Ernest Brough enlisted at Dandenong, Victoria, in March 1940.
He joined the 2/32nd Infantry Battalion in February 1941.
At Tobruk, in North Africa, Ernest was wounded in the buttock during a raid on a German outpost position. He described his injury and the death of a young soldier killed during the action.
In 1942, Ernest participated in the Battle of El Alamein. He had been promoted to sergeant but refused a lieutenancy, citing his fear of having to lead and become a target for the enemy as a reason.
On 31 October 1942, Ernest was captured during fierce fighting around the position known as the ‘saucer’, but not before he had carried a wounded German to safety while under heavy fire.
As a prisoner of war (POW), Ernest was transported to Italy. He described the harsh conditions endured there.
In March 1944, Ernest and two other prisoners escaped from the POW camp and travelled cross-country to Yugoslavia. On 20 April 1944, they met partisan soldiers and they were eventually evacuated to Italy on an American aircraft.