7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats) Thetford Forest Memorial Association



January 2010

Lieutenant General Sir Anthony Mullens KCB. OBE.
It is with great sadness that I have to start the first newsletter of the New Year with the news that our Associations President Lieutenant General Sir Anthony Mullens died on Friday November 27th 2009. 

General Mullens passed away in hospital after a short illness. General Mullens Family held a private Funeral.

General Mullens will be missed greatly by all of us associated with him and his involvement with the association.

I would like to apologize for the problems with the mailing of the last newsletter, it would seem that the envelopes I have used for the last 10 years are suddenly too big. Resulting in some of you having to pay extra postage on receipt of your letter. However this was not the situation with everyone, so why some of you were charged and some not, I cannot explain. I do wonder if it had something to do with post office work to rule and strikes taking place at the time. I now have purchased smaller envelopes, so let's hope that solves the problem.

2009 was a good year for the association open day was the most profitable to date. The Orwell Park reunion v/as held on a beautiful September day and as usual we were treated to an remarkable concert by the children and staff. The remembrance service in November was also very well attended. 


At this time I only have a few dates for your diary.
Open day this year v/ill be on Sunday 20th June.
Remembrance day service will be on Sunday 14th November at 2.00pm.
The Next association Meeting will be held at 10.00am on Tuesday 23rd February 2010, at The schoolroom,
Forest center Headquarters, Santon Downham , Suffolk.
The date for the AGM will be announced after this meeting.

Although the date for the Orwell Park Reunion was stated on the back of the program, this date is most likely to change. We will let you know as soon as we hear.


As usual we are looking for all the help you can offer us in support of open day, just an. hour of your time would be invaluable. We are as always on the lookout for any new stalls or sideshows, as long as they fit our theme, we would be interested if anyone had ideas that could include children.

With the New Year comes the annual reminder that membership fees are now due. Please send all remittance to the treasurer, Mrs. T Scott, S Thurston Road, Beyton, Bury-St-Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30-9AE.

Membership is still 10.00.


As ever, I am fall of great intentions for the New year. my list of resolutions is as long as my arm. However, I also know that the likelihood that 1 will accomplish more than one is remote.

I would like on behalf of the Chairman, and committee to wish you all a very happy and safe new year.

We look forward to seeing you all at the events throughout the year.


Patrica Raburn


March 2010


As I sit writing this news letter the sun is shining outside, dare I hope this long winter is over at last?


Major General A. J. Bradshaw CB. OBE. has gratefully accepted the invitation offered by Mr. Scott to become the new president of the association. Major General Bradshaw is still serving, but we look forward to him joining us as and when time allows.


I am sorry to say but we still do not have a date for the Orwell Park reunion, and it looks like it will be June before we do. As soon as the date is confirmed we will let you know.


In an attempt to cut postage costs for the association, we are asking if you have an e-mail address, and would not mind receiving information, newsletters from the association via that route, could you please send your e-mail address to the secretary via the link on the contact us page. I can assure you that your information will not be used or passed to anyone other than myself and the treasurer for official association use.


Preparations for Open Day Sunday June 20th are well in hand, as usual we are looking for any donations of time, items for the tombola (must be new) and cakes for the hospitality stand. These can be brought along on the day.


Car parking permits for members will be mailed early June.


I have had a request from Mr. John Cotton who used to serve with the 131st Queens Brigade John is looking for any old friends or members of this unit that remember him or members that would just like to contact him for old time's sake. If you remember John or wish to contact him please send your information to me the secretary and I in turn will pass it on to him. The AGM will be held on Tuesday 27th April 2010 at the Schoolroom, Forest Center, Santon Downham, Nr Brandon, Suffolk. As usual we will be serving a light lunch after the meeting, if you are planning to attend could you please inform the (SECERTARY) by the 15th April, to allow the correct numbers to be catered for.


Patrica Raburn



July 2010


What a lovely summer we seem to be having so far, particularly here in East Anglia, let's hope the nice weather stays nice for the rest of the summer.

Open day was a huge success this year and we are excited to inform you that we made a profit just over 1,200.00 our best ever return for the event. Even though attendance was down on last year, and the fact that there were several other events taking place in surrounding villages. We cannot thank all the people who helped out on the day enough. The chairman and president of the association will be writing to them all personally to say thank you. The date for next year's open day will be announced at the next association meeting. (Date below)

The Orwell Park reunion will take place this year on Tuesday 23rd November, invitations will be sent to all paid up members from the school. Please note that the invitations for this event are not issued by the association. The invitation will be for you, the association member and one guest, uninvited extended family members/ friends will not be able to attend this year, and will be refused entry, as entry will be by invitation only, which you must bring with you.

From time to time we are asked if we can to pass on information on new books. In the posted newsletter you will have found enclosed leaflets for a new publication by Patrick Delaforce entitled Churchill's Desert Rats in North-West Europe (from Normandy to Berlin). More information relating to this book can also be found on our home page.

The next association meet will be held at 10.00am on MONDAY 13th September 2010, in the School Room, Forest center, Santon Downham, Brandon, Suffolk. Please note the change in day to Monday due to circumstances beyond our control we were unable to book a Tuesday until November.

Please remember that we will be holding the annual Remembrance Service at the memorial on Sunday November 14th at 2.00pm , Anyone wishing to lay a wreath during this service please let us know on arrival, so that you can be included. There will also be members of the committee present at the memorial at 11.00am as we get several people wishing to pay their respects at that time.

I will like a lot of others will be taking some time off during August to enjoy some holiday time, so I hope you all have a wonderful summer, and we look forward to seeing you all soon


Patrica Raburn


September 2010


The treasurer has asked me to inform you, that some members have not paid their membership fees for this year. If you have a red star at the bottom of the newsletter, you received by post, this is to show that your fees are outstanding. If this applies to you, could you please contact the treasurer Mrs. Tina Scott on telephone no 01359-270490 as soon as possible. If your fees are not current this may lead to you missing the Orwell park reunion this year.


Please do not contact the Secretary regarding this matter as I will be unavailable till mid October. And this could only lead to further delay. As there has been some confusion as to when fees are due I would like to remind all members that fees are due in January. If you join the association in November-December then you would not pay until the following January (example Joining November /December 2010 you would not pay until January 2012.) As I informed you in the last Newsletter the Orwell Park Reunion this year is to be held on Tuesday 23rd November. The Invitations will be sent out by the school in October. To be admitted to the school you will need to bring your invitation and your current association membership card. As we will have a VIP guest in attendance at this reunion, all members attending are asked to arrive no later than 10-00am and to be seated by 10-30am. Late arrivals could run the risk of not been admitted. Although under cover, the first part of this day is to take place outside, so it is vital that you dress accordingly. Been a regular School day the event this year has been scaled back, and we have being asked to keep the number of people attending to a minimum, therefore keeping disruption to pupils and classes to a minimum. We remind you again that your guest must be someone such as a driver or career. No extra family members or friends will be admitted, under any circumstances. If you have any queries about the day please contact our Chairman Mr. Rod Scott on 01359-270490.


I understand that due to the time of year, and the early start of the event, some of you may wish to travel to the area the day before, so I have included a list of local hotels for anyone wishing to do so. Individuals attending the reunion are responsible for making their own travel and hotel arrangements. Just to remind you we will be holding the annual Remembrance Service at the memorial on Sunday November 14th at 2.00pm, anyone wishing to lay a wreath during this service please let us know on arrival, so that you can be included. There will also be members of the committee present at the memorial at 11.00am as we get several people wishing to pay their respects at that time. The date of the next association meeting is yet to be announced and will be included in the January newsletter.


Patrica Raburn


List of hotels in Ipswich Area

Please be aware that this list is information only intended to help you, we are not recommending any hotel, and all prices are subject to change to seasonal rates. Individuals are responsible for booking their own accommodation; the association cannot book hotel rooms on your behalf. I have tried to keep within easy reach of the A14.


Novotel: Greyfriars Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, Telephone 01473 232400

Rates start at 34.00 limited disabled access.


Holiday Inn: The Havens, Ransoms Europark. Ipswich. Just off Junction 54 of the A14 and only 5 minutes from Orwell, rates start at 56.00 per night. Does have limited ground floor disabled rooms. Telephone 01473-272244. 


Best Western Claydon House Hotel: 18-20 Ipswich Road Claydon, Just off of the A14 and only 15-20 minutes from Orwell. Telephone 01473-830382. Limited wheelchair access, Rates start at 79.00.


Grove House Hotel, Grove Road, Woodbridge, 01394-382202 .Rates from 55-70. Small hotel limited access. 


The Gatehouse: 799 Old Norwich Road, Ipswich IP1-6LH, Telephone 01473-741897, have ground floor rooms which are wheelchair accessible. Rates from 79.00.


Ramada Encore: Ranelegh Road lpswich,IP2-OAD, Telephone 01473-694600, rates start from 42.00. 


The Brook Hotel, Felixstowe, Telephone 01394- 278441.Close to A14, rates start from 48.00. 


Travelodge also have hotels in the area although they offer a continental style breakfast there is usually a little chef on site. Contact


For smaller bed and breakfast accommodation you can contact the following sites. But please note that some smaller establishments do not have disabled facilities.


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