An unidentified Digger of the Australian 9th Division downs his first beer after an extended period in forward lines at El Alamein, Egypt, 1st Nov 1942.
image 042077 Australian War Memorial
The Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for bravery in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to a Commonwealth soldier. To date only 96 Australians have ever won a VC. Of these 20 were awarded in WW2.
Maj. Gen. Leslie Morshead
NX8 Major General Leslie Morshead KCB, KBE, CMG, DSO.
Morshead was commander of the Tobruk Garrison during the siege of 1941.
The Nazi propagandist William Joyce (a.k.a "Lord Haw Haw"), an Englishman broadcasting Nazi propaganda from Berlin in English, called Major General Morshead and the Tobruk Garrison "Ali Baba and his 20,000 Thieves".
image 009517 Australian War Memorial.
9th Division Slouch Hat Alamein 1942
A slouch hat as worn by a member of the 9th Division during the Battle of El Alamein, Egypt, Oct 1942.
image Alamein War Museum
Lt Gen Erwin Rommel
"[A] batch of some 50 or 60 Australian prisoners were marched off close behind us — immensely big and powerful men, who without question represented an elite formation of the British Empire, a fact that was also evident in battle."
- Lt General Erwin Rommel Commander Deutsches Afrika Korp Tobruk, 1941.
2/48th Infantry Battallion
The 2/48th Infantry Battalion was Australia’s highest decorated unit of the Second World War, awarded four Victoria Crosses (three of them posthumously) and more than 80 other decorations. During the war the 2/48th suffered casualties of 318 dead and 703 wounded. It's most famous member was SX7964 Lt. Thomas "Diver" Derrick V.C. who was a household name in Australia during the war after a painting of him appeared on the cover of The Australian Women's Weekly.
The Tobruk Shave
Attending to personal hygiene requirements in the slit trenches of Tobruk is difficult when you are only allocated approx 1 litre of water per man per day for all purposes.
With temperatures rising to upwards of 50 degrees celcius during the day not much water was spared for grooming.
The action of shaving in the front lines is made more difficult by the presence of German snipers.
image from "Active Service - with Australia in the Middle East" Australian War Memorial 1941.