This service honours the sacrifice of the Australian 9th Division and the Polish Carpathian Brigade during the Siege of Tobruk.
After fighting the German counter-offensive along the north coast of Africa, in April 1941 the 9th Division withdrew to Tobruk. There, the enemy surrounded the city in a siege that would last 240 days. 14,000 Australian soldiers faced repeated attacks and almost constant bombing. Their determined defence earned them the nickname 'Rats of Tobruk.' 749 men of the 9th Division were killed during the siege.
From August 1941, the 9th Division began to be relieved. The Polish Independent Carpathian Brigade took over their duties at Tobruk, and remained until the siege was lifted in December 1941. Composed of soldiers exiled after the invasion of Poland in 1939, they lost 127 men while serving at Tobruk.
- Shrine Governor Colonel John Coulson OAM RFD ED
Reviewed 07 February 2021