Historical information

Hand drawn Coat of Arms for the soldiers known as the Rats of Tobruk with signatures of those involved in the engagement between 5th April to the 22nd of October 1941
The drawing is signed by artist John DOWIE AM, SX6087 who served with the 2/43rd Battalion
Signatories are: VX42389 Eric Hamilton, 2/32 Battalion; VX30189 F.Baldwin, 2/23 Battalion; VX34544, F.J.Mc.Intosh 2/24 Battalion; VX34554 W.Harrison, 2/24 Battalion;
WX7281 P.Bone 2/25 Battalion; VX33719 Duke Goldsmith, 2/24 Battalion; VX41179 Harry Frazer, 2/24 Battalion; VX29652 A.R.Stribley, 2/24 Battalion; SX6367 Jack Foley, 2/43 Battalion; VX48340 Harry Jones, 2/23 Battalion; VX42317 Aub Jarrott, 2/24Battalion; VX28869 Rod Deering 2/24Battalion; VX15719 Ian F. Joss 7th Division AASC; VX19723 Len Dauria, 2/12 Field Regiment; NX35852 R.E (Snowy) Cornelius 2/13 Battalion; VX32559 Jim Gray, 2/24Battalion - James Cyril GRAY Born 6/1/1916 in Orroroo South Australia. Enlisted 28/5/1940 at Mildura. Awarded Military Medal for remarkable coolness, bravery and leadership at Tobruk on 24/4 and 1/5/1941. He was promoted to Sergeant on 14/8/1941, Lieutenant in November 1942 then Captain on 9/4/1945. He was wounded in action on 11/9/1943 and discharged on 20/12/1945. He married and had three children. He died on 10/4/1992 aged 76 and buried at Wangaratta Cemetery.


This original drawing is by John DOWIE SX6087 who served with the 2/43rd Battalion during the second world war and is signed by the artist and soldiers from the 2/24th Battalion known as "Wangaratta's Own".
John Stuart Dowie AM (15 January 1915 – 19 March 2008) was an Australian painter, sculptor and teacher. He was born in the suburb of Prospect in Adelaide, South Australia, and studied architecture at the University of Adelaide. During World War II, Dowie worked in the Military History Unit of the Australian Imperial Force, and as an assistant to Australia's official war sculptor, Lyndon Dadswell. As a soldier, he was one of the Rats of Tobruk.
After studying art in London and Florence, Dowie returned to Australia. His work includes over 50 public sculpture commissions, including the "Three Rivers" fountain in Victoria Square, "Alice" in Rymill Park, the "Victor Richardson Gates" at Adelaide Oval and the "Sir Ross & Sir Keith Smith Memorial" at Adelaide Airport. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1981 in recognition of service to the arts as a sculptor and painter. Dowie died on 19 March 2008, aged 93.
There is a similiar version of the drawing on page 32 of the book Desert Sand and Jungle Green by Geoffrey Boss-Walker which is an illustrated history of the 2/43rd Battalion.

Physical description

Timber frame containing hand drawn Coat of Arms consisting of "rats" as shield supporters, crest with a swastika in the centre and motto surrounded by signatures.

Inscriptions & markings

Signatures of artist John Dowie and soldiers engaged at Tobruk.
The crest depicts a latrine and the motto reads NON FASCES SED FAECES (Latin translation - "Do not move but the dregs")