'Tobruk' road sign : 9th Australian Division

Accession Number RELAWM28213
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Enamel, Glass, Steel
Maker Unknown
Place made Italy
Date made c 1930s-1940s
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Blue and white enamelled road sign with inset glass beads to serve as reflectors. The sign, which is considerably damaged, and missing many reflectors, is in the shape of an oblong with one triangular end, forming a direction arrow. The name 'TOBRUK' is made up of individually attached metal letters, each having a number of glass reflecting beads. The letter 'T' is missing entirely, and only a small part of the letter 'U' remains. These two letters have been marked in with white paint so that the name remains legible. A small manufacturer's logo reading 'cTi' is present on the upper left hand corner of the sign.

History / Summary

This sign was familiar sight to most of the troops engaged in the defence of the town of Tobruk in 1941. It was collected by Lieutenant Colonel A R Allen, a commissioner of the Australian Comforts Fund.

When asked in 1950 about his acquisition of the sign, Allen responded: 'I souvenired the Tobruk road sign right from under the eyes of an English Lance Corporal Military Policeman. Travelling due West and about a quarter of a mile from the town of Tobruk was a forked road. There were two signs - the one in question pointing right for the road leading into the town, the other pointing left to Benghazi. It was a very well known and often unsalubrious spot to all who spent any time in that area.'

The original location of the sign has been identified as the road junction at Red Flag corner, so called because a red flag was run up on a pole there as a warning of impending air raids.