Rod decides it’s time to demob as Desert Rats’ Association chairman

At last year's Desert Rats reunion, Lt Col James Senior of the Light Dragoons presented Rod Scott with a Challenger tank sculpture to mark his 15 years ANL-150621-235751009

At last year's Desert Rats reunion, Lt Col James Senior of the Light Dragoons presented Rod Scott with a Challenger tank sculpture to mark his 15 years ANL-150621-235751009

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Responsibility for the Desert Rats Association was yesterday handed over to the Army as its chairman stepped down after 15 years.

Rod Scott, from Beyton, and his wife Tina, have run the association since he took over from its founder chairman Les Dinning.

The Desert Rats Association is signed over to the Army by, from the left, Bill Wells, John Priestly, Major Simon Copley-Smith (new Chairman), Tina and Rod Scott, Nikki Russell (Forestry Commission), Capt Lee Davison (new secretary), original Desert Rat Capt Rtd Albert Pond , aged 93, Ian Paterson  and Alan Kempton ANL-160219-155242001

The Desert Rats Association is signed over to the Army by, from the left, Bill Wells, John Priestly, Major Simon Copley-Smith (new Chairman), Tina and Rod Scott, Nikki Russell (Forestry Commission), Capt Lee Davison (new secretary), original Desert Rat Capt Rtd Albert Pond , aged 93, Ian Paterson and Alan Kempton ANL-160219-155242001

In that time he has organised annual reunion events at the Desert Rats’ tank memorial at High Ash, where the unit was based before it departed for D-Day in 1944.

Rod decided it was time to hand the organisation over to the Army. The Desert Rats, with their red jerboa emblem, were formed in North Africa in World War Two and still exist as the 7th Infantry Brigade, which includes the Royal Anglians.

Rod said: “I was 70 the week before last and I said it was time we had some time to ourselves. There are things we want to do now, before we get too decrepid.

“It’s time to stop. We’re down to about 60 of the original veterans – there would have been about 5,000 when it was formed.

“It’s best for the Army to deal with the Army.”

The original Desert Rats, who pushed Rommel out of north Africa, are now in their 90s and the oldest is 104.

Rod’s father went to Normandy with them, but Tina’s grandfather served in north Africa in the Royal Engineers from 1938, going with the Desert Rats to Italy and Normandy.

But Rod is not completely giving up involvement . A keen militaria collector himself, he will remain involved with the project to create a Desert Rats museum in two World War Two Nissen huts at High Ash.

He has also been proposed as a vice president of the association, whose patron is the Duchess of Cornwall abd president is General Sir Adrian Bradshaw.