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Army September 13, 2012
Ball a unique war relic
SEVENTY years after an inter-
unit football match in the desert of
Palestine, the football used in the
game has turned up in Adelaide.
The ball was on display at a
luncheon for a Defence-sponsored
football match held between the
Adelaide Crows and Essendon on
SSgt Bob Dikkenberg discovers the full
history behind a WWII-vintage football on
display in Adelaide.
back a flood of
memories for the
guest of honour
at the lunch-
eon, World War
II veteran Bill
was a member
of the 2/10th
Battalion, the first
South Australian battalion formed for
the Second AIF.
After taking part in the defence of
Tobruk, the 2/10th trained in Palestine
and between late September 1941 and
early January 1942, it formed part of
the force garrisoning Syria.
Also forming part of the garrison
force was the 6th Battery, 2/3rd Field
Regiment, made up of volunteers
from Western Australia.
The records are unclear on who
offered the challenge but a match
between the two units was soon
It wasn't the best site for a game
of football -- the ground was strewn
with Turkish ordnance left over from
World War I and littered with jagged
stones and gravel.
Many battalion histories have stir-
ring accounts of their sporting con-
tests and the 2/10th
history devotes a
whole chapter to
sport. Their history
shows that in 1942
the 2/10th and
held two matches.
the first match by
19 points and the
won the second by 14 points, accord-
ing to the history.
Maj Barry Willoughby, the man-
ager of the Army Museum of South
Australia where the ball, signed by
the 2/3rd Regiment team, is usually
on display, described it as "like the
Ashes urn; it's a one-off".
"There's certainly nothing like it in
the Army museum network. To me it's
a significant thing and I'm honoured to
have the privilege of being able to pick
It's like the
Ashes urn; it's a
-- Maj Barry Willoughby,
Army Museum of
Artefact: WWII veteran Bill Hermanson shows Maj-Gen Neil Wilson (retd) the ball he used for a football match
in Palestine in 1942.
Photo by Cpl Rodney Welch
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