The First Victoria Cross Awarded In Libya

This week, we have seen a renewal of rhetoric about Libya. On Wednesday, Chatham House sent out a video explaining the consequences of the conflict and the latest work of the United Nations. The following day, the media exposed the role played by the Russian security firm, which has been increasing since its success in Syria.

This week sees the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the iconic Siege of Tobruk. On 10th April 1941, Rommel launched his first assault on the enclave, but this was halted by a heavy sandstorm and well-sited British guns. The following day was Good Friday, but there was no bank holiday for the defenders because the Afrika Korps drove straight up the El Adem Road, accompanied by a blistering bombardment from artillery and dive-bombers.

The attack was blocked by the Royal Tank Regiment and the Australian 20th Brigade, but the fight continued throughout Easter. On the night of 13th April, Corporal John Edmondson, a giant of a man from Wagga Wagga, rescued his patrol commander and beat back the German advance, but sadly he died of his wounds later that night. For his inspiring leadership and conspicuous bravery, which led to the defeat of the German Easter attack, he was awarded the first Victoria Cross to an Australian in World War II and the first of nine to be earned in Libya.

Commemorating John Edmondson, we must also remember what his sacrifice meant as we look forward to the Libyan national elections later this year.

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