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The artist has clearly introduced his own style and interpretation; this is a remarkable find and I am very grateful to Terrence for this new slant. I note that there are now bars on the window! [Don]
I was in Tobruk in 1963-65 as a teenager. I saw the Bardia mural - but as a teenager, I had more important things on my mind (i.e. the beach and girls). I returned to Libya in March/April 2008 for three weeks.
Although I didn't manage to get as far as Bardia, I did manage to see a copy of the mural in the community museum in Derna (photo attached). The museum is in a large basement in a small street near the coast road, not far from the centre of town. Although I don't know the address of the museum, I know somebody who does.
The copy, although large, isn't the best. But at least the residents of Derna thought to keep a copy of the mural in a museum for posterity. The museum is fabulous and a must visit...
By all means display the photograph if this is helpful.
[Dr] Terrence [Coldwell]
For those interested in Miss Olive Brittan: The house and grounds where she lived is now the Rainbow Resort, popular at weekends and for wedding by the middle class of Benghazi. Unfortunately, the house is no longer there, but the distinctive row of palm trees still remain. I also have footage of 8mm film (now on DVD) showing Miss Brittan in the last week of December 1964.
After much discussion with two Libyan friends I am able to update these pages.
I asked Captain Mousa Saad if he would take new pictures for me when he next visited Bardiyah.
He very kindly sent me the pictures which appear below.
These pictures show that quite a lot of deterioration has taken place, there are cracks and flaking plus some graphiti and personal artwork added.
Major General Suleiman Obeidi serves in the Libyan Army and is a historian with regard to the desert war.
He is the author of a book about Field Marshall Rommel and his campaigns (a signed copy of which he kindly sent me).
General Suleiman has provided information that contradicts the previously accepted belief that J. Brill was a prisoner. He says (see Comments page) that the 8th Army were in Bardiyah and Brill was in the rear of the 8th Army at the time the picture was signed. [Don]
I want to thank Hatem Sabrey from Tripoli, Libya who has contacted me and provided much needed recent photographs.
Unfortunately, as can be seen, it is not possible to show what is no longer there. Apart from cracks presumably due to movement of the building itself, much of the loss of contrast in the mural is due to the blackness having been rubbed off by hand. Some graphiti, (which knows no national boundaries), has been applied in various places and some of it then thankfully removed as much as is possible. The site appears in several tour guides and so it is very likely that the graphiti has been provided by all nationalities.
Visitors pitting the value of their handiwork against that of Brill are doomed to be remembered (if at all) as failures. [Don]
I've attached a few high resolution images taken of the mural a couple of weeks ago.
The building appears to be subsiding and cracks are appearing in the wall.
The graffiti continues although the local town representative is trying his best to look after the building and guarding the key.
He has no financial resources or support though.
There is talk that Bardi is going to be developed as a tourist area and luxury resort so I hope the mural and the building will be restored as it is definitely a fantastic attraction for the region.
By the way, the town representative is still peddling the story that the mural was painted by John Brill the POW!
I also read a comment on your website about the Italian cememtary nearby and yes, this is correct. It is located on top of the cliff just to the north of Bardi.
Unfortunately the Italian cemetery is in a very bad condition and has been vandalised on a major scale with few grave monuments remaining in one piece (photo attached of one of the last remaining standing monuments).
[Don]: I have enlarged two parts of the picture which may be useful to somebody. The number appears to be 227193.*07
If anybody can translate, or knows the number system, please contact me
As a interesting side note, we were told that the numerous piles of stones just outside the Italian cemetery were the graves of the Ethiopian soldiers fighting with the Italians.
I'm becoming increasingly interested in the Greek/Roman history to Bardi but cannot find any information for the town and its vicinity at all. Do you know of any sources or references which may be helpful?
[Don]: Can anybody help please?