Desert Rats Association



March 2020

Notice to all members


Please note that the A.G.M. will be held on


Tuesday 14th April 2020, starting at 10.30am


And will be held at


Desert Rats Museum,

High Ash




April 2020


Notice to all members


Due to Coronavirus restrictions, the A.G.M has now been changed to Skype call for the Committee members and Trustees


Date and time unchanged.




Due to the current Covid-19 (Coronavirus) restrictions, it has been decided that the Memorial Day planned for June 2020 will not be held this year.


Other events organised or attended by the Association are under review.


National Memorial Arboretum


The Association announced that a location had been agreed for the new Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire. Please see this page for more details.


May 2020


Joseph Rodrigues, Royal Engineers

22nd December 1920 - 5 May 2019

The Association has been belatedly advised of the passing of Joseph Francis Cheetham Rodrigues , in May 2019.

Joseph enlisted in the Royal Engineers in June 1939 and trained as signalman. He was stationed at GHQ Home Forces London (or as he put in war office bunkers) and he used to mention, where he remained until  December 1942, when he left to started training as an Officer , which completed by September 1943 at OCTU 150. After this until September 1944, with HQ Signals unit of 79th Armoured Division. Not long before D-day he is assigned to the 5th Assault Brigade.

Between September 1944 to November 1945 - Assigned to HQ 131 Lorried Infantry Brigade. He would talked about his jeep, supervising cable laying across Germany and the surrender in Hamburg. He then moved to Berlin and he had momento's has photos and items he said were from Hitler's bunker. He is photographed and named Marching in the Berlin victory parade on our website!

He was demobbed in 1946 and transferred to the Reserve Officers list and later emigrated to New Zealand, where is served in its armed forces for several years.

Joseph Rodrigues in his wartime uniform.

Photo of Joseph Rodrigues in is uniform in his later years



Documentary Filming

On 27th May 2020, a Film Crew from the Impossible Factual Production Company came to the Museum and Memorial at High

Ash, to film some scenes for an upcoming documentary on the Desert Rats. The working title for the series is 'Battle Honours' and there will be six episodes. Two will be on British units (The Desert Rats and the Parachute Regt) and four on US forces (1st US Infantry Division; 101st US Airborne; The Rangers and 8th USAAF). There is currently no information on which channel the series will be shown on and when, as there is plenty of more filming to do and post production work to complete.

The day consisted of Rod Scott being filmed first in the morning talking about the origins of the Desert Rat name and about desert uniforms. In the afternoon Ian Paterson was filmed talking about the spirit of the Desert Rats and the Berlin Victory Parade. Afterwards there was additional filming by the Memorial focusing on 'Little Audrey' and why the Cromwell was such a leap in tank development for the Division, compared to the earlier tanks. Each session was filmed at least three times using different lenses, angles, etc. and there was a great deal of background filming of military memorabilia from the museum. Filming had to be paused a number of times with aircraft flying over or lorries/motorbikes driving past. Of course, we have no way of knowing what filming from the day will be used and in what context.

Ian Paterson during a break in the filming, inside the museum

Producer/Director Adam (white T shirt) and Camera/Soundman Adrian.

NB. Social distancing and hygiene requirements were observed during filming.


Summer 2020

THE DESERT RATS ASSOCIATION Bi-Annual news-letter Summer 2020

Please find below newsletter for the association for summer 2020.


Newsletter is shown here.




Simon Copley-Smith


August 2020


The Association held a Fun On-line Dog Show with entries from wide and far, including the USA. Details of the show can be found here.


November 2020


The Desert Rats Association, is extremely pleased to have held a Service of Remembrance at the Desert Rat Memorial, High Ash, on the A1065 between Mundford and Swaffham, Norfolk, on Sunday 8th November 2019. A Live Stream video of the event is on our Facebook Group page and photographs and a copy of the video of the service are available here.


Winter 2020


HE DESERT RATS ASSOCIATION Bi-Annual news-letter Winter  2020

Please find below newsletter for the association for summer 2020.


Newsletter is shown here.



Simon Copley-Smith



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