Surviving ‘Rat of Tobruk’ Dennis Davis tells his story

Dennis-Davis-FI. Campion College Australia.
Dennis-Davis-FI. Campion College Australia.
05 Jul 2022

One of the last surviving 'Rats of Tobruk', Dennis Davis, visited Campion to give his testimony in the final week of semester 1.

The World War II veteran is one of an estimated eight remaining Australian-led Allied soldiers that held the Libyan port of Tobruk for eight months in 1941.

Mr Davis is also great-grandfather of one of Campion's students, who invited him to speak to students and staff about his life, including his harrowing time bunkered down during the siege.

Dennis-Davis. Campion College Australia.

Dennis Davis as a soldier in the 9th Division.

As a member of the 9th division, Mr Davis defended the port alongside 14,000 other Australians and allied troops. He described how his division was initially stationed there for two months, but the siege ended up extending to eight months.

"It was the longest siege ever in British military history," he said. "Up to this stage, everything [the Germans] attempted, they'd succeeded, and it was here in Tobruk that they were first defeated."

Mr Davis also described the toll the war took on his relationship with his fiancée Margaret, who broke off the engagement as a result. Emotion took over as he described his reunion with her in Sydney while on leave. Their engagement renewed, they were married just six days later!

Mr Davis also said his Catholic faith was one of the major things that got him through this difficult period of his life, and is a daily Mass-goer to this day.

We'd like to thank the Davis family and students Lucy Woodbury and Simeon Casey for organising this memorable event.

See photos below.