I regard it as a great honour to be asked to write a
foreword to the history of the 8th Armoured Brigade — the brigade which has
seen as much, if not more fighting than any other formation in the British
I first met “The Fox’s Mask” in September 42 when the
Brigade played a big part repelling Rommel’s last “all out” effort to capture
Alexandria. During the long pursuit along the North African coast which ended
at Tunis, regiments wearing this, by now, famous sign, were usually in the
On the 3rd August, 44 I arrived in Normandy to take over
command of 30 Corps. Whilst driving up to my Headquarters my jeep was halted
at a cross roads. Suddenly from a tank on the far side of the road appeared the
dusty face of a young officer. He saluted and called out “Glad to see you hack
Sir”. I looked closely at his tank, and there, sure. enough, was the “Fox’s
Mask”. The last time I had seen that sign was in Homs, North Africa, and now
the 8th Armoured Brigade was the first to welcome me back to France.
During practically all the subsequent successful fighting,
the Fox and the Pig (30 Corps Sign) were together. On occasions, I am afraid I
have had to ask the 8th Armoured Brigade to undertake some very unpleasant
tasks, but they were all carried out magnificently, and on no single occasion
can I recall the slightest hesitation.
There have been times in this war when, in the heat of
battle, the atmosphere between the Infantry and Tanks has become somewhat
strained. But this has never happened when the 8th Armoured Brigade was
present; if you want to know what the Infantry Soldier thought of the Fox you
have only to ask the men of such famous Divisions as 43rd (Wessex), 51st
(Highland) or 50th (Northumbrian), and I have no doubt as to the favourable and
enthusiastic answer you would get.
Finally, to all ranks who have worn the “Fox’s Mask”, I
would say “Your casualties have been high I am afraid, but the results achieved
have been out of all proportion to your losses. You can all of you feel that
you have done more than your share to win this war. Through your fine fighting
qualities you have made possible many of “30 Corps victories”.
“Thank you 8th Armoured Brigade”.
Horrocks Lt Gen