Brian Horrocks

Brian Horrocks, the son of an army doctor, was born in India in 1895. Educated at Uppingham and Sandhurst Military Academy he was commissioned into the British Army in 1914.

In August 1914 he was sent to the Western Front in France. He took part in the battle of Mons and at Ypres, on 21st October 1914, his platoon was surrounded by the enemy and Horrocks was wounded and became a prisoner for the rest of the First World War.

In 1919 Horrocks served as a volunteer with the White Army in Siberia. While fighting against the Red Army he won the Military Cross. Once again he was captured and was not released until 1920.

An outstanding athlete Horrocks was the British modern pentathlon champion and took part in the 1924 Olympic Games. He studied at Camberley Military College and later became a chief instructor there.

In 1939 Horrocks was sent with the British Expeditionary Force to France where he served under Bernard Montgomery. Promoted to brigadier during the Dunkirk evacuation in June 1940. The following year Horrocks took command of the 9th Armed Division had had responsibility for protecting the Brighton coastal area.

In August 1942, General Harold Alexander appointed Bernard Montgomery to replace Claude Auchinleck as commander of the Eighth Army. One of Montgomery's first decisions was to recruit Horrocks as head of the 13th Corps.

Horrocks fought at El Alamein before succeeding Herbert Lumsden as commander of the 10th Corps. In August 1943 he became the leader of the 9th Corps and took part in the successful campaign in Tunisia.

In June 1943 Horrocks was badly wounded when he was hit by a bullet from a German aircraft. He underwent several operations before resuming active duties in the summer of 1944.

General Bernard Montgomery appointed Horrocks as commander of the 30th Corps during the D-Day landings in June 1944. Horrocks and his troops liberated Amiens (31st August), Brussels (3rd September) and Antwerp (4th September). Serving under General Miles Dempsey, Horrocks took Bremen in Germany on 27th April 1945.

After retiring from the British Army in 1949 Horrocks did a series of military programmes for the BBC and wrote his autobiography, A Full Life (1960). Brian Horrocks died in 1985.

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