El Alamein Recalled by 1,000 Desert Rats; Bitter Battle: Sons of War Heroes Mark Key Event in British History

Article excerpt

The sons of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery and Field Marshall Erwin Rommel stood side by side yesterday at a moving service of remembrance marking the 60th anniversary of the bloody desert battle that changed the course of history.

More than 1,000 Desert Rat veterans of the Battle of El Alamein paid their respects to those of the Eighth Army who died during the bitter 12-day conflict in the autumn of 1942, at a ceremony held in Westminster Abbey.

Members of the Royal Family, including the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal, joined Viscount Montgomery of Alamein and Dr Manfred Rommel at the hour-long service during which the men each read a lesson.

Addressing the congregation, the Very Reverend Dr Wesley Carr, Dean of Westminster, said: 'I am standing where my predecessor stood on the fiftieth anniversary of the remembrance of the Battle of El Alamein - between the memorial to Sir Winston Churchill and the grave of the Unknown Warrior.

'Because that battle proved a turning point in the Second World War, it embodies for us today the role of the Allied Ground forces in ending the Nazi tyranny. …