Web site visitor Damien Lewis writes:
I saw this old entry on the net about the Rats of Tobruk medal that was
made by the men of Tobruk. I thought I would see if you every found out about it. The only reason I
ask is that I have one (my mums uncle was a Rat) and was doing some
personal research on it. If you were still interested after all this time
I can send you a photo.
This is one of The E-Sylum's unsolved mysteries. As far as I know, we never had a follow-up to the original query.
Below is the text of that article, together with an image of Damien's medal. Thanks!
The Sydney Morning Herald this week published a story about a reporter's
visit to the Libyan city of Tobruk, which was a focal point for Australian
servicemen in World War II. The article mentions a medal created by the
"A pilgrimage to the bustling Libyan city turns up poignant reminders
of Australian soldiers in the siege of Tobruk, Anthony Ham writes.
"Few names resonate through Australian history like Tobruk. It is a
place that has become central to our understanding of who we are as
Australians. Like Gallipoli, it is a battlefield where the legend of
the Anzacs was forged. And like the Somme it is a place where thousands
of Australians lie buried."
"... with the soldiers hunkered down in trenches and in caves such as
these, a Radio Berlin announcer dismissed the Australians as the "rats
of Tobruk", drawing a parallel with rodents burrowing underground.
Designed to bolster German propaganda and destroy Australian morale,
the name was instead quickly adopted by the Australians as a badge of
honour. One of the most famous photos of the siege shows a Bren gun
carrier adorned with the words "Rats to you". The Australians also
amused themselves by designing an unofficial medal from the metal
of a downed German plane with a rat as its centrepiece."
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
RATS OF TOBRUK MEDAL INFORMATION SOUGHT
To read the original Sydney Morning Herald article, see:
Rats to you
Wayne Homren, Editor
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