Desert Rats remembered at their D-Day training base at Mundford

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Now in their 90s, the eight old men in a place of honour needed the shelter of brollies to keep the sun off as the temperatures edged into the 30s on Sunday.

But in their youth some of them helped gave Britain it’s first great victory of World War Two in the far higher temperatures of North Africa, earning themselves the nickname the Desert Rats.

The eight were from the ever decreasing band of men from the original Desert Rats – officially the 7th Armoured Division – who attended the annual Desert Rats’ Memorial Day at Mundford, near Thetford, which was the division’s only UK base during the war.

After North Africa, they had fought up Italy then been brought home to prepare on the new Cromwell tanks they had been issued with for D-Day, in June 1944.

Sunday saw them joined by members of the seventh, past and present, and other well wishers, for a ceremony of remembrance in front of a Cromwell tank that has become a memorial to them and their fallen comrades.

There was a parade through the old camp to the memorial, led by the Phoenix Pipes and Drums and the Junior Leaders Adventure Corps band from Great Yarmouth.

After a service, poppies were dropped from an Auster spotter plane which flew for the Desert Rats in Normandy, piloted now by Leah Hammond, daughter of its owner Maurice Hammond.

Norfolk’s Cadet Force joined current service people of all ranks up to General Adrian Bradshaw, former deputy supreme commander of Nato and an ex- 7th Armoured Division commander.

The Desert Rats Association had brought to life the former camp, on which you can still see the foundations of buildings and the tank roads.

There was a massive collection of historic military vehicles and weapons, reenactors and stalls marking everything from Dad’s Army to the Ghurka Association.

If your funds did not run to owning a real World War Two vehicle, perhaps the model ones were more your style.

There were even Churchill and Montgomery look-alikes and the Baker Boys and Swingtime Sweethearts brought back the hits of the 1940s.