Shoulder Flash (Right)  The Desert Rats Association     Shoulder Flash (Left)


Making sure our history is not a thing of the past


The Desert Rat Memorial
Thetford Forest 

The Mark IV Cromwell Tank on the plinth is a replica of

"Little Audrey" 5 Able, "B" Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment







The 7th Armoured Division was stationed in Thetford Forest between January and May 1944 while they prepared for the invasion of Normandy. This was the only time the division was in the United Kingdom in it's entire Existence. The Division sailed from Felixstowe on the 5 June 1944 with the first tanks landing on Gold Beach on the evening of 6th June 1944

May your glory ever shine, May your laurels never fade, May the memory of this glorious pilgrimage of war you have made from Alamein, via the Baltic to Berlin never die. It is a march unsurpassed through all the story of war.

May the fathers long tell the children about this tale .

Winston Churchill

The Memorial and main plaque inaugurated on the 23rd October 1998 by Field Marshal Lord Carver is located on the A1065 two miles north of Mundford, Norfolk, England. The additional plaque commemorating the Desert Rats of the 4th & 7th Armoured Brigades from 1945 to 2003 was added to the plinth and inaugurated during the Open Day on the 27th June 2004 in the presence of Brigadier Adrian Bradshaw, commanding 7th Armoured Brigade, and other senior officers from both brigades.

The memorial is dedicated to all who served in the 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats), the 4th Armoured Brigade (The Black Rats) and the 7th Armoured Brigade (The Green Jerboa), throughout history. 

It the 7th Armoured Brigade who are now the modern day Desert Rats, while the 4th Mechanized Brigade continues to wear the Black Rat, after since 2007, now worn by 4th Infantry Brigade since 2015. In 2015, the 7th Armoured Brigade was disbanded and the 7th Infantry Brigade created to still wear the Jerboa and carry on the traditions of the Desert Rats and the Desert Rats Association will continue to be associated with it.

Throughout its history the Division and the two Brigades not only consisted of Armoured units, but also Infantry, Artillery and Engineering units, plus other support units, all of whom are commemorated by this memorial. 

Shoulder Flash of 4th Armoured Brigade

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Division

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Brigade

Shoulder Flash of 4th Armoured Brigade

(1942 - 1948)

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Division

(1938 - 1959)

Shoulder Flash of 7th Armoured Brigade 

(1942 - 1946)

Badge of 7th Armoured Brigade

Badge of 4th Mechanized Brigade

Badge of 7th Infantry Brigade

Badge of 4th Infantry Brigade


The President and Chairman, the Committee and the Trustees of The Desert Rats Association are delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has kindly agreed to extend her patronage of our association for a further five years.

Rod Scott, Chairman

13th August 2015

See the Commemoration here

This plaque was added in 2014 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landing and Campaign.



D-Day veterans to be awarded the Legion d’Honneur



In conjunction with events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, the government of France has advised the Ministry of Defence that it wishes to award the Legion d’Honneur to all surviving veterans. Please go to the MoD site to download the application form.


Hopefully, the French Government will one day extend this award to all those who now lie in cemeteries in France and to those veterans who survived the war and are now no longer with us.


Container Appeal

Has anyone got a 10ft or 20ft shipping/storage container they could donate to the Association, please?

It can be tatty, as long it can be locked and made water proof, we will be happy to have it.

Please contact the Treasurer or Mr. Rod Scott on 01359 270490.

1940s D-Day Dinner and Dance

We would like to thank everyone who came along to this event on 6th April  2019, had made it such a successful event. Many of you kindly took the time to thank us and tell what a great time you had, which is great news for us.

We will be adding some pictures of the event and possibly some videos as soon as we can and will update this post when they are available here.

National Arboretum - Desert Rats Memorial

We are the Desert Rats Association (Registered No. 1063575 under the Charities Act of 1960) and are raising money to build a new Memorial to the men and women of the Desert Rats from 1940 to the modern day, who have served this country in war and peace.

The new memorial will acknowledge the history of the Desert Rats using the insignia of the Desert Rat. A stylised sculpture, with a mechanised quality and speaking of the predominance of armour used, both light and heavy, whilst representing the Desert Rat’s Jerboa.

The Jerboa will be; 1.64m high, 0.4m wide and 1.5m long, made of flame-cut laminated 30mm thick Corten steel, and left with a rust red finish. This will be placed on a stone plinth, with the sides sloping at 45º, echoing angles used in some of the armour on tanks and vehicles.  The Plinth will have the sides carved with a sand motif with letters incised. We suggest “DESERT RATS” in a sans serif Roman script fading in and out of the pattern, which suggests movement through time, space and sand. We would like to keep the memorial as simple as possible but, if required, any further information can be added to a bronze plaque at the front. 

We will use the Patina and Rust that will naturally occur, as the rust from the Desert Rat is likely to run and stain the plinth. We propose that this should be made into a feature by carving shallow channels in the plinth, which would create red tracks of rust signifying the blood spilt and given for victory.  The memorials will be positioned in an oval area with two crescent shaped mounds. In section, echoing the desert landscape of the sand dunes, steeper on one side than the other, covered in turf.

The memorial from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst will be placed on the higher of the two mounds with the Rat on its plinth in the centre between. There will be a flat area running through the middle of the memorial ground. The Rat will be orientated towards El Alamein, Egypt, pointing towards the origin of the 7th Armoured Division.

The images show an artist’s impression of the memorial and Maquette of the design we have chosen.

No matter how small or large your donation, it will all go toward honouring the memory of the men who have worn and continue to proudly wear the Jerboa badge of the Desert Rats and have served this country for over 80 years, including more recent conflicts of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries.

Yours aye,

The Desert Rats Association

Please click here to donate via Just Giving.

use this QR code 

or contact our Treasurer to donate by other methods.

Memorial Open Day June 2019

Many thanks to everyone who attended this year's Memorial Open Day on Sunday 23rd June 2019, at the Memorial, High Ash, North of Mundford, Norfolk.

Photographs of this years event are now available here.

Desert Rats Association Companion Dog Show

Sunday 25th August 2019

The Desert Rats Association will be holding is annual Companion Dog Show on Oxborough Village Green, PE33 9PS.

The poster below contains the information on times, classes, entrance fees and contacts.




On 21st October 1940, Winston S. Churchill broadcast this speech to Occupied France.


Frenchmen! For more than 30 years in peace and war I have marched with you.

I am marching still along the same road. Tonight I speak to you at your firesides, wherever you may be, or whatever your fortunes are: I repeat the  prayer that upon the louis d'or, "Dieu protege la France"

Here at home in England, under the the fire of the Bosche we do not forget the ties and links that unite us to France . . .

Here in London, which Herr Hitler says he will reduce to ashes, and which his aeroplanes are now bombarding, our people are bearing up unflinchingly. Our Air Force has more than held its own.  We are waiting for the long promised invasion.  So are the fishes . . .

Frenchmen - rearm your spirits before it is too late. Remember how Napoleon said before one of his battles:   These same Prussians who are so boastful today were three to one at Jena, and six to one at Montmirailî

Never will I believe that the soul of France is dead! Never will I believe that her place amongst the greatest nations of the world has been lost forever.

Remember that we shall never stop,  never weary, and never give in . . . We seek to beat the life and soul out of Hitler and Hitlerism. That alone - that all the time - that to the end. Those French who are in the French Empire, and those who are in the so-called unoccupied France, may see their way from time to time to useful action, I will not go into details  . . hostile ears are listening . . .

Good night then: Sleep to gather strength for the morning.  For the morning will come. brightly it will shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.


Long live also the forward march of the common people in all lands towards their just and true inheritance, and towards the broader and fuller age.

Less than four long years later, on 6th June 1944, 'Morning' arrived for the people of France.

The Normandy Campaign lasted 77 days from 6th June 1944, so this text and these links will remain on this page until 22nd August 2018.

Click the picture above to go to the D-Day Anniversary 2019 and the D-Day Center websites. Click the image above for a the history of 7th Armoured Division and the 4th Armoured Brigade's involvement on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy afterwards


The Shores of Normandy, by Jim Radford

Supporting The British Normandy Memorial


The association formed to look after the Memorial has no regular income and relies on donations which can be sent via our Treasurer, Ian Paterson, 21 Beech Grove, Little Oakley, Essex, CO12 5NN. Cheques should be made payable to Desert Rats Association.

Please click here to bookmark this page for future reference

Below are photographs of the Memorial Erected by the Division in Berlin 1945, that now stands in the grounds of the Staff College at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

By kind permission of the RMA Sandhurst

By kind permission of the RMA Sandhurst


Help support the Desert Rats Association

If you buy a copy of this book via this link the Memorial Association will receive 12% commission from the sale. If you buy a copy of Patrick Delaforce's latest book Churchill's Desert Rats in North-West Europe via this website, we will benefit from the sale.


The Memorial Site is on Trip Advisor now. Please give feedback if you visit the site.




Why not join the association?


Are you aware that you can join the Desert Rats Association if you and/or a relative, served in the 7th Armoured Division or 4th or 7th Armoured Brigades from 1938 to today.

Please note most service personnel now serving in the British armed forces serve as a Red or Black Rats including of course 7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East or 4th Infantry Brigade and HQ North East can also join.

If you would like to join please contact our Membership Secretary.


Or you can pay on-line now, via the below link. You can either pay via your own PayPal account or by Credit/Debit Card.

Pay Membership on Line


Even if joining up on line please also, download the membership form here Word or PDF version.


View the association's GDPR Data Protection Policy.


Would you like to donate to the association

Please click on the button below. You can use your PayPal account or Credit/Debit card.



Desert Rat Merchandise for sale.

If you are interested in any Desert Rat memorabilia, we have a range of items for sale via our eBay account

Please click here to view it.

If you wish to buy direct please contract our Treasurer.



A Brief History of the Desert Rats and Memorial. (Now with video links)

The Desert Rats Museum

Book Reviews

Location of 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) Memorial

Latest Newsletters.

Open Days and Events

Where Are You Now?

Locations of the 7th Armoured Division and 4th Armoured Brigade before the invasion of Normandy

Take a Virtual Tour of the High Ash and Shakers Wood Camp Area  

Contents of Web Site

Tribute to the founder of 7th Armoured Division Memorial - Les Dinning

The History of the British 7th Armoured Division, plus the 4th and 7th Armoured Brigade, website

Contact Us



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