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  #1  
Old 11-08-20, 03:33 PM
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Default Desert Rat 1941

I think it is worth to share this as it could help dating 7th Armoured Div desert rat. Very simply made with felt glued on drap, the reverse is marked :

"original desert rat badge from Jackie Swanson, Greenock. Scotland. Given to Jane Kilby 1941"

Normandie18
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  #2  
Old 12-08-20, 02:01 AM
lettman lettman is offline
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Interesting. The 1941 date doesn't tally with the information about this particular patch in Jon Mills' book, p.458. He says it first appeared on uniforms in the summer of 1943. Either the inscription on the back was made in retrospect and got the date wrong, or it's a new piece of evidence for an earlier use of the patch. My money's on the former explanation, but who knows?
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Old 12-08-20, 03:07 AM
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I am definitely no expert, but the writing on the back looks as if it was done with a ball point pen? Did they have such pens in the war years of the 40's?

I mention this because when I first started collecting I fell sucker to buying a French flag from 1914....because it had 1914 written on it in ball point pen! Found out much later it was a do-up!

Live and learn!

Terry
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  #4  
Old 12-08-20, 05:21 AM
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Biro patented his pen in the 1930's though the ball point had been attempted before (I still habitually refer to a ballpoint pen as a "Biro" tho nobody nowadays seems to know what I mean).
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  #5  
Old 12-08-20, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lettman View Post
Interesting. The 1941 date doesn't tally with the information about this particular patch in Jon Mills' book, p.458. He says it first appeared on uniforms in the summer of 1943. Either the inscription on the back was made in retrospect and got the date wrong, or it's a new piece of evidence for an earlier use of the patch. My money's on the former explanation, but who knows?
You are right Lettman, the writing is not an irrefutable evidence, but may be an hint for further research...
Normandie18
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  #6  
Old 12-08-20, 09:25 AM
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"The shoulder flash was designed by the wife of his successor, Major-General Michael O'Moore Creagh, using a jerboa from Cairo Zoo as a model. The resulting shoulder patches were made of scarlet thread. These were unofficial; the War Office did not adopt the flashes until the summer of 1943 and then redesigned them to look, in the opinion of Leakey, more like a kangaroo than a jerboa. The colour was also changed to black."


From :
Rea Leakey, Leakey’s Luck, paperback edition 2002, pp 23–25n; photographs of original and redesigned flashes between pp. 102–103.


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  #7  
Old 12-08-20, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_vee View Post
"The shoulder flash was designed by the wife of his successor, Major-General Michael O'Moore Creagh, using a jerboa from Cairo Zoo as a model. The resulting shoulder patches were made of scarlet thread. These were unofficial; the War Office did not adopt the flashes until the summer of 1943 and then redesigned them to look, in the opinion of Leakey, more like a kangaroo than a jerboa. The colour was also changed to black."


From :
Rea Leakey, Leakey’s Luck, paperback edition 2002, pp 23–25n; photographs of original and redesigned flashes between pp. 102–103.


.
Are you able to post copies of the photos of the original and redesigned insignia? The quote is interesting, but I'm wary about a couple of points it makes, and would like to see the photos, and also to find out the date when it was designed.
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  #8  
Old 12-08-20, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lettman View Post
Are you able to post copies of the photos of the original and redesigned insignia? The quote is interesting, but I'm wary about a couple of points it makes, and would like to see the photos, and also to find out the date when it was designed.
Sorry , I don't have the book I just found the info online.

Edit:

The IWM basically has the same story ;
"The original badge is said to have been designed by the wife of Sir Michael O'Moore Creagh, who commanded from December 1939. The original design was a jerboa ("desert rat") in either red or, according to some reports, 'pink', on a white or buff circle on a red square. The second version may have been adopted as late as 1943 when the Division was in the Tripoli area. In this version the jerboa was a distinct red colour and embroidered directly onto battledress material. "


But the Desert Rats website has a slight variation:
"explains how of General Creagh (the Divisional commander) saw a young local boy with Jerboa in his pocket. He then traced the shape of a Jerboa in the sand using stones. Later a picture was produced for a design of desert rat which was approved by the officers and men of the Division and this was then drawn up by Trooper Ken Hill of RTR. The first six badges were produced by Nurses and distributed among the men of Divisional HQ."

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Last edited by mike_vee; 12-08-20 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Added info
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  #9  
Old 12-08-20, 12:14 PM
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What jars for me is the use of the word 'original' in the description. It is redundant unless the writer of the description is trying to prove a point. Surely, a "Desert Rat badge from Jackie Swanson, Greenock, Scotland, Given to Jane. Killed 1941", would suffice?
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  #10  
Old 12-08-20, 03:44 PM
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Not a exact match to any variant I remember seeing
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  #11  
Old 12-08-20, 08:08 PM
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The note looks like it’s seen more action than the patch itself and is very mucky and faded yet the front of the patch looks in good nick and relatively pristine by comparison.

I’d also agree with Simon’s point on the wording ‘original’. A bit of suggestive thinking perhaps? ‘the actual’ or ‘his own’ etc. would seem the more logical phrase.
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  #12  
Old 13-08-20, 12:12 AM
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There's also the problem that the flash in post #1 is more or less of the pattern worn in 1943, and not embroidered or in red thread as described in the passages quoted by mike_vee. I still think it's a simple case of a 1943 patch misattributed to an earlier date, and probably with no 'malice aforethought'.
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  #13  
Old 13-08-20, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lettman View Post
There's also the problem that the flash in post #1 is more or less of the pattern worn in 1943, and not embroidered or in red thread as described in the passages quoted by mike_vee. I still think it's a simple case of a 1943 patch misattributed to an earlier date, and probably with no 'malice aforethought'.
I think that it is certainly possible that Jane may have given the badge to someone who collected badges and, that it was he who wrote the description.
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  #14  
Old 13-08-20, 11:30 AM
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The 7th Armoured divisional history says that the first formation sign was adopted in North Africa in 1943 and was the red rat on khaki. At the time the Middle East Forces order on formation signs specified that the sign should be the same shape as the shoulder strap ie narrower at the top but round versions also appeared as the examples show. The sign was worn by the division in Italy.

When the division returned to Britain the new badge was ordered with a black backing and the "kangaroo" rat. This continued to be worn well into the 1950s, several examples made in Germany.

The other mystery concerning the Divisional sign is the red rat within a red circle which followed the design of the divisional vehicle marking but as far as I have been able to establish this was never worn by the division on uniform although it has been suggested that it may have been worn on the tropical helmet. Several variations exist.

The only example of the early rat on uniform so far noted appears in the history of the 4th South African Armoured Car Regiment which records that on leaving 7th Armoured Division - with which it had served between July 1941 and December 1942 - it ‘was awarded the highest distinction the division could bestow, that of wearing its proud insignia – the Jerboa – the Desert Rat’. The regiment’s commanding officer is pictured in the history wearing it on his service dress.

Jon
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 7 Armd Div early on KD SO ST.jpg (78.9 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg 7 Armd Div on so CY.jpg (88.0 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg 7 Armd on KD SO AR.jpg (95.8 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg 7 Armd 3 robin.jpg (70.9 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg 7th Armd Div 1st AR.jpg (100.4 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg 7th Armd 1st patt Lt Col Reeves Moors 4 SA AC Regt.jpg (90.7 KB, 24 views)
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  #15  
Old 13-08-20, 10:20 PM
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Thanks for everyone inputs, great information Jon !
Thanks Mike_vee for the interesting version from the Desert Rats website.
I must admit I have never worried about the originality of my badge in post #1 and this for 3 simple reasons :
-the badge came from a lot with only original cloth badges as you can see below
-theses cloth badges didn't come from a dealer or a collector
-and the price paid for them was shamefully low (about £14)....
But the date written at the back could be therefore an error..."errare humanum est"...
Regards
normandie18

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