Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Desert Rats - Thetford Forest Park Memorial

Absent on the blogging front as I got a 4 day 'pass' from life in Kent & had an aviation filled trip to see my friends in Suffolk/Norfolk. This included flying in a DH Chipmunck, 2 Aviation Museums and a trip to a certain modest model retailer called Hannants!! More on this in a future update.

Where Chris & Nessie live is Thetford Forest with a rather fine 'gate guardian' in front of their house!! a Cromwell tank!! This commemorates the 7th Armoured Division the 'Desert Rats from El Alamain to Berlin'

The Division was stationed in Thetford Forest between January & May 1944 while they prepared for the D Day invasion of Normandy. This was the only time in it's entire existence that it was in the UK! They sailed from Felixstowe on the 5th June 1944 with the first tanks landing on Gold Beach on the evening of 6th June 1944.

A self guided trails takes you around where the camp site was

Nothing exists now apart from a few foundation of the nissen huts which would have looked like as below

The notice board at the car park is quite informative with copies of documents relating to the Divisons stay and commemorations since

The information boards are very informative and well done & bring the history to life in context to the landscape. It's an enjoyable walk good for bird spotting Siskins & Goldcrests in evidence when I was there.

More info at the Forestry Commission web site which also updates you on what countryside events are going on in the area.