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Bust of Mussolini

This is the bust of the Italian dictator Mussolini and was donated to the National Army Museum along with an amusing history. During World War II’s North Africa campaign Brigadier Jack Conolly was amongst the officers of the 24th Battalion who set up their HQ in the captured Governor’s Palace in Tripoli. As the story goes, there were two busts in the palace, one of which was of Mussolini, and Conolly commented that he preferred it better than the other. When night fell Conolly went up to his room to discover the bust of Mussolini comfortably tucked up in his bed, resting his head on the pillow. Conolly came up with a creative solution as to what to do with the very heavy piece of artwork; he wrapped it up, marked the package ‘War Papers, Top Secret’ and sent it home to his wife in New Zealand. Once in New Zealand Mussolini’s lot did not improve; he was put up on a post where Conolly’s children used to sit on his head and hit him with sticks because he was a ‘bad man’.