Sun shines on Desert Rats reunion

Desert Rats reunion day at the memorial near Ickburgh.
Desert Rats reunion day at the memorial near Ickburgh.

Stories were shared and old friendships renewed last weekend as the Desert Rats stood to attention for yet another year.

The sun shone on veterans of the 7th Armoured Tank Division as they met at their old station near Ickburgh in Thetford Forest for a day of nostalgia.

Desert Rats reunion day at the memorial near Ickburgh.

Desert Rats reunion day at the memorial near Ickburgh.

Tales of the Rats’ legendary travails in North Africa, Italy and beyond were shared, while a service remembered those since passed.

Lieutenant General Adrian Bradshaw, commander of the UK’s Land Forces, inspected the troops and was treated to a marching performance from the Winterton Marines Cadet Band.

The oldest of the rats to attend was 95-year-old Len Burritt, who travelled from Berkshire to meet up with old friends.

Rod Scott, chairman of the Desert Rats Association, said the sight of the reunited veterans was an emotional one.

Desert Rats reunion day at the memorial near Ickburgh.

Desert Rats reunion day at the memorial near Ickburgh.

“Seeing them back together is such a delight and it means so much to them all.

“One chap said seeing everyone took 10 years off him and the veterans are so pleased we took it on,” he said.

While celebrating the contribution of the first Desert Rats, Mr Scott said there was also an appreciation of the ongoing place of desert warfare.

“Nowadays, every man serving becomes a Desert Rat, what with serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“To be a Desert Rat is something they are mighty proud of,” he said.