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Banjo handcrafted by Rat of Tobruk reveals realities of life on WWII battlefield

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Tucked away in a treasure trove of military artefacts in an Australian museum lies a handmade musical instrument.

Australian World War II soldier Walter John “Jack” Darnley fashioned together the banjo-like instrument from bits and bobs he gathered while enduring life as a Rat of Tobruk in the trenches of northern Africa in 1941.

A toothbrush, discarded wood, an old drum and a dixie tin formed the bulk of the banjo’s parts.

Jack Darnley’s handmade banjo-like instrument is known as the Darnley Dixaline.(ABC Mid West & Wheatbelt: Samille Mitchell)

Darnley played the instrument, wrote and sang his own songs and encouraged his fellow soldiers to sing with him as he strummed out rollicking tunes in a bid to lighten the mood as they endured the…



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