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Last stand of the ‘Desert Rats’ association marked by flag ceremony

The Desert Rats

The last annual service and commemoration of the East Yorkshire Eight Army Veterans’ Associated was marked by an emotional flag ceremony.

Having once numbered more than 60, Chairman Francis Nunez, 90, said they were a close band of brothers that had been united by their wartime operations as the six remaining members of the Association laid up their flags after officially honouring their lost comrades. Nunez said:

“It is very sad to have to close the branch, but it is inevitable. We have had a wonderful time and have really enjoyed being together. Because of what we went through, we have a special bond.”

At the ceremony held at St Mary’s Church in Sculcoates Lane, north Hull, association member Joe Evans laid a wreath at the altar while Mr Nunez read out names of the 57 association members that had died.

The attending members were given support by the Royal Logistic Corps who assisted with laying up of the flags as none of the members was able to do it themselves. The flags are set to remain within the church as a lasting tribute to the war heroes.

Known as the “Desert Rats”, the Eighth Army veterans served in Africa during World War II, and were involved in the battle of El Alamein, which was the first major victory of the Allies and become appreciated as one of the decisive victories of the war.

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