Long Range Desert Group (LRDG)

A memorial to members of the Long Range Desert Group was unveiled in the west cloister of Westminster Abbey on 9th December 2013. The LRDG was formed in 1940 by Major Ralph Bagnold to act as the forward intelligence arm of the British army in North Africa, penetrating deep behind enemy lines in the Libyan desert. The small unit of men came from the British, New Zealand, Rhodesian and Indian armies. Later the Group shared their expertise in desert navigation with the fledgling SAS (Special Air Service) who from 1941 also carried out offensives in the desert. So the new memorial has been placed below that to the SAS (unveiled as part of the Combined Services Memorial in 1948). It was designed and executed by John Maine. The inscription reads:

THE LONG RANGE DESERT GROUP
MASTERS OF DESERT CRAFT

with their emblem of a scorpion. The stone is a reddish sand colour to imitate the desert, showing tracks across the landscape.

Further Reading

See also the entry for the Combined Services Memorial on this website

History Learning website

Long Range Desert Group

The film "Sea of Sand" 1958 depicts the exploits of the LRDG

"The Kiwi Scorpions. the story of the New Zealanders in the Long Range Desert Group" by Brendan O'Carroll, 2000

"Long Range Desert Group" by W.B. Kennedy Shaw, 1989 (reprint)

A further memorial by the same sculptor was unveiled at Doune in Stirling, Scotland

Memorial

9th December 2013

Occupation

Soldier

Location

Cloisters; West Cloister

Memorial Type

Tablet

Material Type

Stone

Long Range Desert Group (LRDG)
Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2022 Dean and Chapter of Westminster