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    United Kingdom - Union Flag - British 4th Armoured Brigade. The British 4th Armoured Brigade was originally formed in the deserts of North Africa just before the Second World War and fought in most of the major campaigns of the war. They were among the first units to enter the conflict and soon earned the name, "The Desert Rats." Their formation sign was originally a white circle inside a red square, but they began to deface them with a silhouette of the now famous jerboa; a hopping desert rodent common to North Africa or a "desert rat".

    After North Africa, the 4th Armoured Brigade served in Sicily during Operation Husky before being transferred to the Italian mainland. They were then sent to the United Kingdom to prepare for Operation Overlord, where the brigade's first tanks came ashore in Normandy on June 7, 1945. They fought in France and the low countries and participated in Operation Market Garden, linking up with US paratroopers in September of 1944. They remained in the Netherlands until 1945, when they crossed the Rhine, the first British formation to cross. They then advanced across Germany to Bremen until linking up with the Red Army near Hamburg. In its entire history the 4th Armoured Brigade spent less than six months in the United Kingdom.

    The Union Flag is a 3' X 5' machine sewn cotton flag finished with a cotton header with rings top and bottom hoist. The flag is well made, but not professionally made, indicating that it was likely a field expedient for use as a "camp flag" to mark the brigade's position. The flag is marked on the obverse hoist, "British Union Jack 1606 - 1801" and "Lt. Bath - Desert Rats (drawn image of a rat) Tobruk - 4th Armored Brig. - To Normandy." Help the Yanks" - Market Garden." Curiously, the flag is made in the style of the 1606 to 1801 Union Flag consisting of the crosses representing England and Scotland, omitting the counterchanged red cross representing Ireland. It is speculated that this historic variant was made to indicate that the brigade was comprised entirely of units from England and Scotland - no Irish or Commonwealth units.

    This flag represents a great opportunity for a collector of WWII artifacts from a unit that served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Normandy, the Low Countries, and finally Germany.

    As a wartime formation the 4th was variously re-designated: 4th Armoured Brigade, 4th Armoured Brigade Group, 4th Mechanized Brigade and finally 4th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters North East serving in the North African Campaign, the Invasion of Sicily, the Battle of Normandy and the North West Europe Campaign. The descendent unit in the British Army, the 4th Infantry Brigade and HQ North East still proudly wear the Black Rat (Jerboa) emblem.

    Condition: The flag is used, worn and soiled from use, but otherwise in good condition with only two minor tears.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 586

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