, he trav­elled through­out the Mid­dle East and met Lord Headley, who con­vinced him to con­vert to Is­lam. Sir Hugh obliged, adopt­ing the name Omar, and be­came the Pres­i­dent of the Bri­tish Mus­lim So­ci­ety. How­ever, find­ing the other mem­bers ‘very rude’, he re­signed af­ter a few weeks and turned to Bud­dhism.

Il­lus­tra­tions by Emma Mc­call

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