Taxi Charity Attends the Unveiling of Desert Rats Memorial

On 23 October Taxi Charity volunteers were delighted to attend the dedication and unveiling of a Desert Rats monument at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The Taxi Charity was delighted to accept an invitation from Lt Col S P Copley-Smith, Chair of the Desert Rats Association   to attend the dedication and unveiling of  a powerful Desert Rats monument at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, on 23 October, the 80thanniversary of the second battle of El Alamein.

Taxi Charity volunteers Brian Heffernan and Dean Euesden collected six Chelsea Pensioners from the Royal Hospital on Saturday 22 October and drove them to Lichfield for an overnight stay at Whittington Barracks. They were joined at the service the following day by Taxi Charity Vice Presidents, Frances Wyhowska and Dick Goodwin and charity volunteer Michael Calvey.

The new memorial was unveiled on 23 October, the 80thanniversary of the second battle of El Alamein and commemorates the  British Army 7th Armoured Division which saw distinguished active service during WWII in the western desert campaign  gaining it the Desert Rats nickname.

After the service, guests enjoyed a buffet lunch and listened to an excellent speech from guest of honour General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB, OBE, DL, Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Brian Heffernan, London taxi Driver and Chairman of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans said, “Dean and I  picked up Chelsea Pensioners, Arthur, Ted, John, Andy, Albert and Mick from the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Saturday and  had a fantastic 36 hours together attending the unveiling of the beautiful memorial to the Desert Rats at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. We stayed at the Whittington Barracks and would like to thank our hosts for their hospitality. It was truly a privilege to attend the dedication and unveiling.”

Frances Wyhowska, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans said, “It was an honour to attend the unveiling of the imposing Desert Rats Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum with six Chelsea in-Pensioners on the anniversary of the second Battle of El Alamein. The service was fittingly dignified and the monument is an impressive tribute to all those who bear the Desert Rats’ insignia, past and present.”

To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers to veterans or to donate  visit

About the Desert Rats

The  British Army 7th Armoured Division saw distinguished active service during WWII, where its exploits in the western desert campaign  gained it the Desert Rats nickname. The 7th Armoured Division took part in most of the major battles of the North Africa Campaign including both battles of El Alamein  the first,  in July 1942, which stopped the Axis   advance, and then in October/November 1942, which turned the tide of the war in North Africa.


About the National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial arboretum is a 150-acre visitor space to celebrate lives lived and commemorate lives lost on the edge of the National Forest in Staffordshire.


About the Taxi Charity

The Taxi Charity is run by volunteer London black taxi drivers and has been supporting thousands of veterans of all ages since 1948. The charity arranges free trips to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or fundraising events across the UK, to catch up with friends and comrades.

The charity was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in June 2021.

In 2023 the charity will be celebrating its 75th anniversary.

To fund and facilitate their work, the charity is reliant on donations, grants and sponsorship.