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


See the Commemoration here

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



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.  

The French drain around the base of the plinth, will be covered with CVR(T) track (to act as the drains grate).  On some of the CVR(T) the track rubber will be removed and bronze plates will be added with sponsors names, donating associations or organisations, engraved on it.

Yours aye,

The Desert Rats Association

Please click here to donate via Just Giving.

use this QR code 

You can donate to this appeal by Paypal if you wish.

or contact our Treasurer to donate by other methods.

The story of the National Memorial Arboretum project can be found here.

Association Events 2022

For list of events the Association will be hosting or attending in 2022, please visit our Open Day and Events page.

Memorial Open Day 3rd July 2022

This years Memorial Open Day was held at the Desert Rats Memorial, High Ash, on Sunday 3rd July 2022. 

The Association would like to thank everyone who came along and helped top make it a great day out. Photos and videos of the event is now available here.

Tiger Day 2022, 17th September 2022

The Association will have a stand at this years Tiger Day at the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset. For details of the event go to the Tiger Day Event Page.

A Night Of Military Music 1st October 2022 


The Victoria Hall, 37-39 Knowsley Street, Bolton.

The tickets for the concert on October 1st are now on sale, link to purchase here:

Price - £5.00 per ticket.


New Desert Rat Book 


Here is a good read from a 102 year old Desert Rat, John MaCowan, REME, which includes his experiences from El Alamein, through the end of the war and also the 75th Anniverseary of D-Day.


The typeface is a larger point size than normal as most of John’s contacts are elderly and partially sighted  especially those associated with Blind Veterans UK.

It is available only from Whities Books and Crafts, Peebles.



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 until recently stood in the grounds of the Staff College at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. It is now being refurbished as part of the National Arboretum Memorial Project.

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.


Please search for  7Th Armoured Division Commemorative Fund from the search field. Please note the 7Th and not 7th

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.


Membership Type

Membership Types

Single (1 individual): £12.50
Joint (2 people (over 12 years old) living in the same dwelling): £15.00
Family (Up to 4 people (over 12 years old) living in the same dwelling): £20:00



If joining or renewing your members on line,, we will receive your address details, but it would be great if you also download and completed the membership form here Word or PDF version, especially for new members.


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.



Desert Rat Museum.

If you wish to plan a visit to our museum, please go to the museum pages of this site.



A Brief History of the Desert Rats and Memorial. (Now with video links) Location of 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) Memorial
The Desert Rats Museum Locations of the 7th Armoured Division and 4th Armoured Brigade before the invasion of Normandy
Open Days and Events Take a Virtual Tour of the High Ash and Shakers Wood Camp Area  
Latest Newsletters. 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
Contents of Web Site Book Reviews
Contact Us Where Are You Now?

 voucher codes Visitors since 1st September 2006