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 díHonneur



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 díHonneur 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.



Desert Rat Memorial Appeal

We are in the process of raising funds as part of the first stage to move the Desert Rats Memorial from World War Two from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, pictured below, to the National Arboretum, Staffordshire and expand it to remember the men who have worn the Desert Rat since the war. The memorial was originally placed in Berlin after the end of WW2 and later moved to Sandhurst for safekeeping, where it now stands just inside the main gate. Here it is safe, but not open to the general public.

The figure of £5,000 is the first stage of a three to four year project and we will be organising many other events over the year and years ahead to raise more funds.

If you wish to make a donation you can do so via the Just Giving website, or direct to the Association, by Cheque via the Treasurer or PayPal, to The Treasurer will be pleased to help with any donations.

History of War Magazine

Two 'Desert Rats'. Mr. Len Burritt and Mr. Alf Jackson have contributed to the lasted issue of the History of War Magazine (Issue 47), with tales of their experiences in the North African Campaign. 

Len Burritt, recounts his time on the 7th Armoured Division from pre-war to the end of the campaign and provides valuable insight to this period of history as he was in Divisional HQ Signals. Alf Jackson tells of the discovery of Rommel's abandoned HQ


To buy a copy you can click on this image, which will take you to the Magazine's website







Calendar of Events 2018

Please see our calendar of events for 2018 here

Annual General Meeting 2018

Notice to all members


Please note that the A.G.M. will be held on


Thursday 12th April 2018, starting at 10.00am


And will be held in the Schoolroom at

Forest Enterprise Headquarters

Santon Downham




Would all members who are planning to attend please reply to the Secretary before 31st March 2018.


Sapper Thomas Campbell, RE

With sadness we must announce the death of Sapper Thomas Campbell, of 621 Field Squadron, RE. More information can be found on our newsletter page for 2018

Tomís funeral was on Wednesday February 7th at Hawkshead Parish Church. Cumbria.




Lt-Col Thomas Cole, 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars

Having commemorated his 100th birthday in December 2017, the association has just been advised of the passing of Lt-Col Thomas Cole, 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars

Lt-Col Cole died on Tuesday, 6th February, peacefully at home.


The Funeral will be held at 2pm on Wednesday, 21st February 2018 at St Cuthbertís Church, Great Glen, Leicestershire LE8 9FE.






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.

Download the membership form here Word or PDF version


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)

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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