Shoulder Flash (Right)  The Desert Rats Association     Shoulder Flash (Left)


Making sure our history is not a thing of the past


The Desert Rat Memorial
Thetford Forest 

The Mark IV Cromwell Tank on the plinth is a replica of

"Little Audrey" 5 Able, "B" Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment







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 .

Winston Churchill

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

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Division

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Brigade

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 Armoured Brigade

Badge of 4th Mechanized Brigade

Badge of 7th Infantry Brigade

Badge of 4th Infantry Brigade


The President and Chairman, the Committee and the Trustees of The Desert Rats Association are delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has kindly agreed to extend her patronage of our association for a further five years.

Rod Scott, Chairman

13th August 2015

See the Commemoration here

This plaque was added in 2014 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landing and Campaign.


Special Announcement


To reflect that alas the number of original Desert Rats is getting less as each year passes and to so recognise and support those who have worn the Desert Rat and Black Rat badges since World War Two, in the modern day 7th Infantry (ex 7th Armoured) Brigade and 4th Infantry (ex 4th Armoured and later 4th Mechanised) Brigade the Association has changed its name to the Desert Rats Association. The design of the association website will be gradually updated to reflect this change.



Museum Appeal


Good news! The Association is now the proud owner of a second hand Nissen Hut. It is being refurbished before construction of it can commence. This will allow the creation of the planned museum area on our memorial site, to become a reality.


We can now announce that planning permission for the museum has been granted, so work on the construction can commence soon.


However, the Association does need to raise funds to erect a new fence and additional Nissen hut, to complete the creation of a Desert Rat Museum. The existing hut will continue to show living conditions for the men stationed there before Normandy in 1944, the second hut will be an educational centre for schools, military units and all interested parties, with a wealth of artifacts professionally displayed.


This is an artists impression of the Museum area, which will include a light Refreshment area and will make a first class addition to the Norfolk museum trail.


Artists impression.


Therefore, the committee would like to thank all those who kindly made donation, towards this this project. If anyone still wishes to make a donation please contact the Treasurer.


Here is a photograph of the museum site under development.



Publication of new books


The association has recently been made aware of three new publication related to the Desert Rats. The details of these and the review can be found on the History Page of our site in the books section.



D-Day veterans to be awarded the Legion díHonneur

In conjunction with events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, the government of France has advised the Ministry of Defence that it wishes to award the Legion díHonneur to all surviving veterans. Please go to the MoD site to download the application form.


Hopefully, the French Government will one day extend this award to all those who now lie in cemeteries in France and to those veterans who survived the war and are now no longer with us.



Trip Advisor

The Memorial Site is on Trip Advisor now. Please give feedback if you visit the site.




7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East Foundation Parade

On 30th July 2015 Veterans and Members of the Association attended the Parade to commemorate the Operational readiness of 7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East (The Desert Rats) who in the modern Army continue the heritage of the Desert Rats. Photographs of the event are available here



Why not join the association?

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, 

Please note most service personnel now serving in the British armed forces serve as a Red or Black Rats including of course 7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East or 4th Infantry Brigade and HQ North East can also join.

If you would like to join please contact our Member Secretary.

Association Changeover date.

The change over meeting for the management of the association and memorial was held on 18th  February 2016, at 10 am, at 8 Thurston road, Beyton, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30 9AE. As of this date the new Chairman is Major Simon Copley-Smith and the new Secretary is Captain Lee Davison. All other committee members remain the same.

The Association would very much like to thank both Rod and Tina Scott for all their work in support of the Association, the Memorial and the Museum over the past 15 years. Rod Scott will continue to serve the Association as its Vice President. Information regarding the new organisation will be published as soon as possible after the meeting.

Re-opening of High Ash.

We are pleased to announce that the Forestry commission has re-opened the woodland around the Memorial following the completion of urgent tree felling.

Open Day 2016.

Desert Rat Memorial Reunion Open Day - 19th June 2016

This year's open day and reunion for all Desert Rats past and present from the 7th Armoured Division, and from the 4th and 7th Armoured Brigades, will be held on Sunday 19th June 2016. More details of the event will be added as soon as they become available.

Annual General Meeting 2016

The next Association meeting will be held on Tuesday 26th April 2016 at 11.00am in the Schoolroom, Forest headquarters, Santon Downham, Brandon, Suffolk. The School Room will be available from 10.00 hrs.

Please advise the Secretary if you will be attending?



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 The 7th Armoured Division Memorial Fund.

Please click here to bookmark this page for future reference

Below are photographs of the Memorial Erected by the Division in Berlin 1945, that now stands in the grounds of the Staff College at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

By kind permission of the RMA Sandhurst

By kind permission of the RMA Sandhurst


Help support the Desert Rats Association

If you buy a copy of this book via this link the Memorial Association will receive 12% commission from the sale. 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.


The Memorial Site is on Trip Advisor now. Please give feedback if you visit the site.






A Brief History of the Desert Rats and Memorial. (Now with video links)

Location of 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) Memorial

Latest Newsletters.

Open Days and Events

Where Are You Now?

Locations of the 7th Armoured Division and 4th Armoured Brigade before the invasion of Normandy

Take a Virtual Tour of the High Ash and Shakers Wood Camp Area  

Contents of Web Site

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

Contact Us


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