House debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Constituency Statements

Davis, Mr Dennis Albert

9:41 am

Photo of Alex HawkeAlex Hawke (Mitchell, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It's a privilege to rise and pay tribute to the life of Dennis Albert Davis, a veteran of World War II and a Rat of Tobruk. Indeed, his passing marks the last Rat of Tobruk in New South Wales. I want to take a moment to pay tribute to his record of military service and the contribution he made to Australia since World War II.

Dennis was a man who joined the Australian Imperial Force at a very young age, serving in the 6th Australian Recruit Training Battalion, the 8th Australian Division Supply Column, the 9th Australian Division Supply Column, 12 Company Australian Army Service Corps, and the 2/156 Australian General Transport Company. Dennis's service throughout World War II includes the Middle East, Tobruk, New Guinea, Morotai and Borneo. He served the entire service of the war. In that epic battle that defined World War II, in the first instance where the Allied military machine was able to stop the Nazi military machine at Tobruk, he was there. He drove, in some cases, 41 hours straight to provide supplies for the troops there. It's a fact of Australian military history and Australian culture that the finest moniker a man could be given after World War II was to have been a Rat of Tobruk. We're very proud of that generation and the service that the Rats of Tobruk gave.

Dennis was an amazing human who lived to 102 and died this year. At 100, he was still walking every single morning at 5 am. He'd get up and walk four kilometres and attend Mass every single day. He continued to work and volunteer to help other men and veterans who had been affected by the war, including recent servicemen. He is survived by two children—his daughters Linda and Maureen—seven grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

It was a very special privilege of mine to be able to meet Dennis and hear from him. As a student of Australian military history myself, to sit with someone who served at Tobruk and hear from him about his wartime experiences was one of the great privileges I had. I think for anyone who has met someone who served in one of those epic Australian battles, it is really intense to understand what these very young Australians went through and the sacrifices they made.

On behalf of the Castle Hill RSL sub-Branch and the St Bernadette's Parish of Castle Hill, I just want to take a moment of parliament's time to pay tribute to yet another passing of a Rat of Tobruk, a man who served our country so well. He was a man who served Australia so well after the war. He was a man who cared for his family and for his community right until his death this year at 102. Tobruk, they say, was the siege that changed history, and I pay tribute to Dennis and his great service to Australia.