Orwell Park 2016
On 26th May 2016, at Orwell Park School, near Ipswich, Suffolk, a group of veterans from the 22nd Armoured Brigade and 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) which it was a part of in World War Two gathered for a service of remembrance and wreath laying at the memorial situated in the school grounds.
On 26th May, members of the association, including two veterans from WW2 and others who served more recently, gathered at the invitation of the Headmaster (Mr. Adrian Brown), Staff and Pupils of Orwell Park School, near Ipswich, to commemorate the fact that in 1944 the School was an Operation Overlord Marshalling Camp. It was lovely warm Spring Day and the aim of the event was to commemorate and remember the men on 22nd Armoured Brigade, including 5th Royal Horse Artillery, who spent several days at the School waterproofing their vehicles before their journey to Normandy as part of the follow up troops after D-Day landings on 6th June 1944. Ironically, the 26th was a date 72 years beforehand that many of the vehicles were moved to the nearby road ready for loading onto the landing ships at nearby Felixstowe in early June.
The event considered of parade from the school to the memorial in its grounds, followed by a short service, with the Last Post sounded by Mr. Bill Wells and a lone piper playing a Lament, during which wreaths were laid by the association, veterans and the Head Boy and Girl from the School. Lieutenant-General Adrian Bradshaw CB. O.B.E spoke to those assembled, including virtually the whole school, before the parade returned to the school. There, Mr. Richard Heather and Mr. Albert Pond, who both had been billeted at the school spent a considerable amount of time talking to the pupils about the events of 1944. It is a sobering thought that of the nearly 2,000 men and 200 vehicles that were at the school in May 1944, about 60 of the men were dead by the end of July 1944, with many more being wounded. The pleasant surrounding of the school were the last part of the UK they saw.
There, then followed a very enjoyable lunch hosted by Mr. Brown and his wife, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. All who attended enjoyed themselves so much that it was very hard to leave and the association would like to thank Mr. Brown, his wife, pupils and staff for hosting such a wonderful event.
Please click on a picture for a larger image
Led by a Lone Piper a parade of Veterans, relatives of Veterans, Dignitaries and Association members march to the memorial
The Head Boy and Head Girl of the School lay a wreath on behalf of the School.
Lt-General Bradshaw lays his wreath, watched by pupils and staff from the school.
One young pupil talks to Lt-Gen Bradshaw about her Grandfather who was a 'Desert Rat'
Mr. Richard Heather who was at the school in May 1944 talks to the pupils about the events of 72 years ago.
|Other pupils talk to Lt-Gen Bradshaw and the Headmaster Mr. Adrian Brown during the event|
|The Memorial Plaque at Orwell Park School|
|All photographs courtesy of Mr. Adrian Brown, Headmaster of Orwell Park School, Ipswich.|
Description of the events by Orwell Park School
the 72nd Anniversary of the 'Desert Rats' leaving their UK base at Orwell
Park School, sixty veterans of the 7th Armored brigade returned
a short and dignified service they all gathered in front of the school
building to talk about the old days. This year, two of the original
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