Monday 27 June 2011 by Carlie Walker. No comments
1941, Tobruk, Tobruk diaries, Second World War, Rats of Tobruk, Waterhen

Bryant’s Diary:  Friday 27th June 1941

The section worked all night putting mortar-proof roofs over dug-outs.  We were just putting the finishing touches on our work when Reg stuck his pick in a jumping German mine.  I received four ball shrapnel wounds in the small of the back and one in the left arm.  Jim was hit twice in the groin, Reg a couple in the legs and Monty one in the ribs.  After going through nearly every medical unit in the perimeter we finally ended up in the A.G.H.  I was operated on but two pieces couldn’t be found.

Cosgriff’s Diary:  Friday 27th June 1941

Awakened couple of times by planes.  Mass for Cull R.I.P.  To beach this morning and put in some solid work but had not enough time... Small mail in and letter from Elsa 11/6/41.  No planes over today.  We shot down 14 of them yesterday.  Jerry front line bombed by 26 bombers and 60 fighters.  Steele in today but missed him – needing breads too... Box full of letters to be censored...

Bryant’s Diary:  Saturday 28th June 1941

We were removed in the afternoon to underground caves ready to be evacuated from Tobruk.  There I saw such shockingly wounded men that I certainly lost any sympathy for myself.

Bryant’s Diary:  Sunday 29th June 1941

Very early this morning they loaded us on a barge and towed us out to the H.M.A.S. Stuart, but here we experienced half hour’s delay and amusement and the “Pommies” on the tug tried to manoeuvre us to the destroyer.  They sure made a mess of it.  The trip was a cow because of the vibration.  The sailors were great.  They fussed around us like proud mothers and looked after us very well.  We arrived at Alexandria at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and then taken to an Australian hospital.  The wonderful and skilled attention by the nurses and doctors made me improve out of sight.

Cosgriff’s Diary:  Sunday 29th June 1941

Slept through last night’s raids.  Three usual Masses and great crowds at Communion.  C.W.B. Littlejohn evacuated to Alex...Dick gone to Syria.  Funeral today and refuge in a grave during air-raid.  Gamelin escaped in travel and I think that is big news.  Met Fat Collins at Mass today and he looks magnificent.  Bottle of ’sky in mess today and we were able to farewell Dick.  Had a few words with the C.O. regarding burials – that so-and-so Hallam crawling again... In A.G.H a year today.  Six months since we left Aussie.  Bet Dick 500 cravens we do not meet again...

Bryant’s Diary:  Monday 30th June 1941

A shot of morphine and I had a very quiet night.  I didn’t even hear an air raid.  This hospital has only been occupied by the Australians for about a month and is a wing of a newly erected Greek hospital.  The hospital was erected by a Greek philanthropist and this particular wing is for the use of the Australians rent free to the duration of the war...such a fine staff...

Cosgriff’s Diary:  Monday 30th June 1941

Pretty quiet night D.G.  Mass for Rammel R.I.P.  Clean out of cigarettes now and rolling fags with pipe and tobacco.  Struck a couple of snags during communion round.  Dick did not go last night as the “Waterhen” did not arrive – dive bombed and sprung a plate – saved back to Alex but sunk en route – with our mail on board...

HMAS Waterhen at sea in 1940.  Part of the 'Tobruk Ferry Service' the Destroyer was sunk on 30 June 1941. HMAS Waterhen at sea in 1940. Part of the 'Tobruk Ferry Service' the Destroyer was sunk on 30 June 1941. P02020.002

Bryant’s Diary:  Tuesday 1st, Wednesday 2nd, Thursday 3rd July 1941

Just the usual hospital routine, a pretty rapid improvement as a result.

Cosgriff’s Diary:  Tuesday 1st July 1941

Planes over only once.  Mass for Paderweki.  Not many Communions.  Three ships in – dive-bombed for hours in the way up here.  Bombers over after lunch after ships.  Heaviest barrage we have ever heard or seen but one casualty – blast.  Jerry shelled wharf this arvo and played hell.  Seven killed and many injured.  C.C.S. in line of fire and they have the wind up.  But Jerry can shell anything at all in Tobruk...  Expecting pearls tonight after shipping...

Cosgriff’s Diary:  Wednesday 2nd July 1941

Planes over but they have been ours – no a-a. Missa Tempore Belli [Mass in Time of War].  Seven burials this morning but none were mine.  Expecting bombing of ships in harbour, but no bombs until tea-time.  Shelling again this morning and they knocked the C.C.S kitchen.  Dick Scarfe got away last night – no mail on ship...  Funeral this arvo and it is 50 hotter out there... Jordan has a daughter...

Cosgriff’s Diary:  Thursday 3rd July 1941

Good night again – a-a but not so disturbing. Missa Tempore Belli [Mass in Time of War].  Shelling stopped and rumour that R.A.F got the gun.  Heavy artillery from Jerry for last 24 hours ... Pretty hot today and dust on the perimeter.  Plenty of whisky about now but I do not like whisky.  Boys unloading ship got away with nearly all the brandy and cigarettes.  No air raid today and we are beginning to think that the Jerry air force has busted – ships still in the harbour.  Morton still in bed and Marsh is crook today too.  Orange for tea – first fruit for months.  2/43rd bloke described me as a press reporter...