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"DEDICATION /To the everlasting memory of Sub-Lieutenant Edmond Leonard ('Nobby') Clark, D.S.C., D.S.M., R.N.V.R., and all those officers and men who were killed on the 'Spud Run', I dedicate this story."


The Siege of Tobruk lasted for 241 days in 1941. Tobruk was the only harbour between Bengazi and Alexandria and became crucial in preventing Rommel's sweep to the Nile. Tobruk was captured in 1941 and became a beleagured fortress until its garrison was relieved in November 1941. Churchill and his War Cabinet had declared that "Tobruk must be held to the death". The Australians under Major General Morshead fought like tigers . Nazi propaganda radio broadcasts spoke contemptuously of the Tobruk defenders as ‘rats’. In defiance, the soldiers proudly adopted this nickname and have been known by it ever since. During the siege, they designed their own medals, in the shape of a rat, made from the scrap metal of a downed German aeroplane. Anthony Heckstalk-Smith who was himself a Flotilla Officer the "A" Lighters which provided supplies to the garrison, researched evidence from officers of all units involved - Australian, South African, German and British to write this controversial story of men in battle.