Robert Arthur Wust served in the Second World War and was a Rat of Tobruk.
Robert Arthur Wust served in the Second World War and was a Rat of Tobruk. Contributed

RATS OF TOBRUK: Bob's dedicated life of service

HE MAY have been a war hero, but Robert Arthur Charles Wust didn't have a clean record under the law.

Up until the 1960s, it was law for all bicycles to have lamps when being ridden at night. Bob was fined five shillings for this offence around 1920.

He was born in Rockhampton on September 12, 1919 and worked cutting fire wood for Martin Bro Timber Merchants in the city prior to his enlistment in the army.

Bob also later worked as a farm hand at Harveston, a mixed farm at Pink Lily.

On February 25, 1941, Bob enlisted in the army to fight during the Second World War.

He served in Syria, Africa and the Middle East where he was a Rat of Tobruk.

 

RATS OF TOBRUK: A group of officers of the 20th Infantry Brigade in Tobruk, Libya in 1941.
RATS OF TOBRUK: A group of officers of the 20th Infantry Brigade in Tobruk, Libya in 1941. Photo Australian War Memorial RO

Although Bob returned to Australia in 1943, he was soon fighting again.

After jungle training in North Queensland, he took in two seaborne landings in New Guinea, at Lae and Finschafen.

In the Finschafen landing, Bob was in the first wave ashore where Japanese troops were dug in behind the beach.

During a company attack at Kumawa in the hills behind Finschafen he was wounded in action.

Bob returned once again to Australia with the Battalion and after more training in North Queensland, sailed for Borneo to face the Japanese for the last time.

At the end of the Second World War, he returned home with his Battalion and was discharged on May 4, 1946.

After this he was employed at the Fitzroy Shire Council until April, 1947. Bob then went on to work as a groundsman at Rockhampton Airport until retirement on January 29, 1982.

By then, he had given 35 years service to the airport.

 

1941-08. Tobruk. Aboard H.M.A.S. NIZAM. Diggers on their way to fight at Tobruk. Australian War Memorial
1941-08. Tobruk. Aboard H.M.A.S. NIZAM. Diggers on their way to fight at Tobruk. Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial ROK06041

In March 1949, Rockhampton suffered its worst cyclone to date.

On the afternoon of March 2, the Capricorn Coast, Gladstone and Rockhampton were battered by fierce winds and blinding rains.

In the height of the storm, Bob helped his neighbour, John Fontaine of Lion Creek Rd, secure his roof.

Tragically, John was blown off the roof and died before reaching hospital.

Bob was left with a broken collar bone.

In August, 1958, Bob married Gladys Eileen Kahl at the Archer St Methodist Church in Rockhampton.

The pair did not have children.

Bob died on April 19, 1990 and was buried at the North Rockhampton Cemetery.



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