7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East

The Desert Rats

7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East - ‘The Desert Rats’ is one of the Army’s 7 Adaptable Force Brigades comprising of Regular and Reserve units. The Brigade is the Army regional point of contact for the 12 counties of the East Midlands and the East of England, from the Humber to the Thames.


The Brigade's Role

To provide forces that conduct a broad range of tasks, including:

  • Combat operations - particularly enduring stabilisation.
  • Standing commitments - for example Cyprus, Falkland Islands or state ceremonial and public duties.
  • Defence engagement  - supporting conflict prevention through a planned approach to engagement overseas. This includes developing the military capacity of partner nations.
  • Delivery of ‘firm base’ activities - includes contributing to UK resilience and civil engagement (with employers and the communities in which we live).
  • Recruiting, training and administration of Army units within the Brigade area.
Menila-Cpl Mumby watching over Oil Protection Force soldiers firing on the range.jpg

Brigade Units

  • 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
  • The Royal Yeomanry (Army Reserve)
  • 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment (The Vikings)
  • 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment (The Poachers)
  • 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment (The Steelbacks) (Reserve)
  • 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Reserve)
  • 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment


  1. 1908

    Headquarters East is descended from the 49th Division, which was formed on 01 April 1908 as the West Riding Division in the Territorial Force of the British Army.

  2. 1938

    7th Armoured Division was formed from the Light Armoured Brigade.

  3. WW I & II

    Both divisions played key roles in both World Wars across most theatres.

  4. 1995

    49 (East) Brigade was formed in Chilwell, following the merger of 49 (East Midlands) Brigade (Chilwell) and 54 (East Anglia) Brigade (Grantham and Colchester).

  5. 2014

    8 December: 7th Armoured Brigade ‘The Desert Rats’ was re-designated 7th Infantry Brigade, retaining the Desert Rats identity and traditions.

  6. 2015

    16 February: As part of the Army 2020 review, 7th Infantry Brigade merged with 49 (East) Brigade to form 7th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters East.


  • Headquarters