Civil flag of the Kingdom of Italy : Private S V Dean, 2/4th Battalion

Place Africa: North Africa, Libya, Cyrenaica, Benghazi
Accession Number REL45731
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Flag
Physical description Cotton, Paint, Rope
Maker Unknown
Place made Italy
Date made c 1940
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Civil flag of the Kingdom of Italy featuring three vertical panels of green (hoist) white and red cotton, sewn together. Sewn into each side of the centre (white) panel is a representation of the coat of arms of the House of Savoy - a blue-bordered red square, quartered by a white cross. The looped hoist, which is made of green cotton, is threaded with a rope lanyard.

History / Summary

Italian flag captured at Benghazi by NX2002 Private S V Dean, B Company 2/4th Battalion in 1941.

Born at Inverell, NSW on 26th March 1916 Selby Verdun Dean was single and working as a labourer when he enlisted in the AIF on 26th October 1939. He departed Sydney with the 2/4th Battalion on 10 January 1940.

Arriving in the Middle East in February, Dean and the 2/4th Battalion, now part of the 6th Division, trained in Palestine and Egypt before becoming heavily involved in the advance against the Italians in eastern Libya. On 6 February 1941, the 2/4th Battalion was the first Australian unit to enter Benghazi.

Dean later saw service in Greece and Crete against elite German Parachute and Mountain troops, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his 'disregard of personal safety and untiring devotion' between February and July 1941. Safely evacuated from Crete, Dean spent the next nine months training in Palestine and undertaking garrison duty in Syria. He was appointed Lance Corporal and returned to Australian in January 1942.

After its return to Australia, the 2/4th Battalion continued its training and Dean saw further promotion. He was an Acting Warrant Officer 2 when the battalion arrived in Aitape, New Guinea in November 1944. Dean saw heavy fighting in New Guinea and was promoted in the field to Lieutenant in June 1945. Wounded in the right thigh during a Japanese attack near Mount Tazaki south of Wewak in July 1945, Dean was evacuated for treatment and returned to Australia the next month.

Dean received his discharge from the AIF on 29 October 1945. Returning to the Inverell district, he married June Isabel Adams the same year and in 1946 began work as a linesman with the North West County Council. Dean was active in his community and became a respected leader in sporting, social and civic affairs. In 1999, Dean received the Medal of the Order of Australia for 'his service to local government and to the community'. He died in April 2007.

June Adams' brothers, Leonard Claude Adams and Henry Arthur Adam also served during the Second World War. NX12376 Lieutenant L C Adams, 2/13th Battalion was killed in Libya on 6 March 1941 during the advance against the Italian forces and is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery. NX30425 Sergeant H A Adams served with 2/18th Battalion in 1940 and 1941.