Saturday, August 2, 2008

[Image] For a hard earned thirst... need a big cold beer
and best cold beer is Vic. Victoria Bitter.

Cantoneria 31, Derna Road, Tobruk.

April , 1941.

On the evening of 7th April, with Rommel's Afrika Korps rapidly encircling Tobruk, soldiers of the retreating 2/13th and 2/48th Battalions made a defensive stand at the old Italian road maintenance depot 31 Kilometres west of Tobruk on the Derna Road.

They managed to hold the Afrika Korps at this position until midnight on the night of the 9-10th April, 1941. Whilst the position was held, and in three hours standing on the back of a truck parked up against the wall of the building SX538 Pvt. Leslie J. Dawes of the 2/3rd Field Company of the Royal Australian Engineers, 9th Division, painted this billboard for Victoria Bitter Beer and another for Griffiths Brother's Tea on the upper corner wall of the building.

Interestingly when Rommel had encircled Tobruk and the siege itself was underway he set up his headquarters briefly in this building the whole time under the watchful eye of Pvt. Dawes' brilliant artwork.

image tile 35, p. 33 "The Rats Remain - The Siege of Tobruk, 1941, J.S. Cumpston, 1966, Melbourne.

1 comment:

Sally J said...

What a great surprise it was to see this photo and even more so, read the story about how it was painted. Wow!
The sign writer, Sapper Les "Doc" Dawes was my great uncle and sadly he passed away when I was a small child but this story has brought him to life for me. I always thought he was a bit of a larrikin and I just love reading this story on your blog.
I've been sporadically doing bits of research on him over the years and finding your blog was awesome. Thanks for sharing this!
Can you suggest anywhere else where I might be able to find more information? Thanks!