Desert Rat Shoulder Flash (Left)  

On the 8 May 1944 the armoured regiments and supporting vehicles of the 7th Armoured Division moved out of High Ash Camp Thetford Forest and proceeded by road to the concentration area in the grounds of Orwell Park School where waterproofing of the tanks and other preparations for the invasion of Normandy were completed, while lorries and other soft vehicles of the division went to Tilbury Docks to be loaded on to ships ready to follow the armoured regiments to Normandy. On the 3 June 1944 all the tanks moved by road to Felixstowe Docks where they were loaded on to LCT's (Landing Craft Tanks) and sailed for Normandy on the 5 June 1944. 

In September 2001 the Head Master, Mr. Andrew Auster and the Board of Governors decided to  honour the association of Orwell Park  School with the Desert Rats by installing a commemorative plaque in the school grounds and invite surviving veterans to the school to celebrate the inauguration of the plaque. Since the inauguration, veterans have been invited back to the school on each anniversary as guests of the staff and pupils. The photographs below are for the get together on the 11 September 2004 and a jolly good time was had by all particularly the veterans.

From the aerial view it can be seen the school grounds are quite extensive and were an ideal place for the armoured regiments to concentrate. The accommodation was Bell & Marquee tents. The school grounds were enclosed by barbed wire.
The plaque in the school grounds.- Large group of veterans pupils and staff - Piper Jason Sumner, 1st Royal Tank Regiment


Display of Veteran Armoured Vehicles-Sherman & Stuart Tanks


Veterans-Guests-Staff at lunch


School Catering Staff who prepared all the food for the day, normally it would not be quite so busy.


Veteran Mustangs Fighter Aircraft in a fly past over the school.


Silver Bird Machine Beep Bop Dancers part of the entertainment provided by the school

1RTR Piper Jason Sumner playing the last post 


Open Days Page 2003 Open Day

Easter and 6th June 2004

2004 Open Day 2006 Open Day 2007 Open Day 2008 Open Day
2009 Open day 2010 Open Day 2011 Open day 2012 Open Day
2013 Open Day 2014 Open Day 2015 Open Day 2016 Open Day
2017 Open Day 2018 Open Day 2019 Open Day
Orwell Park 2010 Orwell Park 2016 Orwell Park 2017 Orwell Park 2018
Orwell Park 2019

65th Anniversary of Alamein

2011 El Alamein Veterans Visit

Home Page Contents page

7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East (Desert Rats) - Foundation Parade.