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 MAIN PLAQUE

7th ARMOURED DIVISION

DESERT RATS

FROM EL ALAMEIN TO BERLIN

Via

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 .

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.

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 Armoured Brigade

Badge of 4th Mechanized Brigade

Her Royal Highness was the guest of honour at the Commemorations for the 65th Anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein at the memorial on 24th October 2007.

It is with great pleasure we can announce that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has agreed to extend her patronage of the Desert Rats Association for a further 5 years.

The attention HRH has paid to her patronage in the past has been greatly appreciated by us all and especially the veterans, I have sent our grateful thanks.

Rod Scott, Chairman

23rd August 2010

See the Commemoration here

 

 

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 Armoured and 4th Mechanized (ex 4th Armoured) 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

 

During 2010 and 2011 the Chairman has applied to various organisations for funding to complete the creation of a museum area on our memorial site. Despite a good response, no funding was available in these austere times.

 

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. While 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 is asking all members and friends of the Desert Rat Association, plus any one elsewhere made wish to do so, if they can help by making a donation to make this possible. If anyone wishes to make a donation please contact the Treasurer or the Secretary.

 

Update: Our fund raising is progressing well and any more contributions will be most welcome. At present we are in the process of sourcing a suitable Nissen Hut and will update everyone as the project progresses. If anyone knows of a Nissen Hut we could have for free or purchase, for our museum. We can dismantle and remove professionally. If so please contact Rod Scott on 01359 270490.

 

 

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.

 

 

Mid Sussex District Council - Invitation to Military Parade

 

I am writing on behalf of the Chairman of Mid Sussex District Council, Councillor Gordon Marples, to invite the members of The Desert Rats Association to participate in a Military Parade on Saturday, 13th September 2014 through the town of Haywards Heath, to mark the historic granting of Freedom of Entry to Mid Sussex District to the Royal Yeomanry of the Army Reserve and also the signing of the Armed Forces Community Covenant between Mid Sussex District Council and the Armed Forces and ex-service community. 

These ceremonies coincide with Haywards Heathís Town Day, featuring many attractions, entertainment and activities including a funfair. We also have the televised Tour of Britain cycle race, passing through the town at around 12:30p.m. All this should ensure good crowds, a good atmosphere and an enjoyable, action-packed, family day.

If you are able to provide any estimate of numbers, and whether your Standard(s) will be attending, I would be grateful. I would also be grateful if you could advertise the Parade on your website, newsletter and with your branches and related organisations covering Mid Sussex. Full details are attached below but please feel free to contact me if you require any further information.

 

Details of the route can be found here.

We very much look forward to welcoming you to Haywards Heath on the day.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Kington
Senior Member Services Officer 
Legal Services
Mid Sussex District Council
01444 477111
danny.kington@midsussex.gov.uk

 

If any large group is planning to attend please let Mr Kington know, plus the Association Secretary.

 

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.

 

 


The association formed to look after the Memorial has no regular income and relies on donations which can be sent via our Secretary, Tina Scott, 8 Thurston Road, Beyton, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30 9AE. Telephone 01359 270490. 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.

 

Veteran's El Alamein Visit - October 2011

In October 2011, a small group of veterans accompanied by family and the Desert Rats Association Chairman, Mr. Rod Scott and his wife Tina, the Treasurer visited the El Alamein battlefield and the El Alamein War Cemetery. During the visit to the latter a wreath was laid on behalf of the Associations Patron, HRH. The Duchess of Cornwall, on 23rd October, the 69th Anniversary of the start of the battle.

To see some pictures of this trip please click here.

 

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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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