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 their 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 -2007)

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Division

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Brigade (1942 -1946)

Shoulder Flash of 4th Armoured Brigade

(1942 - 2007)

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Division

(1938 - 1959)

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Brigade 

(1942 - 1946)

Badge of 7th Armoured Brigade

Badge of 7th Mechanized Brigade

Badge of 7th Armoured Brigade

Badge of 4th Mechanized Brigade

It is with great pleasure that the association can announce that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, has became our patron.

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

Professional Standard photographs of the commemoration are available for purchase from the memorial association. Please click here to view the proofs and to find out how to buy them

The association formed to look after the Memorial has no regular income and relies on donations which can be sent to our Treasurer, 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

 

Desert Rat Memorial Reunion Open Day - 15th June 2014

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, is on Sunday 15th June 2014. It will take place at the memorial site 2 miles north of Munford, Norfolk, at the Memorial at High Ash Camp on the A1065 between Munford and Swaffham, Norfolk.

Is a great family day out

Ample parking with facilities for the disabled

Service personnel from from the modern day, will also be in attendance.

Royal British Legion Standards.

The Mayors of Thetford and Swaffham will be in attendance along with other local dignitaries.

Memorial Association Stall (including food and drink).

Masses of other stalls.

Military and other Displays

 

The event is open from 10am to 4pm on the day. Entrance is 3.50 for anyone over 12 years of age, or free to Association Members on presentation of the Membership Card.

 

Wreath laying and service of Remembrance, at approx. 2pm, so anyone wishing to take part in the parade should arrive no later than 1pm, please.

 

This year is the 70th Anniversary of The Battle of Normandy and the memorial site was the only location where new Cromwell Tanks that equipped the Division were based. This year we are fortunate enough that a WW2 Cromwell Tank in Divisional Markings will be present and lead the parade to the memorial.

 

The 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) and 4th Armoured Brigades (The Black Rats) played a pivotal part in the battle for Normandy and subsequent breakout for the River Seine three months later. The first tanks of 22nd Armoured Brigade started to land late on 6th June (D-Day itself) with the rest of the Division starting their landings on 7th June 1944 on Gold beach, while the 4th Armoured Brigade started to land on Sword beach the same day. Less than a week later the 7th Armoured Division fought one of its most controversial actions at Villers-Bocage on 12th June and the Battle of the Brigade Box on 13th/14th June. Although the former action was a set back to the reputation of the Desert Rats, the latter action effectively halted two German Panzer Divisions from attacking the exposed left flank of the American forces from Omaha beach.

 

4th Armoured Brigade were later involved in the attacks towards Caen and in attempts take the infamous Hill 112, while 7th Armoured Division survived the worst of ill fated Operation Goodwood. Later both formations took part in the final breakout to the Seine, with the Black Rats helping to close the Falaise Pocket, with the Desert Rats breaking out further north.

 

More about the Normandy Landings and ensuing campaign can be found on the part of the website.

 

Please be with us to commemorate, meet the veterans and modern day Desert Rats. We owe our freedom to these men, so please help us make sure the know how we feel.

 

All enquires to Rod Scott 01359 270490.

 

NB. All Military Personnel are subject to operational and other commitments.

Association Meeting

The next Association meeting will be held on Tuesday 29th April 2014 at 10.00am in the Schoolroom, Forest headquarters, Santon Downham, Brandon, Suffolk.

Tina Scott

Secretary

 

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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

Help support the Memorial 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.

 

 

 

 

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