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Desert Rats make remembrance a family-friendly day

Children ride on a restored WW2 Cromwell tank in Desert Rats' colours. ANL-140615-193211009

Children ride on a restored WW2 Cromwell tank in Desert Rats' colours. ANL-140615-193211009

Young and old came together at the Desert Rats’ only wartime UK base to mark their part in D-Day 70 years ago.

The dwindling heroes who outlived the day and came safe home remembered those who did not, alongside current military top brass, MPs and ordinary families.

A remembrance parade was just part of the Desert Rats’ Association’s all-day reunion on Sunday at the former High Ash camp near Mundford. It was where the 7th Armoured Division trained on their new Cromwell tanks before the invasion.

For the first time, the event included a fully restored Desert Rats’ Cromwell, whose owner brought it from Manchester. He even allowed children to climb over the vehicle it had cost £200,000 to return to working order.

Among those who spoke at the parade was Brigadier James Woodham, commander of the modern Desert Rats, the 7th Armoured Brigade.

For those too young to remember, there were plenty of WW2 enthusiasts around with vehicles and equipment of the day to show them what it was like. You could see everything from mules like the Chindits used in Burma to the flimsy Auster spotter plane that flew over the 7th’s 22nd Armoured Brigade on the D-Day beaches.

Visitors were also able to visit the first phase of the site’s new Desert Rats’ Museum.

 

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