Pete (Peter Finch) has been wounded in an action to take an enemy gun post. Bluey (Grant Taylor) orders a withdrawal, so Milo (Chips Rafferty) slings his wounded mate over his shoulder and carries him out. Pete only survives long enough at the casualty station to remember some famous lines of poetry. He dies while Bluey finishes reciting the poem.
There is a strong appeal to romantic ideas about war in the film’s use of songs, poetry and lines of Shakespeare’s plays. Finch, in his first leading role on film, recites the famous 'we band of brothers’ speech from Henry V (1599), at one point. In this scene, he dies quoting Rupert Brooke’s 'The Soldier’ (1914). These touches were fairly typical of Charles Chauvel, although the call to artistic interpretation of tragedy is stronger in The Rats of Tobruk than in most of his films. It seems intended to elevate the emotions, and valorise the otherwise brutal realities of the story, perhaps to give audiences who were experiencing their own tragedies through war some kind of framework of meaning. The film was clearly a work of considerable ambition for Chauvel, although it was not as successful with audiences as Forty Thousand Horsemen (1940) had been.