'A Rat of Tobruk', written by SX467 Private Michael Sydney O'Brien.

Accession Number MSS1685
Collection type Manuscript
Measurement 1 wallet: 1 cm.
Object type Memoir
Maker O'Brien, Michael Sydney
Place made Australia
Date made 1943
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Paper copy of booklet titled 'A Rat of Tobruk' written by SX467 Michael Sydney O'Brien, describing his experience of serving with 2/10 Battalion during the Tobruk campaign in Second World War.

The memoir commences with training in Australia, embarkation and ship board life, arrival in the United Kingdom and further training, departure and arrival in Egypt and onward journey to Tobruk. While at Tobruk, O'Brien describes his experiences, including patrols and fighting, air raids, tank attacks, the reactions of the men, and final withdrawal from Tobruk. This is followed by a description of leave in Cairo, a journey through Palestine into Syria and his duties and experiences there.

After leaving Syria in 1942, O'Brien returned to Australia shortly before being re-assigned to New Guinea to help in the fight against the Japanese. Here he describes fighting around Milne Bay, separation from his unit, the jungle and its hardships, being reunited with his unit and movement to another part of the island. He describes the scenery, his interactions with the natives, illness and evacuation back to Milne Bay before returning to Queensland then later home to South Australia.

The final part of the memoir is titled 'Tragic Incidents in the New Guinea Campaign' and O'Brien continues to reflect on his experiences in New Guinea, the cruelty of the Japanese, and the accidental shooting of two of his mates. O'Brien also recounts his family, the circumstances of his enlistment, his post war disabilities, a chance meeting with a former mate from his unit, the fear of being in action and some of the steps taken by men to remove themselves from it.