John was posted to the 2nd/3rd Anti-Tank Regiment RAA, 9th Australian Division.
The unit sailed for England before moving to Egypt.
After training in Egypt the Division moved to Tobruk where they saw action against the Italians.
On 8 April 1941 the HQ and advance Battery's of the 2nd/3rd Anti-Tank Regiment moved to a forward position at El Micheli.
As the advance party arrived they were attacked by the German Army Panzer Corps, which nobody knew were in the area.
loss of half of the 2/3 Anti-Tank unit was a major blow, but they had
given notice to the Division by radio, that the Germans were coming.
This helped to setup the defense of Tobruk, and so started the siege of Tobruk, which held and forever they were to be known as the Rats of Tobruk.
Those of the unit who were not Killed in Action were taken prisoner.
John Duggan was wounded and taken prisoner.
The POW Trail;
Derna from 9 Apr 41 to 12 Apr 41.
Benghazi from 14 Apr 41 to 17 Apr 41.
Subratha from 22 Apr 41 to 25 Apr 41.
Capua from 2 May 41 to 10 May 41
Sulmona from 11 May 41 to 21 Jul 41
Bolzano from 28 Jul 41 to 21 Oct 41.
Udine from 28 Oct 41 to 11 Apr 43.
Vercelli from 12 Apr 43 to 9 Oct 43.
(Source: NAA, from my fathers service record)
escaped from the Vercelli prison camp in Italy and made his way across
the Swiss Alps to freedom arriving on 1 December 1943 with 4 other
They were then interned in Switzerland, as it was a neutral country.
on the first train out of Switzerland arriving in Italy in 1944 and was
repatriated home later that year to be once again with his family.
John had 2 brothers and 1 sister. Both brothers served during the war.
John's youngest brother Bernard Leo Duggan served in the Royal Australian Air Force and was Killed in Action in an air battle against the Japanese in the Pacific.
Bernie, as he was called, is interned in the war cemetery in New Guinea.
Duggan, Bernard Leo
Rank: Corporal [Cpl]
Unit: 71 Wing, Goodenough Island
Date of Death: 05/03/1944
Place of Death: New Guinea
Cause of Death: Flying Battle
Memorial Panel: 97
Cemetery or Memorial Details:
Source: AWM148 Roll of Honour cards, 1939-1945 War, Air Force
3 of my Great Uncles served in WW1
William Patrick Duggan,** Enlisted 16 September 1914, Posted 12 Bn.
Landed Gallipoli, 2 March 1915, France 4 June 1916,
Wounded in Action,.1 May 1917. Evacuated to England.
Landed Belguim 20 October 1917.
Returned to France 28 May 1918
RTA Australia 4 December 1918 on "Port Sydney"
Discharged in Sydney 3 February 1919
Bernard Leo Duggan,**
Enlisted 10 September 1915, Posted 12 Bn
Landed France, 4 August 1916
Transferred to 5 Field Ambulance 8 April 1917
RTA Australia on SS Swakopmund as Nursing Staff
Discharged in Sydney 25 September 1919
Lewis Montreal Duggan,**
Enlisted 4 May 1916, Posted 40 Bn
Arrived Devonport England 22 August 1916
Marched in to 40 Bn 23 September 1916
Landed France 23 November 1916
Wounded in Action, 16 March 1917
RTA Australia 14 February 1919 on "Somali"
Discharged in Hobart 25 May 1919
After the wars
and yes I also served in the Australian Peace Time Army,
6 years in the Royal Australian Regiment - Ist and 2nd Battalions.
years in Royal Australian Army Service Corp / Royal Australian Corp of
Transport including both Transport and Air Dispatch Units - Both as full
time and CMF service.
I have been awarded the RFM, NM and ADM for service.
3 Transport Coy RAASC, 3 Transport Coy RACT have an Association for anyone who served in the unit, see web link below.