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Unsung Heroes Brought to Light: Rats of Tobruk’s Forgotten Soldiers Unearthed in Remarkable WWII Find

Descendants of the Rats of Tobruk Australia Association Inc 2 mins read
Tobruk Harbour

Unsung Heroes Brought to Light: Rats of Tobruk’s Forgotten Soldiers Unearthed in Remarkable WWII Find

The Descendants of the Rats of Tobruk Australia Association (DOTROTA) proudly reveals a remarkable historical discovery, unearthing the eight World War II servicemen who had previously been absent from the Siege of Tobruk's roll of honour. The meticulous research led by Deb Goodwin and Sue Trewartha has now ensured that these soldiers' courage and sacrifice have been rightfully acknowledged and will forever be etched into the annals of history.

The discovery brings due recognition to the servicemen of the 2/1st Survey Regiment RAA, Sound Ranging Battery, and their integral roles in the Siege of Tobruk at a pivotal moment in the war.

Months of rigorous research and exploration of the war diaries led to the discovery of these men. DOTROTA has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to connect with living relatives of these men to honour them with a commemorative Rats of Tobruk Tribute.

This breakthrough is a victory for historical truth and homage to those who served with distinction. It has been confirmed that these men from the 2/1st Survey Regiment RAA, Sound Ranging Battery were indeed in Tobruk at the time of the Siege: -

Sgt Ian Leslie BRAID VX42526

Sgt Edmund Frank SPREADBOROUGH VX43014

Sgt Jack Bonnel DONALDSON VX18690

Bdr Persse Sailsbury RAINSFORD NX29331

L/Bdr Vernon William HERCUS VX41153

L/Bdr Douglas Patrick LAMPE DX601

Additionally, 4th Durham Survey Regiment war diary records also unveiled the names of Batman, Gnr Albert Victor GODWIN VX789

Lt Col Bruce KLEIN NX4

These two men accompanied the six men from the 2/1st Survey Regiment to Tobruk and remained in Tobruk until late August 1941.

Dr. Karl James from the Australian War Museum acknowledged and confirmed the discovery and said, "We read your report with much interest. You have certainly done an impressive amount of detective work to identify the names of these eight men."

This feel-good story is an uplifting reminder of the tenacity, valour, and unity that they represent qualities that resonate deeply as we approach 83rd Anniversary of the Siege of Tobruk  & ANZAC Day. It’s a timely celebration of our collective heritage and the courage of those who came before us.

For more details, contact Deb Goodwin at or 0408491205.

Descendants of the Rats of Tobruk  NSW   will  meet at Five Dock RSLSub-Branch (the Seabrook Room) for lunch @ 12:30 pm on the 7th April 2024. This date was selected as the closest available date to the 10th April.

Preceding lunch we will have a wreath-laying ceremony, commemorating Tobruk Sunday, this will be held at the Tobruk Memorial, located on the corner of Lyons Road and Great North Road, Five Dock, at 11:00am. All are welcome to attend.

About Descendants of the Rats of Tobruk Australia Association:

DOTROTA is committed to preserving the legacy of the Rats of Tobruk, ensuring, and honouring the heroics of these men so they will never be forgotten. They will be remembered in our nation’s heart and for generations to come.

Press Contact:

Deb Goodwin


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