Historical information

14,000 Australians were in Tobruk during the siege. On return to Australia the veterans looked to maintain the ties created amongst those who were in Tobruk during the siege and to ensure their needs were supported. In 1944, the Rats of Tobruk Association, NSW was established. This was followed by the establishment of the Victorian Branch on 2nd October 1945. Other branches and sub-branches were established across Australia and a Federal Council was established in 1946. With the passing of the survivors of Tobruk, most branches have been wound up with the exception of the Victorian branch. Since 2012 the Rats of Tobruk Association Inc. has opened up affiliate membership to descendants and relatives of the original "Rats" in order to preserve their legacy.


This item is part of a collection of items owned by Arthur Lock, a member of the 2/23rd Battalion, an all-volunteer Second Australian Imperial Force which served as part of the garrison during the Siege of Tobruk, then at El Alamein, New Guinea and Borneo. It has particular local significance as the battalion was know as "Albury's Own" because a large majority of the battalion's initial intake of volunteers came from the Albury–Wodonga region.

Physical description

A wooden plaque in the shape of a shield with one large emblem of the Rats of Tobruk Association in the centre and 4 smaller emblems attached. The smaller emblems represent the Rats of Tobruk Association, the Returned Services League Australia and the Queensland Civil Defence. The Rats of Tobruk motto is also included on a metal scroll.

Inscriptions & markings

Beneath the badges on a metal scroll "NO SURRENDER"