Sunday, August 24, 2008

[Image] A rare wash at Tobruk

June, 1941. Tobruk, Libya.

A rare chance to wash some clothes.

VX33235 Gunner J.W. Croft of the 2/3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment has saved enough of his litre a day water ration to give some basic kit a wash. Gunner Croft hangs his washing to dry on a low slung washing line for a very good reason.

With the flat terrain at Tobruk, anything standing higher than three feet of the ground would draw artillery fire as being unnatural, and therefore enemy. For most men at Tobruk though, a wash in the ocean would be the closest they got to clean clothes.

One Digger recalled that for the entire duration of the siege he only once got a chance to wash, and that was a brief one hour trip to the beach. He also stated that he didn't brush his teeth for six months as it was a waste of precious water that could be drunk instead.

image p01260.012 Australian War Memorial.

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