Desert Rarity

In 1977 the late Jordanian King Hussein ordered the establishment of a national memorial to the many soldiers that have fallen in the line of duty since the Arab revolt of 1916-1919.

The displays in this Martyrs Memorial begin with the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, the “Arab Legion” under John Bagot Glubb and the battles against Israel from 1948 onwards. The museum does not cover everything in detail, but is nominally a memorial to the fallen soldiers and a reminder of their contribution to the shaping of modem day Jordan.

Next to an Alvis Saladin you will find a Marmon Herrington Mk IV armoured car, which has been placed as a gate guardian at the entrance of the memorial, and beside the fact that such armoured cars are currently quite a rarity, this one is rarer still having been modified to mount a 6-pounder gun instead of the more usual 2-pounder generally fitted to this vehicle.

The South African made Marmon Herrington Mk IV was a design completely different from the company’s previous models and entered service in 1943. Unlike the older Mk I, Mk II and Mk III it had a monocoque hull instead of a separate chassis and hull. It was too late for that model to participate in the fight against the Axis forces in North Africa so they were issued to the Arab Legion of Jordan in large numbers instead.

In 1950 the Jordanian Army rearmed an unknown number of Mk IVs, replacing the original 2-pounder gun with 6-pounder taken from field carriages. When the 6-pounder gun was mounted into the two-man turret it was found the original mounting could not stand the stress and an artillery mounting had to be fitted in its place. Early conversions saw the new gun being placed within the original turret, but later examples had a new armoured extension on the front face of the existing turret to cover the gun, which was now placed on the outer face of the old turret with a large aperture for the breech. The example on display at Amman’s Martyrs Memorial is the only currently known of this version of the 6-pounder Mk IV.

The Martyrs Memorial at Amman is located on a hill within the grounds of the Sports City and opening times are Saturday to Thursday between 9.00am and 4.00pm. The Authors website can be found at: www.desertstories.org

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