Tobruk diaries: What a night! Planes and bombs
1941, Tobruk, Tobruk diaries, Rats of Tobruk, AIF staging camp
Bryant’s diary: Friday 12th September 1941
The review went off very well and the General seemed very pleased. I left Mughazi at about 8 o’clock on the draft. We were mucked about a good deal at Gaza station but got away at about 12.30.
Cosgriff’s diary: Friday 12th September 1941
Bad night again with many raids. Mass for Mary J. Had a few this morning but most were OK already. Polish priest arrived and hopped straight into work. Mail in – parcels and papers only – none for me. Pole did the Eucharist today. Len has a terrible cold and it’s only embryonic yet. Tamon reported Gardy in officer’s ward now and not so good – maybe for Alex. Intelligence reported today big air raid coming and everyone to take shelter – it did not come at all. Wren completed good water-colour of the harbour. Berlin tried to teach Tyrer chess but he lacks patience...
Bryant’s Diary: Saturday 13th September 1941
We arrived at Kantara in time for breakfast and crossed over the Canal. We reached the station at El Amriya and after a feed of stew went to the A.I.F. Staging Camp. During the night there was an air raid at Alexandria.
Cosgriff’s diary:Saturday 13th September 1941
What a night! Planes and bombs... Good round today for a change. Pole slept in, said Mass in his room instead of in the officer’s ward. I think it is Alex for him and me for the 43rd Batt. Colonel Evans (23rd) down there and he seems OK and efficient. Wrote to Con today re. his father’s death. Poles becoming bearers of new rumours – our planes bombing Jerry’s line and Sollum going again. It is rumoured that cruisers shelled 209 last night and that may account for the planes. Len in bed today – looks lousy...
Bryant’s Diary: Sunday 14th September 1941
As there were no parades today I went off to Alex AWL. Visited the 11th A.G.H. and saw Ted Taylor, who was wounded in the knee by a Polish officer when patrols from 17 and 18 platoons accidentally attacked one another. Ted has been doing very good work in Tobruk and has been made a Cpl.
Cosgriff’s diary: Sunday 14th September 1941
Terrific night – six bombs across hospital and ward one hit...no casualties. After Mass casualties from 32nd and 28th – successful show at last. Eyeties carved up and 5 prisoners. All the boys satisfied... Late Mass, good crowd and great singing. Norman here for m. tea but I was pretty busy – a-a- post hit and 5 killed. After lunch Owen called and we went to the beach to see Gardy – still sick and will be there for a week. Conroy, Pulver, Furnell there and many others for afternoon tea. Eyetie prisoners foretell attacks for next five nights to strengthen position taken last night. They used our tanks last night against us. Barnet and Matheson head to the beach today... The Johnston cold is better now. Beat the curate at chess last night...
Bryant’s Diary: Monday 15th September 1941
Left this morning on two day leave to Alex. We had a good time and went to bed so tired that I didn’t hear the air raid.
Cosgriff’s diary: Monday 15th September 1941
The usual blitz again from 3 am on, bombs close but no hits... Good round today. Deterred from visiting Gard by having to anoint a Pole... Len’s cold better but he has a stiff neck now. Bert Watson in today for supplies. Lyd Wilson – Walleroobie in today and he stayed for quite a while 2/13th Batt. Bombs close this evening – first in daylight for some time. Fr. Abbott here for tea – very handsome and pleasant. Had to anoint another Pole this arvo. Artillery going hard this evening and rumoured that there is to be plenty tonight. Evacuation tonight...
Bryant’s Diary: Tuesday 16th September 1941
Spent most of the day walking around Alex. I visited Ted Taylor again and he is coming along finely.
Cosgriff’s diary: Tuesday 16th September 1941
Good night at last...Awake before alarm... Met Phil and he is very breezy now. Daylight saving finished...Funeral of 2/12th blokes today – direct hit on a truck – 10 killed. Met John Totton – still a nice lad and doing a great job. Jerry at Sidi Berrani now. Cairo bombed at last. Article in Herald – all lies. Pop read it too. News at 8 pm now and pretty dead afterwards...
Bryant’s Diary: Wednesday 17th September 1941
We did very little in camp today and only paraded to organise the duties. There was a big raid on Alex during the night, but I didn’t hear a thing. We are to move to new tents tomorrow. Convoys have been moving up towards Mersa Matruh all day and night and it looks as if there is something doing in the desert very soon.
Cosgriff’s diary: Wednesday 17th September 1941
Another good night...Mass for Mary J. Good round today. Waiting for Phil with Gardy’s mail but he did not arrive. Ration truck let me down in ride to the beach. Let Polish chaplain do a funeral solo today. Stewart also went to the beach without me. Confessed to Barnett. Got ride with Polish driver. Read a book now en route to preserve my temper. Gardy going tonight. He had an hour’s notice – Missed his mail – left his Mass kit and I have his pay-book. Appears another brigade is to go out. Sidi Berrani – back to where it started – trap for Jerry but he woke up – Miss Gardy...
Cosgriff’s diary: Thursday 18th September 1941
Quiet night at beach. Mass in Mess – tent. All the Poles there but not many Australians... Back here at 10:30 with Gardy’s mass-kit – note from Honner 2 dog wire gone astray – rang Movement Control – no word of it. Honner and Steele in this arvo. Honner about 2 stone heavier – Payne’s urgent signal for fishing tackle. Sent Tom’s Mass-kit with John Hoddetts who knew nothing of their movement. Pioneers 43rd, 28th, 3rd Amb. and 12th Fd. Regt? Two English Colonels we have hopes. Dirtiest day ever. Parcel of stationery from Peg and letter from John Buttagieg. Got Mick Picker to chase the wine...