Tobruk Diaries: Isolation and no news
The action in Tobruk was beginning to wind down for the Australians, with the 18th Brigade of the 7th Division evacuated quietly one night during August. However, for the other units the Siege continued for another two months. The last Australian brigade the 2/13th brigade was not evacuated until December...
Cosgriff’s Diary: Friday 22nd August 1941
Quiet night in the wadi but only four hours sleep. Bar delayed trip - in here at 70 mph – Crouch driving and mass began at 8 am... To beach after lunch to see Steele – after the official photographer had taken our photo. Gardy and I to go to the beach for a spell next week – much better than the last camp. To the Eagle to say “Vale” [farewell] to Reynolds and the 9th and “Vale” to a Polish Chaplain. For last two evenings beaut dive bomber raids but they do not come too low now. Ray played Berlin three games of which he won one. Notice put on Church door re. Sunday masses here...
Bryant’s Diary: Saturday, 23rd August 1941
We had organised sport in the afternoon and I acted as judge. Copped Bn orderly Corporal.
Cosgriff’s Diary: Saturday 23rd August 1941
Heavy air attack at 5:30 am. Two bombs very close and flares were beautiful after ships but none there. Missa pro defunctis [Mass for the dead]... Letter from Murph. First Polish patients here and we need a polish doctor. 5th Amb. gone except Ron Rome whose chaperoning a P. Ambulance. Cut many small breads from large ones with a shaving stick tin and a scalpel... Water rationed to a minimum. C.O. read security regulations in Mess and made a public rebuke – poor show. Trying to get copies of yesterday’s group printed but photographer has gone. Braised steak today...
Cosgriff’s Diary: Sunday 24th August 1941
Only shells last night. Few at Masses today. Geddes was in at Mass today. They enjoy the tea here. Paddy Brannigan a Corporal now. Stewart leaving the mess for general duties. C.O. going to Alex tonight to see Ginger. Len to go to the beach tomorrow. Just about out of altar wine now. Hope it will turn up from somewhere. Berlin beat Ray three times at chess last night. Ship in the harbour today and the circus arrived at 5 pm to have a crack- hit nothing and John says we got 4 planes. Hope he is right. No evac. last night so no mail today...
Bryant’s Diary: Monday 25th August 1941
Training as usual. Had a chance of getting on a S.A.S. staff as a Staff Sergeant but turned it down. Too dry a job.
Cosgriff’s Diary: Monday 25th August 1941
Few bombs during night. Missa T. B. Easy round this morning. Len’s beach duty car – fuelled by Chas L who is O.C. now. Good mail today. Elsa, Tooze, Marie. To the beach camp after lunch and not so keen on going either. Read in tent all the afternoon. In evening went to 11th ambulance to pick up Gardy but he had not arrived. Talked to Charlie Anderson, Steele and Ian Wood until pretty late. Ian thinks Gard was “lucky” to be sent to Tobruk. Plane over during night but it sounded well away and the a-a was not under my bed...
Bryant’s Diary: Tuesday 26th August 1941
Weapon training all day. We go on a two-day bivouac tonight. I don’t think I’ll like it.
Cosgriff’s Diary: Tuesday 26th August 1941
...Medical staff here changes as turns are taken with ward Z. No news still here – no wireless so we are isolated. Poles employed putting up tents and they are very numerous about here now. Happy (dentist) and Manly evacuated with kidney trouble...
Bryant’s Diary: Wednesday 27th August 1941
Spent the birthday doing a 24 hour stint. Section work, digging and wiring.
Cosgriff’s Diary: Wednesday 27th August 1941
...Jerry over tonight and dropping flares on hospital. No moon and he is trying to find Tobruk – lovely flares...
Bryant’s Diary: Thursday 28th August 1941
We marched into camp and had to have a needle right away. I must be like a pin cushion by now.
Cosgriff’s Diary: Thursday 28th August 1941
Quiet night and good rest. I said the mass today – feast of St Augustine... Letter from Xavier to tell me that the Bishop is sending me a special missal. Not keen on the tucker here and I have not much stomach for it. This evening we had a grandstand view of a stuka raid. All the planes came out low over the hospital and we counted forty-three... Crowd of medicos down today for clinic...