The Desert Rats Association
The Desert Rat
The Mark IV Cromwell Tank on the plinth is a replica of
"Little Audrey" 5 Able, "B" Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment
THE MAIN PLAQUE
7th ARMOURED DIVISION
FROM EL ALAMEIN TO BERLIN
NORTH AFRICA - ITALY - THETFORD FOREST - FRANCE -BELGIUM - HOLLAND
The 7th Armoured Division was stationed in Thetford Forest between January and May 1944 while they prepared for the invasion of Normandy. This was the only time the division was in the United Kingdom in it's entire Existence. The Division sailed from Felixstowe on the 5 June 1944 with the first tanks landing on Gold Beach on the evening of 6th June 1944
May your glory ever shine, May your laurels never fade, May the memory of this glorious pilgrimage of war you have made from Alamein, via the Baltic to Berlin never die. It is a march unsurpassed through all the story of war.
May the fathers long tell the children about this tale .
The Memorial and main plaque inaugurated on the 23rd October 1998 by Field Marshal Lord Carver is located on the A1065 two miles north of Mundford, Norfolk, England. The additional plaque commemorating the Desert Rats of the 4th & 7th Armoured Brigades from 1945 to 2003 was added to the plinth and inaugurated during the Open Day on the 27th June 2004 in the presence of Brigadier Adrian Bradshaw, commanding 7th Armoured Brigade, and other senior officers from both brigades.
The memorial is dedicated to all who served in the 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats), the 4th Armoured Brigade (The Black Rats) and the 7th Armoured Brigade (The Green Jerboa), throughout history.
It the 7th Armoured Brigade who are now the modern day Desert Rats, while the 4th Mechanized Brigade continues to wear the Black Rat, after since 2007, now worn by 4th Infantry Brigade since 2015. In 2015, the 7th Armoured Brigade was disbanded and the 7th Infantry Brigade created to still wear the Jerboa and carry on the traditions of the Desert Rats and the Desert Rats Association will continue to be associated with it.
Throughout its history the Division and the two Brigades not only consisted of Armoured units, but also Infantry, Artillery and Engineering units, plus other support units, all of whom are commemorated by this memorial.
Shoulder Flash of 4th Armoured Brigade
(1942 - 1948)
Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Division
(1938 - 1959)
Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Brigade
(1942 - 1946)
Badge of 7th Infantry Brigade
Badge of 4th Infantry Brigade
See the Commemoration here
This plaque was added in 2014 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landing and Campaign.
We are the Desert Rats Association (Registered No.
1063575 under the Charities Act of 1960) and are raising money to build a
new Memorial to the men and women of the Desert Rats from 1940 to the
modern day, who have served this country in war and peace.
The new memorial will acknowledge the history of
the Desert Rats using the insignia of the Desert Rat. A stylised
sculpture, with a mechanised quality and speaking of the predominance of
armour used, both light and heavy, whilst representing the Desert Rat’s
The Jerboa will be; 1.64m high, 0.4m wide and 1.5m
long, made of flame-cut laminated 30mm thick Corten steel, and left with a
rust red finish. This will be placed on a stone plinth, with the sides
sloping at 45º, echoing angles used in some of the armour on tanks and
vehicles. The Plinth will have
the sides carved with a sand motif with letters incised. We suggest
“DESERT RATS” in a sans serif
Roman script fading in and out of the pattern, which suggests movement
through time, space and sand. We would like to keep the memorial as simple
as possible but, if required, any further information can be added to a
bronze plaque at the front.
We will use the Patina and Rust that will
naturally occur, as the rust from the Desert Rat is likely to run and
stain the plinth. We propose that this should be made into a feature by
carving shallow channels in the plinth, which would create red tracks of
rust signifying the blood spilt and given for victory.
The memorials will be positioned in an oval area with two crescent
shaped mounds. In section, echoing the desert landscape of the sand dunes,
steeper on one side than the other, covered in turf.
The memorial from the Royal Military Academy
Sandhurst will be placed on the higher of the two mounds with the Rat on
its plinth in the centre between. There will be a flat area running
through the middle of the memorial ground. The Rat will be orientated
towards El Alamein, Egypt, pointing towards the origin of the 7th Armoured
The images show an artist’s impression of the
memorial and Maquette of the design we have chosen.
No matter how small or large your donation, it
will all go toward honouring the memory of the men who have worn and
continue to proudly wear the Jerboa badge of the Desert Rats and have
served this country for over 80 years.
The French drain around the base of the plinth, will be covered with CVR(T) track (to act as the drains grate). On some of the CVR(T) the track rubber will be removed and bronze plates will be added with sponsors names, donating associations or organisations, engraved on it.
Desert Rats Association
use this QR code
You can donate to this appeal by Paypal if you wish.
or contact our Treasurer to donate by other methods.
The story of the National Memorial Arboretum project can be found here.
Notice:- Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on Association activities.
Please be aware that although the Association is still planning to hold and/or attend many events in the coming months, that it will comply with UK Government instructions, regarding such events as necessary. This may necessitate cancellation of our attendance at other's events or those we normally host.
Memorial Open Day 2021.
Following a committee meeting last week, it has been decided that so we can have a full Memorial Day event (as in past years), this year's event is being moved to Sunday 11th July 2021.
The initial list of the planned events for 2021 (subject to Covid) and the known events can be seen here.
During the past few weeks, the Association has learnt of the passing of two of its members. It is therefore with great sadness that we announce the deaths of Ray Bebbingtion and Richard Heather, both of the Royal Tank Regiment,
After leaving school, Ray took an apprenticeship with Jaguar and became a fully qualified mechanic. Being ‘called up’ in 1951, he joined the Royal Tank Regiment. As a National Serviceman, he completed basic training in Catterick, ‘passing off’ as best recruit! His next move was to Bovington for trade training after which he was posted to 7 RTR in Hong Kong. He was the Troop Leaders driver on an A34 Comet tank. Ray loved his time in the Far East and spoke fondly of his exploits there! He was an all-round sportsman, who excelled at boxing.
The full obituary for Ray can be read here.
It is with regret that we announce the sad passing of Richard Heather on 29th May 2021. He was 96 and one of the original members of the Desert Rats Association. He passed away peacefully in Hospital.
The Association will miss both of these veterans greatly.
The association formed to look after the Memorial has no regular income and relies on donations which can be sent via our Treasurer, Ian Paterson, 21 Beech Grove, Little Oakley, Essex, CO12 5NN. Cheques should be made payable to Desert Rats Association.
Please click here to bookmark this page for future reference
Below are photographs of the Memorial Erected by the Division in Berlin 1945, that until recently stood in the grounds of the Staff College at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. It is now being refurbished as part of the National Arboretum Memorial Project.
Help support the Desert Rats Association
If you buy a copy of Patrick Delaforce's latest book Churchill's Desert Rats in North-West Europe via this website, we will benefit from the sale.
|Please search for 7Th Armoured Division Commemorative Fund from the search field. Please note the 7Th and not 7th|
The Memorial Site is on Trip Advisor now. Please give feedback if you visit the site.
Are you aware that you can join the Desert Rats Association if you and/or a relative, served in the 7th Armoured Division or 4th or 7th Armoured Brigades from 1938 to today.
Or you can pay on-line now, via the below link. You can either pay via your own PayPal account or by Credit/Debit Card.
Would you like to donate to the association
Please click on the button below. You can use your PayPal account or Credit/Debit card.
Desert Rat Merchandise for sale.
If you are interested in any Desert Rat memorabilia, we have a range of items for sale via our eBay account
Please click here to view it.
If you wish to buy direct please contract our Treasurer.
Desert Rat Museum.
If you wish to plan a visit to our museum, please go to the museum pages of this site.
|A Brief History of the Desert Rats and Memorial. (Now with video links)||Location of 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) Memorial|
|The Desert Rats Museum||Locations of the 7th Armoured Division and 4th Armoured Brigade before the invasion of Normandy|
|Open Days and Events||Take a Virtual Tour of the High Ash and Shakers Wood Camp Area|
|Latest Newsletters.||Tribute to the founder of 7th Armoured Division Memorial - Les Dinning|
|The History of the British 7th Armoured Division, plus the 4th and 7th Armoured Brigade, website|
|Contents of Web Site||Book Reviews|
|Contact Us||Where Are You Now?|
Visitors since 1st September 2006