Siege of Tobruk

Learn more

2021 marks the 80th anniversary of the Siege of Tobruk.

Learn more about the desert war and the Mediterranean with suggested articles, podcasts and essays. 

Memorial Articles

Heroes of Tobruk

In January 1941 the Italian harbour fortress of Tobruk on the Libyan coast was captured in one of the Australians’ earliest actions of the Second World War.

Corporal John Edmondson VC and the Siege of Tobruk

The Memorial has published a selection of private records relating to the late Corporal John Hurst “Jack” Edmondson VC, who was killed in action in Tobruk on 14 April 1941.

'There was a bond of friendship and mateship money couldn’t buy'

Bob Semple turns 98 next month, but he remembers the siege of Tobruk as if it was yesterday. Read part two of his story.

'If we go, we may as well go together'

Rat of Tobruk, Bob Semple, tells his remarkable story.

'We had the rest of our lives to spend together'

Dennis Davis survived the siege of Tobruk and the fighting at El Alamein, but was left devastated when he received a ‘Dear John' letter from his fiancée.

A fortunate life

He was wounded at Tobruk and taken prisoner at El Alamein, but Ernest Brough never lost his humanity or his will to make it home.

Seeking the “Black Rats of Tobruk”

Maxwell James Trengove was born on 9 December 1911 at Kadina, South Australia, to parents William Nathaniel Trengove and Matilda Alice Trengove (née Axford).

Suggested Listening

True Blue History Podcast

Battle of Tobruk 1941

The Rats of Tobruk hold a special place in Australian military history for the role they played in the Siege of Tobruk in World War II. Dr Karl James from the Australian War Memorial shares insights into the events of 1941 and the men for whom being described as a ‘rat’ became a badge of honour.

Listen now

True Blue History Podcast

Rat of Tobruk: Donald Simpson interview

A special podcast shared with True Blue History by Fallen Diggers Incorporated. Dennis Frank talks with former Rat of Tobruk, Private Don Simpson, about his experiences in the 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion during the siege of Tobruk during the Western Desert Campaign and his service throughout the Second World War.

Listen now

Australian Naval History Podcast

The Scrap Iron Flotilla

Commander Greg Swinden discusses with Dr Karl James, Flight Lieutenant Greg Pierce & Dr John Nash the story of the most famous group of RAN ships – the World War II Scrap Iron Flotilla.

Listen now

Suggested Reading

Last updated: