Tobruk, Libya, 3rd September, 1941.
Sgt L Jones of the 2/23rd Battalion's improvised banjo.
Made whilst serving in the Red Line of Tobruk's outer perimeter this banjo was constructed by Sgt L. Jones of the 2/23rd Infantry Battalion out of an old kerosene tin and a packing case.
Australian troops in Tobruk faced shortages of most necessities and luxuries were virtually unheard of. Leave it to resourceful Aussie scroungers to make what they cant otherwise have. There was very little in the way of entertainment in the Red Line and the long monotonous times in the front could be made to pass quicker with a musical instrument.
There are numerous accounts that I have read of Australian troops in Tobruk playing musical instruments to the Germans. There was even one account of a soldier from the 2/13th Battalion playing German songs on his trumpet on the Salient causing the Germans to cease firing for as long as he played. Obviously things of small beauty in an ugly place caused even the Afrika Korps to pause for thought.
image 020566 Australian War Memorial.
author's note: In keeping with my policy to try and identify by name and service number as many of the men as possible in photos I'm afraid I am unable at this time to identify the service number of Sgt. L Jones above. There were 323 men with the name L. Jones in the service of the Australian Army during the Second World War. Time permitting I will attempt to positively identify Sgt. Jones in the future.