Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Tobruk siege 1941 WW2 North Africa...Happy Holidays/Xmas

To provide a contrast to endless reaction line techincal analysis and charts of futures/FX  markets I am continuing my twice yearly holiday( Xmas & Easter) postings about my late fathers WW2 photos taken on a Kodak Brownie camera when he was 18 in 1939 until 1945 . I will publish more of Tobruk, Halfaya pass, Alamien etc and also have liberation of Paris photos never seen before.
For previous links click here:

 My fathers shell hole/billet in Tobruk harbour during the first siege of Tobruk .North Africa 1941
 HMS (Gunboat) Ladybird on fire in Tobruk Harbour
  diary extracts shown below: My father was a basic a squaddie conscript of the lowest private rank in the British Army RAOC and was stationed right in the harbour of Tobruk where the ammunition stores were kept. He had been about to take his accountancy exams in London in 1939 when he was 'called up' to join the army and was unable to sit the exam to become an articled clerk/accountant.
He ended the war as a Sergent Major and passed his accountancy exams in London in 1948.He died in 1985.He held The Tobruk Medal as well as The Africa star and other usual British Empire medals.
 The following days were the second time by 1941 he would be under enemy fire.This siege in 1941 and following battles in 1942/43 and 44 had a profound effect on his life and was one of the most important character forming events of his life (in his opinion).
His diary starts getting exciting ( you can see he lists all his money and purchases in the right hand column of each day (Choc is chocolate) and other comments on the left hand side) on Wed 9th April 1941 " more cheerful- heavy attack by air morning and night" Thursday 10th April "Dive bombed-up late Derna reported taken. Situation critical- Gun fire heavy and units app 10 miles away" Friday 11th April "Things getting worse, gun fire heavier, 3 daylight raids bombing, planes down". Saturday 12th "Raids eased,Tobruk encircled by armoured units, harbour open, worked very late. tired!"

Page above:
 Sunday 13th April 1941 ( Easter day) " Things worse. Encirclement being more complete,Harbour open, moved billets"
Monday 14th April 1941:" Intense air raid of 40 planes- followed by 'Stand By' from 7.30am-10.30am. "Easter eggs?"- Sollum gone"(next few words unintelligible)
Tuesday 15th April 1941:" Rumours of recapture of Sollum  later Bardia xxxxxminised by heavy gunfire- Hurry hurry! More German troops"
Wednesday 16th April 1941: "Appears Sollum Bardia not taken-Bad.Very disconsolate.  Later Fort Capuzzo taken. Night off. Read".
Thursday 17th April 1941: "more cheerful tone. Road to Alex ( Alexandria) open per S.M- Conflicting reports. 'Stand To' 13.45-14.40. On guard night-heavy raid"
Friday 18th April 1941: "Went to work 10.45 as on guard- pxxx xxxxx. Intense raid at night."
Saturday 19th April 1941: " Worked hard all day several raids until terrible one about 15.10 hrs bomb RSN overhead shook us-"
Sunday 20th April 1941: " Germans outside. Where are our troops??. ....... "

 and heres one of the detailed photos he captured from the german para during El Alamain in Autumn 1942:

 Below: A knocked out Italian tank
Italian Prisoners of war
A knocked out Italian Signal lorry


  1. I sadly have not had time to transcribe the pages that follow but will be doing so in the coming weeks/months. It details close combat fighting,unloading ships at night,fire fight action around the harbour and subsequent wounded friends from various explosions. etc. Any request for more unseen photos will be provided free but i simply have not had time to scan/post/comment etc.

  2. PS: I would be interested if anyone ( maybe Italians) knows about the " Madonna of Tobruk " of which miraculously survived the siege/bombardment and became a legend of sorts to the men who fought there.