A rare opportunity to get clean.
For these men of the 9th Division a rare trip to the incredible white beaches of the Mediterranean is not only leisure, but necessary for bathing. With strict water rationing in effect a soldier's water ration was best used for drinking leaving little for personal hygiene.
The crystal clear salt water of the Mediterranean not only refreshed the troops but doubled as a form of antiseptic, with the salt water immersion aiding in the healing of wounds and desert sores. It was also a welcomed opportunity to wash your very soiled clothes.
It was an unwritten law of the Siege of Tobruk that troops resting at the beaches were not to be fired upon. It was not uncommon for a group of Diggers taking a rest spell on a beach at Tobruk to see Afrika Korp's troops swimming carefree a few miles down the beach.
image 020618 Australian War Memorial.