80th Anniversary of the Siege of TobrukPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Henry Moulds

The plaque commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Siege of Tobruk and is dedicated to the Australian forces that served in the Siege of Tobruk in 1941 during World War Two.

Three months after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the Polish Commander-in-chief decided that a Polish unit in the French territory of Levant be created. In April 1940, the Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade was formed in Syria. The Brigade comprising over 4,000 men was eventually moved to Palestine and placed under command of the British. In June 1941 the brigade was ordered to relieve the exhausted Australian troops defending Tobruk. The Poles were moved by a number of ships into Tobruk at night during a moonless period. At first, the Australian response to the Poles was one of bemusement since the Australians were keen to be rid of the desert heat, sandstorms and the constant bombardment from artillery and bombing. On the other hand the Poles were ready to unleash their vengeance and appeared to relish the idea of going to battle. The Poles earned a fearsome reputation and held on to their positions from September through to November 1941. After the war, over 1500 former members of the Polish military migrated to Australia, including many who had served with the Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade in Tobruk. A large number joined the Rats of Tobruk Association. 

The Siege of Tobruk was a confrontation that lasted 241 days between Axis and Allied forces in North Africa during the Western Desert Campaign of World War Two. The siege started on 10 April 1941, when Tobruk was attacked by an Italo–German force under Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel and continued for 241 days up to 27 November 1941, when it was relieved by the Allied 8th Army during Operation Crusader.

The “Rats of Tobruk” was the name given to the soldiers of the garrison who held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the Afrika Corps during the Siege. 

The garrison, commanded by Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead, consisted of the 9th Australian Division (20th, 24th, and 26th Brigades), the 18th Brigade of the 7th Australian Division, four regiments of British artillery and some Indian troops.



Address:Antill & Campbell Streets, Moore Park, Queanbeyan, 2620
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.350006
Long: 149.230281
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:10-April-1941
Actual Event End Date:10-April-2021


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:2021
Front Inscription


            "No Surrender" 
This plaque is dedicated to their memory
Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Siege
  which commenced 10 April, 1941


        Lest we forget

Descendants of the Rats of Tobruk Australia Association Inc
City of Queanbeyan RSL Sub-Branch
E A Helm President
S K Tizzard OAM JP Hon Sec

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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