By Bad Seed
British Newsreel. March 4, 1940.The elements of what would become the 7th Armoured Division arrived in the Middle East in 1938 to increase British strength in Egypt.The 'Mobile Force' was established on the coast some 120 miles west of Alexandria. It was formed from the Cairo Cavalry Brigade (three armoured regiments, the 7th, 8th and 11th Hussars) and the 1st Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) supported by 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and a company of Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) and a Field Ambulance unit. It was joined by a battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and then its first commander, Major-General Percy Hobart.Hobart was an armoured warfare expert and saw that his troops were properly prepared to fight in the desert despite their poor equipment.In December 1939, Major-General Sir Michael O'Moore Creagh succeeded Hobart who had fallen afoul of his superiors.The unit was meant to be equipped with 220 tanks. However, at the outbreak of war the 'Mobile Force' had only 65. Most of the unit's troops had already been deployed for 2 years by 1940 and it took as long as three months for mail to arrive.On 16 February 1940, the Mobile Division became the 7th Armoured Division. The Desert Rat divisional flash was adopted about the same time. It originated from a sketch of a jerboa drawn by the divisional commander's wife after a visit to the Cairo Zoo.