Anyone know why/how Monty came to wear them? I'm a Guernseyman, and have one of the traditional blues - but I could do with the story on the Desert Rats connection to furnish my armoury of pub trivia...
The Officers and Warrant Officers of 7 Armoured Brigade, known as 'The Desert Rats' are keeping out the winter chill on their operational tour to Iraq, by wrapping up in specially made 'Guernsey' sweaters.
It was the decision of the Commander of 7 Armoured Brigade, Brigadier Patrick Marriott, to commission a supply of the sweaters. The traditional fisherman's 'Guernsey', knitted with oiled wool, is renowned for its warmth and durability and is therefore ideal for winter conditions in Iraq. The military jumper is also linked back to the original item of clothing favoured by the Desert Rats in World War Two.
7 Armoured Brigade ordered three hundred sweaters from a company in Guernsey and these were sent out to Iraq in October. Each jumper has been hand-finished in a neutral colour and has the Desert Rat insignia sewn onto the left hand sleeve.
Members of 7 Armoured Brigade received the idea of the sweater with great enthusiasm. The Officer Commanding of 207 Signals Squadron, Major Andy Percival, was overwhelmed with the response and attributed this to the quality of the finished product. In addition, he noted:
"The 'Guernsey' fosters the Brigade Commander's philosophy that 'we are all of one Company' and instils our desert heritage into todayâs Officers and Warrant Officers."
Brigadier Patrick Marriott said:
"The Desert Rats earned their reputation in the North African desert during the Second World War. And the old and faded photographs of the Desert Rats in sandy wastes are still perhaps just about remembered. In many of the photographs, long forgotten officers and men can be seen in jerseys with a Red Rat on one sleeve. This tradition continues today some sixty odd years later and is special to the Desert Rats."
7 Armoured Brigade deployed to Iraq in October 2005 for a six month tour of duty as part of the Multi National Division (South East). It currently has 4,000 soldiers serving in the provinces of Al Basra, Maysaan and Al Muthanna.
Ta. Dunno - I wear em because theyre light and warm. In fact, might get one made in olive for CIC...
We had this story in the Guernsey Press over xmas leave - Piccies of the Offrs and WO's with cheesy grins. I reckon you'd have to go back to epaulettes for rank slides, or poss badges on the sleeves. But as I'm a private, and not in the aforementioned Cav brigade, my views on the matter may not hold quite as much weight as Brigadier Marriott's...
Ah, but in the time honoured Whitehall manner, the purchase and wearing of these sweaters is a coded message. You'll recall that the present CGS, when CinC, got so fed up with HQ LAND being a multi-coloured swap shop of funny jumpers, odd coloured trews and the like that he put the whole of the HQ into CS95? Well, heres a signal: POD's significance and the regard he is held in is lessening and the sandy sweaters are a subtle protest against the man. Keep your eyes peeled for 16AA* to all start sporting maroon jumpers (!), for HQ 2 Div to opt for the Arran look - albeit in a Lovat green - and for the REME to start spoting Fairisle sleeveless tops.
yeah some of them did strange do their officers compete to dress oddly ? Brown shoes deserts jumper 37 web belt polished brass bits . Thunderbird hat and some terrible complicated looking shoulder holster worn by one officer .Brought some great cook with them though.
You'll recall that the present CGS, when CinC, got so fed up with HQ LAND being a multi-coloured swap shop of funny jumpers, odd coloured trews and the like that he put the whole of the HQ into CS95? Well, heres a signal: POD's significance and the regard he is held in is lessening and the sandy sweaters are a subtle protest against the man