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"Rats of Tobruk"

Semaphore and Port Adelaide RSL Welcomes the "Rats of Tobruk"

Sunday 2nd of June 2013 was one of the most successful days yet for the Semaphore and Port Adelaide RSL Sub-Branch since Reopening the Sub-Branch  doors in September 2012, with the reunion of 5 Original Members from the 2/48th Battalion, the “Rats of Tobruk”.

These Heroes (most of whom are in their 90's now) fought in “The Battle Of El Alamein” Egypt, “Sattleburg” New Guinea, “Tarakan” Borneo and fought alongside Thomas Currie “Diver” Derrick VC, DCM the Semaphore and Port Adelaide RSL Sub-Branch's Patriot.

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El Alamein,1942. A photograph of a captured German Flag taken by Thomas Derrick. AWM

The reason for the reunion was because Mr. Paul Oaten was lent the Nazi Flag that Thomas Currie “Diver” Derrick VC, DCM captured in “The Battle Of El Alamein” North Africa and he had a very limited time in which to have a photo taken with the flag and the 2/48th survivors. Paul felt it fitting to have the photo taken in an RSL and in particular the Semaphore and Port Adelaide RSL in the Thomas Currie “Diver” Derrick Memorial Hall. This Swastika Nazi Flag is considered to be one of the most Historical pieces of Australian Military Memorabilia of WWII.

diver-derrick-raises-australian-flag-awm-016246 Also on the Day the Japanese Flag that was captured by the 2/48th Battalion at “Tarakan” Borneo, where Thomas Currie “Diver” Derrick was mortally wounded while commanding his platoon was also on display. Mr Paul Oaten had his own personal collection of Memorabilia, Photos and Articles on Thomas Currie “Diver” Derrick and the 2/48th Battalion on display for the Members to Peruse. left Derrick Diver Raises the Australian Flag Sattleburg AWM016246

His Collection of Memorabilia gave the Members of the Semaphore and Port Adelaide RSL a Glimpse of what will Soon be permanently on display at the Sub-Branch.

Japaneese Flag captured at Tarakan

Paul and President Graham Wilson are working together, on the Sub-Branch's own collection of Memorabilia, Photos and Articles on Thomas Currie “Diver” Derrick and the 2/48th Battalion. The Display will fill the Entrance Hall walls of the Semaphore and Port Adelaide RSL and tell the whole story of the 2/48th Battalion from formation at Wayville Showgrounds Adelaide in 1940 to Disbandment in 1945. Once painting and renovations are complete the collection will be on perminant display.


After the Photo Shoot the Sub-Branch Provided a Light Lunch and Refreshments for the Members of the 2/48th Battalion, the “Rats of Tobruk”, Guests and Sub-Branch Members whilst Side Swipe Provided the Entertainment. So Successful was the Day, with over 100 Members attending the Day, that we are planing an even Bigger Day Soon with another Historical piece of Australian Military Memorabilia from WWII.Captured Flags:Japaneese Flag - Tarakan, German Tank Flag - El Alamein



The Rats of Tobruk

Ralph Churches : SX 5286

1-rats-of-tobruk-ralph-churchesLead one of the great escapes of ww2, movie made about his exploits in 1985. He also published a book, “100 Miles as the Crow Flies”. Aged 95 when this photo was taken.




Dean Adams: SX 6837


Mentioned in dispatches, ‘C’ Company man who served with Tex Weston who was the most decorated soldier of the Middle East, with DCM and MM Awarded.





Terry Briscoe: SX 33566


The youngest of the group Served in Tarakan 1945, Terry is now president of the Extremely Disabled War Veterans Association of South Australia.




 Ron Daniels: SX 7863

4-rats-of-tobruk-Ron--DanielsMilitary Medal recipient from the Carrier Hill raid at strong>Tobruk. A Bren gunner in a Bren gun carrier. Ron also lead the diversion at Sattelberg with ‘B’ Company, where Thomas Currie “Diver” Derrick VC, DCM won the Victoria Cross.

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Bill Mcevoy: SX11122


Wounded at El Alamein 29-10-1942. The last President of the 2nd/48th association. This day would not have been possible without the help of Bill.




Special thank you goes out to the following people for making it one of the best days since re-opening:

President Graham Wilson for helping to co-ordinate the Day

Graham Johnson who loaned us the flag for the Day.

Paul Oaten for Organising the Day, loaning Memorabilia, Photos and Articles

More info on 2/48th at AWM

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