Tobruk 1941 Capture - Siege - Relief by Chester Wilmot

Published 1944:  First Edition / Hardcover /  Fine Condition  / Illustrated throughout / Fold out Map of The Mediterranean still intact at the rear.

Original green cloth no jacket. 348 clean and bright unmarked pages. Slight fading and general wear on boards. A very scarce original publication.

Collection can be arranged by Appointment. Churchtown, Dublin 14 

Like Gallipoli, the coastal fortress of Tobruk in northern Africa has a special place in Australian’s war annals. For eight month in 1941 the Australian Imperial Force helped hold the besieged town against German forces that had hitherto suffered no check.

With the distinctive mix of vigour and intelligence that made him a celebrated correspondent during and after the Second World War, Chester Wilmot here tells the story of the fighting in and around Tobruk from January to December 1941. His compelling book, based on personal observation, official documents and eyewitness accounts, is given even greater impact by the use of enemy sources including extracts from the diaries of German officers.

As well as commemorating the achievement of the besieged Allied troops against the superior strength of the Germans, Tobruk gives an exceptionally readable insight into the critical North African campaign.

“Tobruk set an example of courage in the face of superior strength, of firm spirit in spite of hardship, of cheerful defiance and offensive defence.”—CHESTER WILMOT

Reginald William Winchester Wilmot (21 June 1911 - 10 January 1954) was an Australian war correspondent who reported for the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation during the Second World War. After the war he continued to work as a broadcast reporter, and wrote a well-appreciated book about the liberation of Europe.

He was born in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne, as the son of Reginald “Old Boy” Wilmot, a well-known sports journalist. He attended Melbourne Grammar School and then studied history, politics and law under Sir Ernest Scott at the University of Melbourne, where he resided at Trinity College and became interested in debating.

Following graduation in 1936, he went on an international debating tour. One of the stops was in Nazi Germany where he went to a Nuremberg Rally. He began to work as a legal clerk in 1939 and, at the outbreak of WWII, joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He was sent to the Middle East in 1940 and reported from North Africa, Greece and Syria. He was in Tobruk during the siege of 1941. When Japan entered the war, he returned to Australia, then went out to cover the war in the Pacific. He reported from Papua during the Japanese invasion in 1942, including the Kokoda Track campaign, where he walked the whole length of the track.

On his return to Sydney, he wrote a book about his experiences in Tobruk, and narrated a documentary film called Sons of the ANZACs. In 1944, he transferred to the BBC, reporting for D-Day. After war end he remained in England and wrote articles on the recent war, as well as a book about World War II, The Struggle for Europe (1952).

Wilmot was part of a television commentary team for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II during Christmas 1953. He was en route back to Britain from that assignment on BOAC Flight 781 when his plane, a Comet 1, broke up following explosive decompression over the Mediterranean Sea; all aboard were killed. He was 54 years old.   

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