Brian Horrocks
Overview
 
Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Gwynne Horrocks, KCB
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

, KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, DSO
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

, MC
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 (7 September 1895 – 4 January 1985) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 officer. He is chiefly remembered as the commander of XXX Corps in Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time....

 and other operations during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He also served in the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, was a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 twice, and competed in the 1924 Paris Olympics
1924 Summer Olympics
The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France...

. Later he was a television presenter, authored books on military history, and was Black Rod
Black Rod
The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, generally shortened to just Black Rod, is an official in the parliaments of several Commonwealth countries. The position originates in the House of Lords of the Parliament of the United Kingdom...

 in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 for 14 years.

In 1940 Horrocks commanded a battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 during the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, the first time he served under Bernard Montgomery
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC , nicknamed "Monty" and the "Spartan General" was a British Army officer. He saw action in the First World War, when he was seriously wounded, and during the Second World War he commanded the 8th Army from...

, the most prominent British commander of the war.
Encyclopedia
Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Gwynne Horrocks, KCB
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

, KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, DSO
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

, MC
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 (7 September 1895 – 4 January 1985) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 officer. He is chiefly remembered as the commander of XXX Corps in Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time....

 and other operations during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He also served in the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, was a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 twice, and competed in the 1924 Paris Olympics
1924 Summer Olympics
The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France...

. Later he was a television presenter, authored books on military history, and was Black Rod
Black Rod
The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, generally shortened to just Black Rod, is an official in the parliaments of several Commonwealth countries. The position originates in the House of Lords of the Parliament of the United Kingdom...

 in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 for 14 years.

In 1940 Horrocks commanded a battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 during the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, the first time he served under Bernard Montgomery
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC , nicknamed "Monty" and the "Spartan General" was a British Army officer. He saw action in the First World War, when he was seriously wounded, and during the Second World War he commanded the 8th Army from...

, the most prominent British commander of the war. Montgomery later identified Horrocks as one of his most able officers, appointing him to corps
Corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

 commands in both North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. In 1943, Horrocks was seriously wounded and took more than a year to recover before returning to command a corps in Europe. It is likely that this period out of action meant he missed out on promotion; his contemporary corps commanders in North Africa, Leese
Oliver Leese
Lieutenant-General Sir Oliver William Hargreaves Leese, 3rd Baronet, KCB, CBE, DSO was a British general during World War II.-Early years:...

 and Dempsey
Miles Dempsey
General Sir Miles Christopher Dempsey, GBE, KCB, DSO, MC was commander of the British Second Army during the D-Day landings in the Second World War...

, went on to command at army
Field army
A Field Army, or Area Army, usually referred to simply as an Army, is a term used by many national military forces for a military formation superior to a corps and beneath an army group....

 level and above. Horrocks' wound caused continuing health problems and led to his early retirement from the army after the war.

Since 1945, Horrocks has been regarded by some as one of the most successful British
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 generals of the war, "a man who really led, a general who talked to everyone, down to the simplest private soldier", and the "beau ideal of a corps commander". Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 called him "the outstanding British general under Montgomery".

Early life and First World War

Horrocks was the only son of Colonel Sir William Horrocks
William Horrocks
Sir William Heaton Horrocks KCMG, CB was an officer of the British Army remembered chiefly for confirming Sir David Bruce's theory that Malta fever was spread through goat's milk. He also contributed to the making safe of water, developing a simple method of testing and purifying water in the field...

, a doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps
Royal Army Medical Corps
The Royal Army Medical Corps is a specialist corps in the British Army which provides medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace...

. Educated at Uppingham School
Uppingham School
Uppingham School is a co-educational independent school of the English public school tradition, situated in the small town of Uppingham in Rutland, England...

, an English public school
Independent school (UK)
An independent school is a school that is not financed through the taxation system by local or national government and is instead funded by private sources, predominantly in the form of tuition charges, gifts and long-term charitable endowments, and so is not subject to the conditions imposed by...

, he entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in 1913. His score was sixth-lowest of the 167 successful applicants for cadetships—even after the addition of 200 bonus points for an Officer Training Corps (OTC) certificate, which not all the other candidates had. An unpromising student, he may not have received a commission at all but for the outbreak of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

Commissioned on 8 August 1914 into the 1st Battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 of the Middlesex Regiment
Middlesex Regiment
The Middlesex Regiment was a regiment of the British Army. It was formed in 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms when the 57th and 77th Regiments of Foot were amalgamated with the county's militia and rifle volunteer units.On 31 December 1966 The Middlesex Regiment was amalgamated with three...

, Second Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

 Horrocks joined the British Expeditionary Force's retreat following its baptism of fire at the Battle of Mons
Battle of Mons
The Battle of Mons was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War. It was a subsidiary action of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the Allies clashed with Germany on the French borders. At Mons, the British army attempted to hold the line of the...

. On 21 October, at the Battle of Armentières
Race to the Sea
The Race to the Sea is a name given to the period early in the First World War when the two sides were still engaged in mobile warfare on the Western Front. With the German advance stalled at the First Battle of the Marne, the opponents continually attempted to outflank each other through...

, his platoon was surrounded, and he was wounded and taken prisoner. Incarcerated in a military hospital, he was repeatedly interrogated by his German captors, who believed that the British Army were using expanding bullets
Dum-dum
An expanding bullet is a bullet designed to expand on impact, increasing in diameter to limit penetration and/or produce a larger diameter wound. They are informally known as a Dum-dum or dumdum bullets...

 in contravention of the 1899 Hague Convention
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

. Horrocks' captors refused to change his clothes or sheets, and denied him and a fellow officer basic amenities. Both had temporarily lost the use of their legs, and were forced to crawl to the toilet, which caused Horrocks' wounds to become infected. However, conditions improved after his discharge and transfer to a prisoner of war camp. On his way to the camp, Horrocks befriended his German escort—he attributed their rapport to the mutual respect that front-line troops share. He was promoted to lieutenant
First Lieutenant
First lieutenant is a military rank and, in some forces, an appointment.The rank of lieutenant has different meanings in different military formations , but the majority of cases it is common for it to be sub-divided into a senior and junior rank...

 on 18 December 1914, despite being in enemy hands, and often tried to escape, once coming within 500 yards (457.2 m) of the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 border before being recaptured. He was eventually placed in a compound for Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n officers, in the hope that the language barrier would hinder his escape attempts; Horrocks used the time to learn the Russian language
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

. Years later, when working in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

, he surprised Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 and Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin was a prominent Soviet politician, who served as Minister of Defense and Premier of the Soviet Union . The Bulganin beard is named after him.-Early career:...

 by greeting them in their native tongue. His resistance in captivity would earn him the Military Cross
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

, awarded in 1920 and backdated to 5 May 1919.

Repatriated at the end of the war, Horrocks had difficulty adapting to a peace-time routine. He went on sprees in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, spending four years of accumulated back-pay in six weeks. However, he returned to active service in 1919 when the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 called for volunteers who knew Russian.

Russia

In 1919 Horrocks was posted to Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War
Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War
The Allied intervention was a multi-national military expedition launched in 1918 during World War I which continued into the Russian Civil War. Its operations included forces from 14 nations and were conducted over a vast territory...

. After landing at Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 on 19 April, he was taken to British headquarters and briefed. The White Army
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 under Admiral Kolchak
Aleksandr Kolchak
Aleksandr Vasiliyevich Kolchak was a Russian naval commander, polar explorer and later - Supreme ruler . Supreme ruler of Russia , was recognized in this position by all the heads of the White movement, "De jure" - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, "De facto" - Entente States...

, with the help of released Czechoslovak Legion
Czechoslovak Legions
The Czechoslovak Legions were volunteer armed forces composed predominantly of Czechs and Slovaks fighting together with the Entente powers during World War I...

 prisoners, had driven the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 out of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. However, Kolchak's Czech troops were returning home, and the British military contingent was urgently trying to replace them with Russians. To accomplish this, the British had just two infantry battalions and two small administrative missions, one charged with training and arming the Russians with British war-surplus equipment, and the other with improving the White Army's communications.

Horrocks' first task, along with a party of 13 British officers and 30 other ranks
Other Ranks
Other Ranks in the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force are those personnel who are not commissioned officers. In the Royal Navy, these personnel are called ratings...

, was to guard a train delivering 27 carriages of shells to the White Army in Omsk
Omsk
-History:The wooden fort of Omsk was erected in 1716 to protect the expanding Russian frontier along the Ishim and the Irtysh rivers against the Kyrgyz nomads of the Steppes...

, 3000 miles (4,828 km) away on the Trans-Siberian Railway
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway in the world...

. The journey took more than a month, and as the only party member fluent in Russian, Horrocks had to deal with many of the difficulties they encountered. At every station, he had to ward off station masters intent on acquiring the cars. While stopped in Manchuli, the British officers' presence provoked a duel
Duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

 between two Cossack
Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

 officers. Horrocks accepted an invitation to act as a second, but the pair were arrested before the duel could take place. However, he managed to defuse the situation before it came to trial, by claiming his faulty Russian had been the cause of the misunderstanding. The train eventually arrived in Omsk on 20 May, with a full cargo.

His next assignment was in Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg is a major city in the central part of Russia, the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Oblast. Situated on the eastern side of the Ural mountain range, it is the main industrial and cultural center of the Urals Federal District with a population of 1,350,136 , making it Russia's...

 in the Urals, where he was appointed second in command of a training school for non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

s attached to the Anglo-Russian Brigade. He found this post frustrating, having to dismiss nearly a third of his initial cadre on medical grounds, and struggling to get supplies and support from the White Army authorities. Despite this, he developed a rapport with his men and an admiration for the Russian soldier.

Although British forces were ordered home shortly afterwards, Horrocks and another officer, George Hayes, remained to advise the First Siberian Army. The White Army was in retreat, and Horrocks joined them as they fell back to Vladivostok, 3000 miles (4,828 km) away. He was captured by the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 on 7 January 1919, in the town of Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk is a city and the administrative center of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Yenisei River. It is the third largest city in Siberia, with the population of 973,891. Krasnoyarsk is an important junction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and one of Russia's largest producers of...

, and spent 10 months as a prisoner, narrowly surviving severe typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

. The British government negotiated a prisoner release, and Horrocks left Russia on 29 October, returning home on the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 cruiser HMS Delhi
HMS Delhi (D47)
HMS Delhi was a Danae class cruiser that served with the Royal Navy in the Baltic and in World War II. She was laid down in 1917 and scrapped in 1948 after war service in the Atlantic and Mediterranean....

.

Back home

Horrocks rejoined his regiment, based in Germany with the British Army of the Rhine
British Army of the Rhine
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...

, and followed it to Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, then embroiled in the Anglo-Irish War
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

. There his duties included searching for arms and dealing with ambushes and road-blocks, which he called "a most unpleasant form of warfare". This was followed by a short period in Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

, to deal with tensions between the Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 and German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 populations.

On his return to Britain, Horrocks took up the modern pentathlon
Modern pentathlon
The modern pentathlon is a sports contest that includes five events: pistol shooting, épée fencing, 200 m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3 km cross-country run...

. He competed successfully in army tournaments, and was picked for the British Olympic team for the 1924 Paris Olympics
1924 Summer Olympics
The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France...

, where he finished 20th out of 38. Horrocks spent the remainder of the inter-war years in postings that included adjutant
Adjutant
Adjutant is a military rank or appointment. In some armies, including most English-speaking ones, it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while in other armies, especially Francophone ones, it is an NCO , normally corresponding roughly to a Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.An Adjutant...

 for the 9th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment of the Territorial Army (1926—1930); student at the Staff College, Camberley
Staff College, Camberley
Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, was a staff college for the British Army from 1802 to 1997, with periods of closure during major wars. In 1997 it was merged into the new Joint Services Command and Staff College.-Origins:...

 (1931—1932); Staff Captain at the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 (1934—1936); Brigade Major
Brigade Major
In the British Army, a Brigade Major was the Chief of Staff of a brigade. He held the rank of Major and was head of the brigade's "G - Operations and Intelligence" section directly and oversaw the two other branches, "A - Administration" and "Q - Quartermaster"...

 with the 5th Infantry Brigade (1936—1938); and instructor at the Staff College. The Territorial Army posting, which Horrocks considered to be among his happiest periods, provided experience in dealing with citizen soldiers, which would prove highly valuable during the Second World War. He received a brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 majority in 1935, and was promoted to substantive major in 1936, and brevet lieutenant colonel in 1937.

In 1928, Horrocks married Nancy Kitchin, daughter of an architect for the Local Government Board
Local Government Board
The Local Government Board was a British Government supervisory body overseeing local administration in England and Wales from 1871 to 1919.The LGB was created by the Local Government Board Act 1871 The Local Government Board (LGB) was a British Government supervisory body overseeing local...

. They had one child, a daughter named Gillian, who drowned in 1979 while swimming in the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

.

Second World War

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Horrocks was working as an instructor at the Staff College, where he had taught since 1938. After helping organise a new, shorter, officer-training course, in December 1939 he was promoted to substantive lieutenant-colonel. The following May, he was despatched to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 to command the 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, a machine-gun battalion directly subordinate to the 3rd Division headquarters of Major-General Bernard Montgomery
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC , nicknamed "Monty" and the "Spartan General" was a British Army officer. He saw action in the First World War, when he was seriously wounded, and during the Second World War he commanded the 8th Army from...

. British doctrine
Military doctrine
Military doctrine is the concise expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.It is a guide to action, not hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference across the military...

 at the time retained heavy machine guns under the direct command of a corps or division, rather than as an organic part of subordinate formations. He joined the battalion during its retreat to Dunkirk, and after only 17 days had impressed his superiors sufficiently to be given the temporary rank of brigadier
Brigadier
Brigadier is a senior military rank, the meaning of which is somewhat different in different military services. The brigadier rank is generally superior to the rank of colonel, and subordinate to major general....

, and the command of 11th Brigade. The brigade's previous commander, Kenneth Anderson
Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson
General Sir Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson, KCB, MC was a British Army officer in both the First and Second World Wars. He is mainly remembered as the commander of the First Army during Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of Tunisia. He had an outwardly reserved character and did not court...

, had been promoted to General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding is the usual title given in the armies of Commonwealth nations to a general officer who holds a command appointment. Thus, a general might be the GOC II Corps or GOC 7th Armoured Division...

 3rd Division during the evacuation, when Alan Brooke
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
Field Marshal The Rt. Hon. Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, KG, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO & Bar , was a senior commander in the British Army. He was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the Second World War, and was promoted to Field Marshal in 1944...

, commander of II Corps, was recalled to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Montgomery took over the corps. On Horrocks' return to Britain, he was given command of 9th Brigade
9th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)
-History:The Brigade together with 8th Infantry Brigade and 185th Infantry Brigade formed the 3rd Infantry Division and participated in the ill-fated British Expeditionary Force, which evacuated from Dunkirk early in World War II....

 and assigned to defend against a possible German invasion. A short period as Brigadier General Staff of Western Command followed, before promotion to acting major-general
Major-General (United Kingdom)
Major general is a senior rank in the British Army. Since 1996 the highest position within the Royal Marines is the Commandant General Royal Marines who holds the rank of major general...

 and command of 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division on 25 June 1941. In addition to his acting rank, he was promoted to substantive colonel on 28 May 1941 (with seniority backdated to 1 July 1940).

In March 1942, Horrocks was given command of the newly formed 9th Armoured Division and gained the temporary rank of major-general on 27 June. Horrocks, an infantry soldier with no experience in dealing with cavalry, was an unusual choice for commander of an armoured division. He trained the division hard, organising a number of exercises to improve the effectiveness of his troops, and to familiarise himself with armoured warfare
Armoured warfare
Armoured warfare or tank warfare is the use of armoured fighting vehicles in modern warfare. It is a major component of modern methods of war....

. Despite never having commanded a division in battle, he was further promoted to acting lieutenant-general and sent to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 to command the Eighth Army
Eighth Army (United Kingdom)
The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations of the British Army during World War II, fighting in the North African and Italian campaigns....

's XIII Corps
XIII Corps (United Kingdom)
XIII Corps was a British infantry corps during World War I and World War II.-World War I:XIII Corps was formed in France on 15 November 1915 under Lieutenant-General Walter Congreve to be part of Fourth Army. It was first seriously engaged during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. On the First day on...

, under Montgomery. General Harold Alexander
Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis was a British military commander and field marshal of Anglo-Irish descent who served with distinction in both world wars and, afterwards, as Governor General of Canada, the 17th since Canadian...

 and Lieutenant-General Montgomery had decided to make a "clean sweep" when replacing the dismissed Claude Auchinleck
Claude Auchinleck
Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, GCB, GCIE, CSI, DSO, OBE , nicknamed "The Auk", was a British army commander during World War II. He was a career soldier who spent much of his military career in India, where he developed a love of the country and a lasting affinity for the soldiers...

 as Commander-in-Chief Middle East
Middle East Command
The Middle East Command was a British Army Command established prior to the Second World War in Egypt. Its primary role was to command British land forces and co-ordinate with the relevant naval and air commands to defend British interests in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region.The...

 and Eighth Army commander respectively. Officers perceived to have failed under the old regime were removed, and Montgomery's favoured commanders were brought in. Among these was Horrocks, an officer whom Montgomery felt was "exactly what was wanted for the job that lay ahead".

North Africa

On arriving in North Africa, Horrocks' corps was ordered to defend the Alam el Halfa ridge from an expected attack by the Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
The German Africa Corps , or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War II...

. Concerned that heavy casualties would jeopardise his planned El Alamein offensive
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

, Montgomery instructed Horrocks to repel Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

's forces "without getting unduly mauled in the process". Horrocks prepared for a purely defensive battle, with his armour dug in around the ridge. When the Germans attacked on 30 August, they failed to lure the British tanks towards their 88mm guns—a tactic that had previously been used with great success—and found themselves battered by both artillery and the Desert Air Force
Desert Air Force
The Desert Air Force , also known chronologically as Air Headquarters Western Desert, Air Headquarters Libya, AHQ Western Desert, the Western Desert Air Force, Desert Air Force, and the First Tactical Air Force , was an Allied tactical air force initially created from No...

. The battle ended with the Germans in control of Himeihat hill, but at a high cost, and the Allied forces unwilling to try to re-take it after a failed attack by the 2nd New Zealand Division. The army's defensive success raised morale, and Horrocks was praised by his subordinate, Brigadier Roberts
George Philip Bradley Roberts
Major-General George Philip Bradley Roberts CB, DSO, MC, , better known as "Pip", was a British commander of an armoured division during the Second World War.-Military career:...

, for his "wonderful knack of inspiring confidence and enthusiasm wherever he goes". Montgomery, too, was pleased, saying "he deserves great credit for his action on that day".

Horrocks was offered the command of X Corps
X Corps (United Kingdom)
The X Corps was a British Army formation in the First World War and was later reformed in 1942 during the North African campaign of the Second World War as part of the Eighth Army.- First World War :...

, an armoured corps, in the planned Alamein battle. He refused it, believing that Major-General Herbert Lumsden
Herbert Lumsden
Lieutenant-General Herbert Lumsden, CB, DSO, MC, psc was a British Army general during World War II.-Early career:...

, a cavalry officer, would be more suited to the role. Instead he retained command of XIII Corps, and was given the task of making a feint to the south to deceive Axis forces
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

, while the main thrust was made by XXX Corps and X Corps to the north. Montgomery told Horrocks that he was not to incur tank losses, so XIII Corps' offensive operations were limited to small-scale raids. In the aftermath of the landmark British victory that followed, Horrocks' corps was assigned to the reserve, and was reduced in size while the rest of the Eighth Army pursued the retreating Axis forces. At one point the only formation under his command was a salvage unit clearing the wreckage of the battlefield, which he visited daily. However, in December he took over command of X Corps, the lead corps in the advance of the Eighth Army, after Lumsden's dismissal for poor performance during the pursuit. Horrocks was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 on 31 December 1942.

Following the fall of Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 in January 1943, the remaining Axis forces retreated to prepared defences in Southern Tunisia, in front of the Mareth Line
Mareth Line
The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French between the towns of Medenine and Gabès in southern Tunisia, prior to World War II...

 built by France before the war. Here in March, Horrocks carried out one of his most successful actions. His corps, composed of the 1st Armoured Division
British 1st Armoured Division
The 1st Armoured Division is an armoured division of the British Army. Originally formed in November 1937 as the Mobile Division, it saw extensive service during the Second World War, was disbanded afterward, was reconstituted in 1976, and remains in service today...

, a Free French brigade and the attached New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 Corps (which included New Zealand's 2nd Division
New Zealand 2nd Division
The 2nd New Zealand Division was a formation of the New Zealand Military Forces during World War II. It was commanded for most of its existence by Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Freyberg, and fought in Greece, Crete, the Western Desert and Italy...

 and the British 8th Armoured Brigade
British 8th Armoured Brigade
The 8 Armoured Brigade was a British Army brigade, formed in August 1941 during the Second World War and active until 1956. The brigade was formed by the re-designation of 6th Cavalry Brigade when the 1st Cavalry Division based in Palestine , converted from a motorised formation to an armoured...

), was ordered to attack as part of Operation Supercharge after XXX Corps failed to breach the line. He carried out a flanking manoeuvre
Flanking maneuver
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its...

 through a pass judged by the Germans to be impenetrable, rendering the Mareth position untenable and forcing the Axis into another retreat. Three Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 divisions were destroyed, and the German 15th Panzer Division, 21st Panzer Division and 164th Division were heavily depleted. Horrocks was then transferred to First Army to take over IX Corps after its previous commander, John Crocker
John Crocker
General Sir John Tredinnick Crocker GCB, KBE, DSO, MC was a British Army officer and corps commander during the Second World War.- First World War :...

, was wounded in a training accident. He led this corps in the final Allied offensive in Tunisia during April and May 1943, capturing Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 and accepting the surrender of the remnants of Rommel's Army Group Africa. He was Mentioned in Despatches on 24 June, and for his service in Tunisia, was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 5 August. He was also given the rank of temporary lieutenant-general and war substantive major-general.

In June 1943, Horrocks sustained serious injuries during an air raid at Bizerte
Bizerte
Bizerte or Benzert , is the capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia and the northernmost city in Africa. It has a population of 230,879 .-History:...

, while watching a rehearsal for the Salerno landings. Bullets from a strafing
Strafing
Strafing is the practice of attacking ground targets from low-flying aircraft using aircraft-mounted automatic weapons. This means, that although ground attack using automatic weapons fire is very often accompanied with bombing or rocket fire, the term "strafing" does not specifically include the...

 German fighter struck his upper chest and carried through the body, piercing his lung
Lung
The lung is the essential respiration organ in many air-breathing animals, including most tetrapods, a few fish and a few snails. In mammals and the more complex life forms, the two lungs are located near the backbone on either side of the heart...

s, stomach
Stomach
The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the alimentary canal which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects , and molluscs. It is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication .The stomach is...

, and intestine
Intestine
In human anatomy, the intestine is the segment of the alimentary canal extending from the pyloric sphincter of the stomach to the anus and, in humans and other mammals, consists of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine...

s. He underwent five operations and spent 14 months recovering. This injury caused him pain for the rest of his life, and continuing health problems later led to his early retirement from active service.

Europe

It was a year before Horrocks recovered sufficiently to tell Alan Brooke
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
Field Marshal The Rt. Hon. Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, KG, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO & Bar , was a senior commander in the British Army. He was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the Second World War, and was promoted to Field Marshal in 1944...

, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, that he was "very anxious to be given another corps". Restored to the acting rank of lieutenant-general in August 1944, he was sent to France to assume command of XXX Corps during the cataclysm engulfing the trapped German Seventh Army
German Seventh Army
The 7th Army was a World War I and World War II field army of the German land forces.-Origins:The 7th Army was activated in Stuttgart on August 25, 1939 with General Friedrich Dollmann in command. At the outbreak of the war, the 7th Army defended the German border and manned the Westwall in the...

 and 5th Panzer Army in the Falaise pocket
Falaise pocket
The battle of the Falaise Pocket, fought during the Second World War from 12 to 21 August 1944, was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy...

. Montgomery had been dissatisfied with the performance of the corps and its commander, Gerard Bucknall
Gerard Bucknall
Lieutenant General Gerard Corfield Bucknall, CB, MC was a British Army officer and corps commander during World War II.-Military career:...

, since the landings in Normandy two months earlier. Horrocks retained control of XXX Corps during the advance through Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, taking Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 and at one point covering 250 miles (402.3 km) in only six days. Supplies, however, were a constant concern, with the major French deep-water ports still in German hands, and Allied supply lines stretching perilously back to the Normandy beaches. Montgomery's 21st Army Group was by now operating 300 miles (482.8 km) from its ports—twice the distance logistical
Military logistics
Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with:...

 planners had accounted for—so XXX Corps was diverted towards Antwerp to secure its docks and harbour
Port of Antwerp
The port of Antwerp, in Belgium, is a port in the heart of Europe accessible to capesize ships. Antwerp stands at the upper end of the tidal estuary of the Scheldt. The estuary is navigable by ships of more than 100,000 Gross Tons as far as 80 km inland. The inland location means that the port...

. The city and port fell to the 11th Armoured Division in early September, but Montgomery halted XXX Corps for resupply short of the wide Albert Canal
Albert Canal
The Albert Canal is a canal located in northeastern Belgium, named after King Albert I of Belgium. It connects the major cities Antwerp and Liège and the Meuse and Scheldt rivers. It has a depth of , a free height of and a total length of...

 to the north of the city, which consequently remained in enemy hands. Horrocks regretted this after the war, believing that his corps might have advanced another 100 miles (160.9 km) with the fuel available, although it is doubtful this could have been achieved without delays. Unknown to the Allies, at that time XXX Corps was opposed by only a single German division. However, the pause allowed the Germans to regroup around the Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

 River, and by the time the Allies resumed their advance, General Student
Kurt Student
Kurt Student was a German Luftwaffe general who fought as a fighter pilot during the First World War and as the commander of German Fallschirmjäger during the Second World War.-Biography:...

's First Paratroop Army had arrived and set up strong defensive positions along the opposite side of the canal. The task of breaking the strengthened German line, which stretched from Antwerp to the North Sea along the Scheldt River, would fall to the First Canadian Army
First Canadian Army
The First Canadian Army was the senior Canadian operational formation in Europe during the Second World War.The Army was formed in early 1942, replacing the existing unnumbered Canadian Corps, as the growing number of Canadian forces in the United Kingdom necessitated an expansion to two corps...

 in the month-long, costly Battle of the Scheldt
Battle of the Scheldt
The Battle of the Scheldt was a series of military operations of the Canadian 1st Army, led by Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds. The battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands during World War II from 2 October-8 November 1944...

. By mid-September, XXX Corps had been diverted again, this time to the east.
Field Marshal Montgomery made his ambitious September thrust across the Rhine and into Germany's industrial heartland, codenamed Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time....

, a priority for 21st Army Group. XXX Corps under Horrocks was to lead the ground assault, passing along a corridor held by airborne forces in order to link up with the British 1st Airborne Division
British 1st Airborne Division
The 1st Airborne Division was a division of the British airborne forces during the Second World War. The division was formed in 1941, after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill demanded an airborne force...

 in Arnhem
Arnhem
Arnhem is a city and municipality, situated in the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of Gelderland and located near the river Nederrijn as well as near the St. Jansbeek, which was the source of the city's development. Arnhem has 146,095 residents as one of the...

 within four days. In the event XXX Corps never arrived, and although 1st Airborne clung on to their tenuous position for a further five days, by 21 September almost three-quarters of the division was destroyed or captured. Postwar analyses have been divided, some stressing a perceived lack of urgency on the part of Horrocks' men, while others note that German defences in the area were severely underestimated by First Allied Airborne Army
First Allied Airborne Army
The First Allied Airborne Army was an Allied formation formed on 2 August 1944 by the order of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. The formation was part of the Allied Expeditionary Force and controlled all Allied airborne forces in Western...

's intelligence
Military intelligence
Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

. Particularly important was the failure to identify the remnants of two SS Panzer divisions, which after Normandy had been sent to the Arnhem area for rest and refitting; intelligence had stated that only "a few infantry units and between 50 and 100 tanks" were in the Netherlands. A series of counterattacks by Army Group B under Field Marshal Model
Walter Model
Otto Moritz Walter Model was a German general and later field marshal during World War II. He is noted for his defensive battles in the latter half of the war, mostly on the Eastern Front but also in the west, and for his close association with Adolf Hitler and Nazism...

 kept Horrocks' units on the defensive, and delayed their advance by forcing the British to halt and secure their flank. The terrain over which Horrocks' men had to move was unsuitable, restricting the vanguard (Guards Armoured Division) to a single narrow raised highway through flat or flooded countryside. Additionally, the Nijmegen Bridge, just 8 miles (12.9 km) from Arnhem, was not captured by the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment on the first day as planned, and XXX Corps had to assist in its capture on their arrival in Nijmegen two days later, causing a further delay of 36 hours. However, Horrocks was not personally blamed for the operation's failure; in fact, during this period the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division of James M. Gavin
James M. Gavin
James Maurice "Jumpin' Jim" Gavin was a prominent Lieutenant General in the United States Army during World War II...

 came under Horrocks' command, and Gavin later wrote:

In early 1945, XXX Corps took part in Operation Veritable
Operation Veritable
Operation Veritable was a Second World War pincer movement conducted by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's 21st Army Group to clear and occupy the land between the Rhine and Maas rivers. It took place between 8 February and 11 March 1945. It was a part of General Dwight Eisenhower's "broad front"...

, during which the German Army
Heer (1935-1945)
The Heer was the Army land forces component of the German armed forces from 1935 to 1945, the latter also included the Navy and the Air Force...

 was finally forced back over the Rhine. The corps employed firepower on a massive scale, and "every trick that had been learnt during the past two and a half years was brought into play, and several new ones added". For a short period XXX Corps also had nine divisions under its command. Before the operation, Horrocks accepted an offer to use Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

 to attack the town of Cleves
Kleve
Kleve , is a town in the Lower Rhine region of northwestern Germany near the Dutch border and the River Rhine. From the 11th century onwards, Kleve was capital of a county and later a duchy...

, assisting the advance of the 15th (Scottish) Division. The bombers released 1384 long tons (1,406.2 t) of high explosive that devastated the town. Horrocks later said that this had been "the most terrible decision I had ever taken in my life" and that he felt "physically sick" when he saw the bombers overhead. Operation Veritable was successful; and by the evening of 9 February (D+1) XXX Corps had broken through the Siegfried Line
Siegfried Line
The original Siegfried line was a line of defensive forts and tank defences built by Germany as a section of the Hindenburg Line 1916–1917 in northern France during World War I...

 and into Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 with only light casualties. Bremen was captured on 26 April, exposing the Sandbostel
Sandbostel
Sandbostel is a municipality in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, 43 km north-east of Bremen, 60 km west of Hamburg. Coordinates: 53° 25′ N, 9° 8′ E. Population: 816...

 concentration camp, Stalag X-B
Stalag X-B
Stalag X-B was a World War II German Prisoner-of-war camp located near Sandbostel in north-western Germany. Sandbostel lies 9 km south of Bremervörde, 43 km northeast of Bremen. Placed on swampy ground,with a damp, cold climate, it is one of the most notorious prisoner-of-war camps. Between...

. The corps had reached Cuxhaven by the time hostilities ceased
End of World War II in Europe
The final battles of the European Theatre of World War II as well as the German surrender to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union took place in late April and early May 1945.-Timeline of surrenders and deaths:...

.

Horrocks received two further Mentions in Despatches for his service in north-west Europe on 22 March and 9 August 1945, and was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 5 July. In addition to his native country's recognition, he was honoured by the governments of Belgium (the Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

 and Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown with Palm
Order of the Crown (Belgium)
The Order of the Crown is an Order of Belgium which was created on 15 October 1897 by King Leopold II in his capacity as ruler of the Congo Free State. The order was first intended to recognize heroic deeds and distinguished service achieved from service in the Congo Free State - many of which acts...

), France (Croix de Guerre and Commandeur of the Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

), the Netherlands (Knight Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau
Order of Orange-Nassau
The Order of Orange-Nassau is a military and civil order of the Netherlands which was created on 4 April 1892 by the Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands, acting on behalf of her under-age daughter Queen Wilhelmina. The Order is a chivalry order open to "everyone who have earned special merits for...

), Greece (Commander of the Order of King George I), and the United States (Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

).

Post-war career

Horrocks continued to serve in the armed forces after the war, initially as GOC-in-Chief of Western Command
Western Command (United Kingdom)
-History:The Command was established in 1905 and was originally called the Welsh & Midland Command before changing its name in 1906. In 1907 Western Command relocated to Watergate House in Chester...

 receiving substantive promotion to lieutenant-general in 1946, with seniority backdated to 29 December 1944. He briefly commanded the British Army of the Rhine
British Army of the Rhine
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...

, until he fell ill in August 1948; he was invalided out of the service early in January 1949 by the lingering effects of the wounds he had received in North Africa. Promoted to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the King's Birthday Honours that year, he served as Honorary Colonel of a Territorial Army unit of the Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

. In 1949 he was appointed Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod
Black Rod
The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, generally shortened to just Black Rod, is an official in the parliaments of several Commonwealth countries. The position originates in the House of Lords of the Parliament of the United Kingdom...

, a post traditionally held by retired officers, this appointment was confirmed on the accession of Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 in 1952. The Black Rod has the responsibility of supervising the administration of the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

, controlling admission to it, and taking part in ceremonies. In 1957, Horrocks had the unusual duty of ordering Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh, Lady Olivier was an English actress. She won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire , a role she also played on stage in London's West End, as well as for her portrayal of the southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, alongside Clark...

 out of the House when she interrupted proceedings to plead that the St James's Theatre
St James's Theatre
The St James's Theatre was a 1,200-seat theatre located in King Street, at Duke Street, St James's, London. The elaborate theatre was designed with a neo-classical exterior and a Louis XIV style interior by Samuel Beazley and built by the partnership of Peto & Grissell for the tenor and theatre...

 be saved from demolition. On other occasions, because the Black Rod had to remain in place during long debates, Horrocks relieved his boredom by completing football pools
Football pools
A football pool, often collectively referred to as "the pools", is a betting pool based on predicting the outcome of top-level association football matches set to take place in the coming week. The pools are typically cheap to enter, with the potential to win huge money. Entries were traditionally...

 tickets. This had the advantage of looking like note-taking to the assembled lords. Horrocks held the post of Black Rod until 1963.

Horrocks became interested in writing, and submitted articles about military matters to newspapers and magazines including the Picture Post
Picture Post
Picture Post was a prominent photojournalistic magazine published in the United Kingdom from 1938 to 1957. It is considered a pioneering example of photojournalism and was an immediate success, selling 1,700,000 copies a week after only two months...

and The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

. This led to a short but successful career as the presenter of a series of television programmes, Men in Battle and Epic Battle, produced by Huw Wheldon
Huw Wheldon
Sir Huw Pyrs Wheldon OBE MC was a BBC broadcaster and executive.Wheldon was born in Prestatyn, Wales and educated at Friars School, Bangor. His father, Sir Wynn Wheldon, was a prominent educationalist, who had been awarded the DSO for gallantry in the First World War...

. In these, Horrocks lectured on great historical battles, "highlighting excitement and interest" to allow the programmes to appeal to the widest possible audience. He was interviewed extensively for the Thames Television
Thames Television
Thames Television was a licensee of the British ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until 31 December 1992....

 series, The World at War, and, to his embarrassment, appeared on the cover of the BBC's Radio Times
Radio Times
Radio Times is a UK weekly television and radio programme listings magazine, owned by the BBC. It has been published since 1923 by BBC Magazines, which also provides an on-line listings service under the same title...

magazine. After his television career ended, he served on the board
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

 of the housebuilding company Bovis
Bovis Homes Group
Bovis Homes Group plc is a second tier national British housebuilding company based in New Ash Green, Kent. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.-History:...

, and continued writing, contributing a column to The Sunday Times and editing a series of British Army regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

al histories. In 1968 Horrocks collaborated with J & L Randall
J & L Randall
J & L Randall Ltd was a British toy manufacturer, based in Potters Bar, which was in Middlesex until 1965 and then in Hertfordshire. The company flourished in the 1950s and 1960s and placed regular advertisements in Meccano Magazine...

 as editor of the 'Merit' board game 'Combat'. His portrait and signature appear on the box and in his introduction to the game he states "In war no two battles are ever the same because the terrain is always different and it is this, more than anything else, which influences the composition of the different armies and the tactics employed by the rival Commanders".
His autobiography, A Full Life, was published in 1960, and he co-authored Corps Commander, an account of his battles in north-west Europe, published in 1977.

Horrocks acted as a military consultant for the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, based on Operation Market Garden. The actor Edward Fox
Edward Fox (actor)
Edward Charles Morice Fox, OBE is an English stage, film and television actor.He is generally associated with portraying the role of the upper-class Englishman, such as the title character in the film The Day of the Jackal and King Edward VIII in the serial Edward & Mrs...

 played Horrocks in the film, and later commented:

Horrocks died on 4 January 1985, at the age of 89. The memorial service, held at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 on 26 February, was attended by Major-General Peter Gillett and Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
The Secretary of State for Defence, popularly known as the Defence Secretary, is the senior Government of the United Kingdom minister in charge of the Ministry of Defence, chairing the Defence Council. It is a Cabinet position...

 Michael Heseltine
Michael Heseltine
Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, CH, PC is a British businessman, Conservative politician and patron of the Tory Reform Group. He was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001 and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major...

, who represented the Queen
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 and Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 respectively. Thirty regiments and many other formations and associations were represented at the service.

Awards and decorations

  • Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath - 9 June 1949 (CB - 5 August 1943)
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire - 5 July 1945
  • Distinguished Service Order
    Distinguished Service Order
    The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

     - 31 December 1942
  • Military Cross
    Military Cross
    The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

     - 30 January 1920
  • Mentioned in Despatches - 24 June 1943, 22 March 1945, 9 August 1945
  • Commander of the Order of George I
    Order of George I
    The Royal Order of George I is a defunct order of Greece.- History :The order was founded in 1915 by King Constantine I in honor of his father, George I. It was only the second Greek order to be created after the Order of the Redeemer in 1833, and remained the second senior award of the Greek...

     (Greece) - 20 June 1944
  • Knight Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau
    Order of Orange-Nassau
    The Order of Orange-Nassau is a military and civil order of the Netherlands which was created on 4 April 1892 by the Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands, acting on behalf of her under-age daughter Queen Wilhelmina. The Order is a chivalry order open to "everyone who have earned special merits for...

     - 17 October 1946
  • Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown with Palm
    Order of the Crown (Belgium)
    The Order of the Crown is an Order of Belgium which was created on 15 October 1897 by King Leopold II in his capacity as ruler of the Congo Free State. The order was first intended to recognize heroic deeds and distinguished service achieved from service in the Congo Free State - many of which acts...

     (Belgium) - 16 January 1947
  • Croix de Guerre
    Croix de guerre
    The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

     (Belgium) - 16 January 1947
  • Commandeurs of the Légion d'honneur
    Légion d'honneur
    The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

     (France)
  • Croix de Guerre
    Croix de guerre
    The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

     (France)
  • Legion of Merit
    Legion of Merit
    The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

     (United States)

External links

Official despatch by Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson
Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson
General Sir Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson, KCB, MC was a British Army officer in both the First and Second World Wars. He is mainly remembered as the commander of the First Army during Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of Tunisia. He had an outwardly reserved character and did not court...

, GOC-in-C First Army covering events in NW Africa, 8 November 1942–13 May 1943.
  • Escape to Action, the 1960 US edition of Horrocks' autobiography, on the Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...

    .
  • Video of Horrocks taking the salute of 51st (Highland) Division on 17 May 1945 in Bremerhaven
    Bremerhaven
    Bremerhaven is a city at the seaport of the free city-state of Bremen, a state of the Federal Republic of Germany. It forms an enclave in the state of Lower Saxony and is located at the mouth of the River Weser on its eastern bank, opposite the town of Nordenham...

    . From YouTube
    YouTube
    YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

    .
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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