Formerly     Of this, we are certain.   Home •  Contact •  Advertising •   Bookmark and Share  •  Become a Supporter !
It is currently Fri Sep 29, 2023 3:55 am

Some gave all. We will remember them.


All times are UTC + 10 hours

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: 'Rat of Tobruk' memorabilia on display
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:47 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:13 pm
Posts: 1672
Location: South Australia
'Rat of Tobruk' memorabilia on display
Tuesday - 4 September 2007 -

AFTER enduring ferocious fighting and horrific conditions as a prisoner of war during World War II, Alfred Spooner could be forgiven wanting to forget the horrors he saw.

But the Australian soldier was a meticulous collector and brought home a treasure trove of memorabilia from his time as one of the famous Rats of Tobruk in Libya and prisoner of the Nazis in Europe.

After more than six decades of being carefully stored away, Mr Spooner's rare collection of medals, letters, army kit and photographs has been put on display at Australia's High Commission in London.

Mr Spooner died 25 years ago, but his 85-year-old widow Joan was determined that his collection be preserved and find a good home.

"My husband would be so pleased," Mrs Spooner said.

"I think it will be a symbol for the Australians that pass by and come and see it.

"It will will represent all the Australian forces and remind people of what those men endured."

On display at Australia House are Mr Spooner's khaki slouch hat, brown leather army belt and a wooden crib board he carved with a penknife while a prisoner of war in Austria.

There are also his five war medals, his dog tags, a tie he made out of an army-issue shirt and photographs of him with his fellow Aussie soldiers from the 2nd/13th Battalion AIF.

After completing his army training in the western NSW town of Bathurst and then Ingleburn in Sydney, Mr Spooner boarded the Queen Mary with his fellow troops and sailed to Bombay, the Middle East and then Tobruk.

When Nazi troops overran his battalion's position in Libya in 1941, they found themselves trapped behind enemy lines and Mr Spooner set off to travel 300 miles (480km) across the desert to get to safety.

Desperate to survive, Mr Spooner shot three German soldiers who found him hiding in a foxhole.

He was later captured by the Nazis and spent four years as a prisoner of war and underwent numerous medical experiments before escaping.

After being demobilised he went to Britain, where he met his wife.

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 


All times are UTC + 10 hours

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 128 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Brotherhood never was like it;
Friendship is not the word;
But deep in that body of marching men
The soul of a nation stirred.

-- A.B. "Banjo" Patterson,
    'Australia Today', 1916 is Australia's leading military discussion forum. Originally formed back in 2004 as as a forum for, by, and about the Australian Special Forces, the forum has since widened it's scope to include all members and branches of the ADF as well as our honoured guests and allies from overseas. Despite some sections being open to the public, the forum still enjoys the membership and advice of respected members of the Special Forces and Special Operations Forces both local and international, as well as those from elite specialities in the conventional forces. From recruit training right up to SF selection tips - if it's frank and honest advice you're after, you'll find it here.