Ring carved from a Stuka dive-bomber

Contributed by Ray Lee

Ring carved from a Stuka dive-bomber

Image 1 of 2

My father was a soldier in the 8th Army, Royal Engineers, during World War II. He became involved in the lifting of the siege of Tobruk, Operation Crusader, in November 1941. Tobruk had been besieged by Rommel's troops since April 1941 and was being held by mostly Australian troops, the Desert Rats.

Whilst he was stationed in Tobruk, the Allies shot down a Stuka dive-bomber, which crashed within the garrison's defences. The soldiers climbed all over the plane to take for themselves small souvenirs to keep. Dad took a tube of aluminium from the tail-plane, and using just his army knife whittled out the ring in the photograph. The raised lozenge on the front of the ring has 'Tobruk 1941' enscribed on it.

Dad was a gifted artist, but I find it amazing that he could still think of art whilst under siege.

After Tobruk was liberated, dad remained there until he was shipped out undertaking guard duty on a ship containing Italian prisoners of war.

Whilst in Tobruk, dad was commissioned to paint a mural on the commissioned officers' mess wall. He had not finished it when he was shipped out. An acquaintance of mine saw dad's mural during his national service in the 1950s.

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Tobruk, Libya




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