Orwell Park 2023



On a glorious Spring day Association Members, veterans, vintage vehicle owners and current service personnel gathered for a Service of Remembrance and wreath laying at the memorial situated in the grounds of Orwell Park School, near Ipswich, Suffolk,  at the invitation of the Headmaster Mr. Adrian Brown, Staff and Pupils of the School. 

At this year’s event we were supported by members of the Suffolk Military Vehicles Group and were also fortunate enough to have detachments and displays from  'F' (Sphinx) Parachute Battery RHA of 7th Parachute Regt Royal Horse Artillery (from the Colchester Garrison). The Battery is one of the units that formed the 7th Armoured Division back in 1939 and was associated with the Desert Rats throughout WW2 and in the years afterwards. The purpose of the service of Remembrance is to remember the men who were for a few short weeks stationed at the School, while waterproofing their vehicles in four huge wading pits, in preparation ng for the Normandy campaign. After boarding their Landing Craft and Ships in early June they sat at anchor in the Rivers Orwell and Stour before sailing on 5th June as part of the follow up troops after D-Day landings, and started to disembark in France late on the evening of 6th and during 7th June 1944.

This year we were lead from the school to the memorial by the Standard of the Royal Tank Association (Medway Branch) Before the service became Trusttee Brigadier (Retd) Jonnu Bourne spoke to those assembled, including the whole school,. The Last Post was sounded by a pupil from the school, followed by a one minute silence, after which Reveille was sounded and wreaths were laid by Mrs. Frances Dinning (widow of the Associations founder), a representative of RTR Association (Medway Branch), the Head Boy and Girl from the School, Brigadier (Retd) Jonnu Bourne and Mr. Ian Paterson (Treasurer) accompanied by Lt. C Newman RHA. The parade then returned to the school. where the pupils of the school where able to visit the displays from the Army and vintage vehicle owners.

The school kindly provided a wonderful lunch, hosted by Mr. Brown and his wife, Nicole, followed by fantastic set of musical performances by pupils from the school, concluding with a piano playing and singing display. As in past yeas the school hosted us wonderfully and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day greatly. The Association would again like to thank Mr. Brown, his wife, the pupils and staff for hosting such a wonderful event again this year, plus of course the Army personnel and the owners of the vintage vehicles, who attended as well.


View of the School Field where in 1944 there was a large Wading Pit for the vehicles to have their water proofing tested. Beyond that just over the brow of the hill is the 'Deer Park' where most of the men and vehicles were in 1944

Trustee Brigadier (Retd) Bourne, Headmaster Adrian Brown and Chairman Lt-Col Copley-Smith chat by the RHA display,

Wreaths at the Memorial


Some of the displays at the school.

Military Vehicle Display


Display from F (Sphinx) Parachute Battery RHA

Pupils trying on the 'kit'

Pupils from the school with a 105mm Light Gun

Pupils chatting for the RHA team A pupils tries on a full pack!



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