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.


Group of pupils and veterans

1st RTR Piper Jason Sumner by a Stuart Tank


 Pupils and Guests

 Pupils and Guests with Sherman tank


Guest and pupils enjoying lunch.


The Chef and his team who prepared such a wonderful lunch

Fly past by two Mustang P51 fighters

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


1st RTR Piper Jason Sumner playing the Last Post


 Memorial Plaque in the grounds of the School

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65th Anniversary of Alamein

2011 El Alamein Veterans Visit

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