Crowds and organisations turn out for memorial day to remember Desert Rats

Preparations for the Desert Rats Association Memorial Day service. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Preparations for the Desert Rats Association Memorial Day service. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant

Military vehicles, 1940s music and dancing, and model soldiers were just some of the things to see and do at this year's Desert Rats Association Memorial Day.

Preparations for the Desert Rats Association Memorial Day service. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Preparations for the Desert Rats Association Memorial Day service. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant

Held in High Ash, near Mundford, the day celebrated and remembered the 7th Armoured Division who made their name fighting in north Africa during the Second World War.

The Desert Rats Association Memorial Day. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

The Desert Rats Association Memorial Day. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant


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The Royal British Legion, The Royal Anglian Regiment and Norfolk Military Vehicle Group were some of the organisations in attendance.

Sgt Bishnu Prasad Pun, Cpl Jag Bahadur Pun and Rifleman Jit Bahadur Pun, who were Gurkha soldiers, met visitors at The Gurkha Welfare Trust stall.

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Desert Rats Association Memorial Day. From left to right: Rifleman Jit Bahadur Pun, Cpl Jag Bahadur

Desert Rats Association Memorial Day. From left to right: Rifleman Jit Bahadur Pun, Cpl Jag Bahadur Pun and Sgt Bishnu Prasad Pun who were Gurkha soldiers and were meeting visitors at The Gurkha Welfare Trust stall. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant

And Derrick Eagle, from Norwich and who goes by Tattoo Aquila, bought 350 of his military musician model soldiers.

A memorial service, which included hymns, readings, the laying of wreaths and the Last Post, also took place.

The Desert Rats Association Memorial Day. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

The Desert Rats Association Memorial Day. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant

The Desert Rats were stationed in Thetford Forest between January and May 1944 while they prepared for the invasion of Normandy.

Entertainment at the Desert Rats Association Memorial Day included Swing-Time Sweethearts which got

Entertainment at the Desert Rats Association Memorial Day included Swing-Time Sweethearts which got people dancing. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant

Chairman of the Desert Rats Association, Lt Col Simon Copley-Smith, served with the modern day Desert Rats in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008.

Military vehicles at the Desert Rats Association Memorial Day. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Military vehicles at the Desert Rats Association Memorial Day. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant

He said of the memorial day: 'It is hard work to organise but it is massively worth it. It is a privilege for me.

'It is about getting not just the veterans here, but a those who have a connection or an interest in the military in general.'

He added: 'I think it is important because our history teaches us so much about the human race. If we forget out history we risk making the same mistakes.'

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