Tobruk Diaries: Mail and other miracles
Cosgriff’s Diary: Friday 20th June 1941
Peaceful night at last. Missa SS Cordis Jesus... To beach this morning and worked all morning without finishing. Had a John Swan’s with Eric. John Horan as usual pessimistic about our position. The big push was definitely a big failure. God knows what will happen to us now but we hope for a Russo-German struggle. Still no mail but a parcel from Mrs Garvey with a pair of socks. Eyetie bombers over three times today dropping them from all heights. Our postmaster gone to Alex to shake up the mail...
Cosgriff’s Diary: Saturday 21st June 1941
Twelve planes over last night but we stayed in bed. Mass for Gerry Finn’s mother R.I.P. Good spin with communions today. No worry about mail today because we knew there was no ship in last night. Bombers – probably Eyeties over at 11 am today. Their eggs have a long and unusual whine. Eyetie prisoner in last night saying they are short on petrol. Had some good cake last night from Colin’s parcel. Big mob down swimming last night. C.O. says 250 bags of mail to arrive tonight. Chas Littlejohn had his hair clipped and he looks like a satyr. Thomas arranging concert tonight...
Bryant’s Diary: Sunday 22nd June 1941
...We hear of Germany marching into Russia and long delayed mail arrives – two important events.
Cosgriff’s Diary: Sunday 22nd June 1941
Few planes over during night. Most of boys late for Mass here - 160 at communion altogether and I had to send home for more breads. Big mail in – 15 letters for me – Home, Elsa, Marie, Des Voil, John McP, Peg and Paschal. Answered home, Marie, J. Bartley, Peg and Paschal – sore fingers from writing. Toozes going to Wagga. Lot of bombs about lunch time. Russia and Germany are at it – I hope they exterminate each other. Erv Braithwaite – a son – Whiskey and Gin in the mess and Johnston rolled in at 1 pm. Last night’s concert was a beaut – George Formby was the star – Hellova nuisance. Many of my patients evacuated to caves...
Cosgriff’s Diary: Monday 23rd June 1941
Calm night...Good spin in wards today. Steele and Dick in. Owen has dysentery. I was able to offer them a whisky. Wrote to J. McPoland today. Injections began again today. Some complained of soreness but mine was ok – no trouble...One nearly has to book a seat for the news since the Russian business. Alan Ryan hit Jack Burnett on the head with the hammer – and had no regrets. Censoring piling up since the mail arrived and the parsons are being criticised. Action by 13th Batt last night but casualties few...
Bryant’s Diary: Tuesday 24th June 1941
Enemy bombed Tobruk today and A/A fire was seen for the first time in days. It was effective and brought one plane down near us. Two new re-enforcements came to our platoon tonight and went to S section. We relieve the 2/13th Bn tomorrow night. Supposed to be the warmest spot in the perimeter.
Bryant’s Diary: Wednesday 25th June 1941
We left at 10:10pm to march about 4 miles to relieve 2/13th Bn. Just as we were coming to our new position we passed three wounded on the stretchers... a booby trap right at our new position.
Bryant’s Diary: Thursday 26th June 1941
This new post is about the worst so far. Besides being lousy with booby traps the weapon pits are only two feet deep with practically no crawl trench. Just on dusk machine guns and mortars got some very near misses but without casualties. Ted had some shots at the Hun with the Bren, but we couldn’t tell if anyone was hit. Flies are here in billions and are the worst I’ve seen anywhere.
Cosgriff’s Diary: Thursday 26th June 1941
Tempore Belli [In Time of War]. Cull died last night – P.M. showed peritonitis – different from Kennedy’s. Listen to 9:15 news now to be up on Russian news – but it is too indefinite. Not bad spin on communion today. Trip to cemetery always uneventful now. 24 fighters and 16 bombers – R.A.F. over today... Jack Blair in hospital pretty thin and not so bright. Plenty of desert sores among the troops. Coffee for supper each evening now in M.J room. Not many planes about today – Eyetie bomber over harbour during swim last night. Chas Littlejohn infected finger. “”
Lecky’s letters: 26 June 1941
Two more letters to hand – one was two months old and the other 6 weeks so suppose they were delayed in the Iraq business...News of the moment is of course Russia. We have at last found someone who can outdo Germany in fantastic claims to planes shot down, tanks blown up etc...Churchill’s latest speech in which he said he was never a friend of Bolsheviks but would fight “Hitler and his horde of Huns” with anybody, has aroused great enthusiasm. We all have the utmost confidence in Winston...
Ps. I am trying to make ya half doz egg cups out of old tail fins of mortar bombs for a souvenir.