Lieutenant Patrick McHugh collection

On the eve of Anzac Day it is timely to highlight a new World War II collection which was recently purchased for the John Oxley Library.  The material comprises four photograph albums and a beautiful textile belonging to Lieutenant Patrick McHugh who served with the 2/13 Australian Infantry Battalion in the Middle East.

Lt Patrick McHugh and mates standing at the border of Egypt and Palestine, c. 1941. (John Oxley Library collection)

Patrick McHugh (service no. QX11600) was born in Atherton, Queensland, on 5 August 1916, being the son of Robert Emmet McHugh and Theresa (nee Rooney). He enlisted for service in World War II in Townsville on 27 March 1941 and served with the 2/13 Australian Infantry Battalion. He was discharged on 8 February 1946 and died in Mackay on 4 June 1977 at the age of 60.

Two of the four photograph albums recently acquired by State Library of Queensland, belonging to Lt Patrick McHugh

The four photograph albums document McHugh's service and include interesting captions and many images of Australian troops. Also included are images of Italian prisoners of war, German troops, and the standard touristy type photos which many Australian soldiers took in these distant and exotic lands.

Photographs of Tobruk, the site of the epic siege in which 14,000 Australian troops held out under constant fire from the German-Italian army, feature extensively. The 2/13th Battalion was the only unit present for the entire siege which lasted 242 days and has been described as one of the longest in British military history.

A page from Lt Patrick McHugh's World War II photograph album featuring scenes in and around Tobruk. (John Oxley Library collection)

Photographs taken in the Middle East by Lt Patrick McHugh of German prisoners-of-war. (John Oxley Library collection)

Page from Lt Patrick McHugh's album featuring scenes in and around the city of Gaza. (John Oxley Library collection)

The collection also includes a beautifully embroidered souvenir textile of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces in Palestine which features camels, donkeys and palm trees. The textile is in immaculate condition and must have been carefully preserved over the years to have remained in this state.

Extremely well-preserved souvenir textile purchased by Lt Patrick McHugh during his service in the Middle East, World War II. (John Oxley Library collection)

Lynn Meyers - Specialist Librarian, State Library of Queensland


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