The clock is ticking down to pre-tour leave and then deployment to Afghanistan for the men and women of 7th Armoured Brigade. The Germany based "Desert Rats" have finished the majority of their training in the UK and are now back at home base in Bergen-Hohne Garrison. In the first of a series of reports building up to deployment, British Forces News joined one soldier for his final preparations.
From: | Feb 24, 2011 |
And my regular readers will know, I had to go look for information on Desert Rats:
The History of the British 7th Armoured Division
"The Desert Rats"
During the formal opening of the "Winston" Club, in Berlin, for the 7th Armoured Division Other Ranks, by Winston Churchill, his speech contained the following words;
"Soldiers of the 7th Armoured Division. I am delighted to be able to open this Club and I shall always consider it a great honour that it should be named after me.
I have, not of the first time, had the pleasure of seeing your troops march past, and this brings back to my mind the great many moving incidents in these last, long fierce years.
Now, here in Berlin, I find you all established in this great centre, from which, as from a volcano, fire and smoke and poison fumes have erupted all over Europe twice in a generation. And in bygone times also German fury has been let loose on her neighbours, and now it is we who have our place in the occupation of this country.
I feel that I can go far as to ask Field Marshal Montgomery to signalise this happy event of the Great Victory Parade we have has today by giving a whole holiday to all troops in Berlin and I hope, Field Marshal, that you can accommodate this to operational and other necessities.
Now I have only a word more to say about the Desert Rats. They were the first to begin. The 11th Hussars were in action in the desert in 1940 and ever since you have kept marching steadily forward on the long road to victory. Through so many countries and changing scenes you have fought your way.
It is not without emotion that I can express to you what I feel about the Desert Rats.
Dear Desert Rats! May your glory ever shine! May your laurels never fade! May the memory of this glorious pilgrimage of war which you have made from Alamein, via the Baltic to Berlin never die!...
There is more of Churchill's speech here, [http://www.btinternet.com/~ian.a.paterson/churchillsspeech.html ]
and lots of other great information here.[http://www.btinternet.com/~ian.a.paterson/main.html] (Yes, tech issues over here.)
Don't expect to find this on any front page of the msm, but go spend some time at the links and learn about these amazing heroes.