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Unearthing the Heroes of Tobruk: An Australian WWII Legacy Rediscovered

Unearthing the Heroes of Tobruk: An Australian WWII Legacy Rediscovered
Image supplied | Tobruk Harbour

In a momentous revelation, the Descendants of the Rats of Tobruk Australia Association (DOTROTA) has uncovered the forgotten soldiers of the Siege of Tobruk during World War II.

Thanks to the dedicated research of Deb Goodwin and Sue Trewartha, eight servicemen previously absent from the Siege of Tobruk’s roll of honour have been recognised for their valour and sacrifice.

Rediscovery of the Rats of Tobruk

The exhaustive investigation into the war diaries led to the discovery of servicemen from the 2/1st Survey Regiment RAA, Sound Ranging Battery, and the 4th Durham Survey Regiment. These soldiers played crucial roles during the Siege of Tobruk, a pivotal moment in the war.

The discovery includes the names of Sgt Ian Leslie Braid, Sgt Edmund Frank Spreadborough, Sgt Jack Bonnel Donaldson, Bdr Persse Sailsbury Rainsford, L/Bdr Vernon William Hercus, and L/Bdr Douglas Patrick Lampe.

Additionally, Batman Gnr Albert Victor Godwin and Lt Col Bruce Klein from the 4th Durham Survey Regiment were also found to have remained in Tobruk until late August 1941.

Honouring the Legacy

DOTROTA has been working diligently to connect with the descendants of these soldiers, honouring them with a commemorative Rats of Tobruk Tribute. The association’s dedication ensures that the courage and sacrifice of these servicemen will be remembered in the annals of history.

Their legacy resonates deeply as we approach the 83rd Anniversary of the Siege of Tobruk and ANZAC Day, serving as a timely reminder of the tenacity and bravery that defined a generation.

A Victory for Historical Truth

The breakthrough is a victory for historical truth and a tribute to those who served with distinction. Their stories now provide a fuller, more accurate account of the Siege of Tobruk, preserving the memory of these brave soldiers for future generations.

As we commemorate their service, we honour the lasting impact of the Rats of Tobruk on Australia’s wartime history.

For more information, contact Deb Goodwin at or 0408 491 205.