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RUSI of NSW

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    Army Museum of NSW - Medals of the Month


Medals of the Month - December 2021

The medal below was made by NX59151 Lieutenant (later Captain) Leonard Barlow, 2/1st Pioneer Battalion, Australian Imperial Force for NX393 Lieutenant Colonel Arnold Brown, the unit's Commanding Officer.


Together with an image of a desert rat mounted on the shape of the colour patch for the 2/1st Pioneer Battalion, the medal is inscribed with
"PRESENTED BY LORD HAW-HAW TO THE TOBRUK RATS 1941"

"Rats of Tobruk" was the nickname for the Australian-led Allied garrison that held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the German Afrika Corps in eastern Libya from April to December 1941. The nickname was adopted in response to reports that the German Nazi radio propagandist Lord Haw-Haw had described the garrison in one of his broadcasts as being caught like rats in a trap.

Born in the United States of America in 1906 to a US father and a British mother, Lord Haw-Haw was the nickname for William Brooke Joyce who took out German citizenship in 1940. He was captured in May 1945, tried for high treason and was executed by hanging on 3 January 1946.


Lest We Forget


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