• Medals of a Rat

    Wednesday 31 August 2011 by David Gist. 4 comments

    Visitors to the Memorial’s exhibition Rats of Tobruk 1941 will have noticed the unofficial Rats of Tobruk medal presented, according to its engraving, by Lord Haw Haw. Around twenty of these medals were made at Tobruk, which illustrates one of the earliest examples of the town’s defenders reclaiming the title ‘Rat’, bestowed on them by the propaganda radio program ‘Germany Calling’. Visitors may also notice the brasso caked …

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  • Tobruk Diaries: ‘Tobruk essential for each side’

    Monday 11 July 2011 by . 1 comments

    Bryant’s Diary:  Friday 11th July 1941 I can get around on my own now.  I feel a bit shaky, but I’m getting stronger.  A convoy of wounded arrived from Tobruk during the night.   Cosgriff’s Diary:  Friday 11th July 1941 Mosquitoes have me beat – worse than bombers.  Missa Tempore Belli [Mass in Time of War]. Few casualties this morning from line change over 17th/32nd...To beach after lunch – two clients only – Dick Ley …

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  • Tobruk Diaries: Planes, Mosquitoes and Heat

    Monday 4 July 2011 by .

    Bryant’s Diary:  Friday 4th, Saturday 5th July 1941 Just the usual hospital routine, a pretty rapid improvement as a result. Cosgriff’s Diary:  Friday 4th July 1941 Fair night – undisturbed.  Missa Tempore Belli [Mass in Time of War].  After communion to the Beach but I did not see very many.  Roast beef for tea tonight even on Friday. Mail expected today but did not arrive.   Planes fly very low over the beach – honed …

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  • Tobruk Diaries: Danger below...

    Monday 27 June 2011 by .

    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 …

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  • Tobruk Diaries: Mail and other miracles

    Monday 20 June 2011 by .

    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. …

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  • Tobruk Diaries: Rest in Peace

    Monday 13 June 2011 by .

    Cosgriff’s Diary:  Friday 13th June 1941 Heard only one raid and stayed in bed for it.  Mass for Anderson R.I.P.  To beach this morning but not so many there for me.  Bombed down there on Tuesday evening and John Horan reckoned his dug-out turned a somersault.  He also reckons the pearls fly through the tents down there.  Bomb on hospital ward this evening.  Eyetie artisan working on my timepieces.  Started on Hamlet today …

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  • Tobruk Diaries: The first VC

    Monday 16 May 2011 by . 2 comments

    Cosgriff’s Diary:  Friday 16th May 1941 Up often for warnings – no bombs – alarm failed...so no Mass...No communion either.  Wrote to Aileen and I will post it this time.  Jerrys in Syria and Irak will probably affect our air mail.  Push on today by 2/12.  Plenty of casualties but none serious.  Two Jerry prisoners – first for long time.  Eyetie prisoner who threw grenade brought in...  Going to teach Fr. Borsorelli …

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  • Talmadge Johnson and USS Mugford

    Sunday 15 May 2011 by Dianne Rutherford. 5 comments

      Talmadge Johnson in 1940 (Photograph courtesy of L Johnson) The Australian War Memorial recently received a significant donation associated with an American sailor, Gunner's Mate Talmadge Johnson, who served aboard USS Mugford, when she rescued the survivors from the sinking of AHS Centaur on 15 May 1943. The items are two emergency lights with their battery cases. They came from one of the Centaur survivor’s life …

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  • Tobruk Diaries: Masses, Miracles and a Godsend

    Monday 9 May 2011 by .

    Cosgriff’s Diary:  Friday 9th May 1941 Mass of BVM [Blessed Virgin Mary].  Evacuation flopped...ship failed to turn up – tonight?  Gave McIven Dr. Regiss card to give to Eyetie chaplain.  Two bombs very close to wards 2 and 7 – if the first had hit so would the second.  The new shelter in 7 stood it with full marks – second miracle this week.  Two very sick patients Lemon and Kennedy holding their own.  Quiet at front and …

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  • Tobruk Diaries: Questions, 'furphies' and rumours

    Monday 2 May 2011 by . 1 comments

    Bryant’s Diary:  Friday 2nd May 1941 Artillery could be heard all day as the battle continues.  It appears as if the [G]ermans have captured 14 outer perimeter posts, but have not penetrated beyond them.  Some big German planes came extremely low today bombing and machine gunning, but three and possibly four were brought down by S.A.A fire.  Fred Legge of “C” Coy was killed accidentally today by an Italian hand grenade. …

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