Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Horrocks, Sir Brian Gwynne (1895–1985)

British army general. Brian Horrocks was born on 7 September 1895 in Ranikhet, India, and educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was commissioned in 1914. Wounded at Ypres in October 1914, Horrocks was captured and spent the next four years as a prisoner of the Germans. He then volunteered to go to Russia on a mission to assist White forces in Siberia, and he was a prisoner of the Red forces from January to October 1920. An outstanding athlete, Horrocks competed in the 1924 Olympic Games in the pentathlon.

In the 1930s, Horrocks attended the Staff College of Camberley, and he was subsequently an instructor there. In 1939, Horrocks commanded a battalion in the 3rd Division in France, where he made an excellent impression on his commander, Bernard Montgomery. Promoted to brigadier general in June 1940 during the Dunkerque evacuation, Horrocks then commanded the 9th Armored Division. In August 1942, when Montgomery took over the Eighth Army, he named Horrocks, now a lieutenant general, to head XIII Corps. XII Corps played a key role in repelling the Afrika Korps attack at the crucial Battle of Alma Halfa, and it fought against the 21st Panzer Division at El Alamein. Horrocks then took command of X Corps and led it during the successful flanking maneuver at Mareth in March 1943. During April and May 1943, Horrocks commanded IX Corps during the final drive against Tunis.

In June 1943, while preparing for the invasion of Italy, Horrocks was badly wounded during an air raid on Bizerte. This kept him out of action for a year. In August 1944, Horrocks took command of XXX Corps, which he led until the end of the war in General Miles Dempsey's Second British Army. Accomplishments of XXX Corps included the capture of Amiens, Brussels, Antwerp, and Bremen and helping to reduce the Ardennes salient. Horrocks is best remembered for his role during Operation market-garden, when XXX Corps failed to relieve the British 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem. Horrocks called the failure "the blackest moment of my life."

After the war, Horrocks commanded the British Army of the Rhine before his war wounds forced his retirement in 1949. Horrocks later wrote his autobiography, A Full Life (1960), and became a television commentator. Horrocks died in Fishbourne, England, on 4 January 1985.

Thomas D. Veve


Further Reading
Horrocks, Brian. A Full Life. London: William Collin's Sons, 1960.; Horrocks, Brian. Escape to Action. New York: St. Martin's, 1961.; Ryan, Cornelius. A Bridge Too Far. London: Hamish Hamilton Limited, 1974.; Warner, Philip. Horrocks: The General Who Led from the Front. London: Hamish Hamilton Limited, 1984.
 

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