The Military History Society of New South Wales Incorporated presents

A Royal Navy Captain’s Story

By Peter Poland


Captain Albert Poland of the Royal Navy recorded his Second World War service in daily notebooks from mid-April 1941 until January 1943.

During this critical time he saw action during the whole dramatic eight-month Siege of Tobruk by Rommel’s Afrika Korps, from April to November 1941.

As an Officer Inshore Squadron, Albert was responsible for all ships supplying the besieged garrison, including units of the 9th Australian Division, with food, ammunition, fuel etc.

Afterwards he continued to support the army in opening up ports along the Mediterranean coast as they advanced.

In March 1942 he was appointed a Captain of the 14th Destroyer Flotilla, commanding HMS Jervis and escorting convoys to Malta, confronting the Italian Navy at the Battle of Sirte, and rescuing crew of flotilla vessels sunk by the Luftwaffe outside Alexandria.

Albert’s notebooks were transcribed by his son Peter and, along with other primary source material, were published as a book. Peter will talk about his father’s action-packed wartime experiences.

Peter Poland

Biography – Peter Poland

Peter Poland comes from a naval family. In addition to his father, grandfather and brother there were 18 Polands in the Royal Navy between 1846 and 1976.

MAS Platypus. In late 1956 he married June, a Sydney girl, and took her back to England. In 1968 he brought the Type 15 Frigate HMS Zest into Sydney Harbour. June came out to the ship and was on the bridge as he brought the ship alongside in Garden Island.

He resigned from the Royal Navy in 1971 and brought June and his three children to Sydney. Peter then joined a major retailer as an executive trainee.

By 1987 he was the General Manager Personnel and Industrial Relations until the company was sold.

Since then he has become very involved in history and heritage and is a founding member of the Woollahra History and Heritage Society.

In addition to editing his father’s book Tobruk and Beyond: War Notes from the Mediterranean Station 1941-43, he has written three others.

Saturday 7 September 2019, 2.00pm – 3.00pm

Goulburn Room, Level 4, City of Sydney RSL, 561-567 George Street, Sydney

For further information call 0419 698 783 or email

Although entry is free, a gold coin donation is appreciated.


Flyer – Siege Tobruk