Shoulder patch worn by the British Eighth Army’s Headquarters staff.
Commanded by General Bernard Law Montgomery, the Eighth Army was part of the Allied forces fighting in Italy under Eisenhower, and then Field Marshal Henry Maitland Wilson (Eisenhower’s successor as commander of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations) in 1943-44. The Eighth Army had fought in the deserts of North Africa where, in October-November 1942, it achieved a major victory over Field Marshal Rommel’s Afrika Corps at El Alamein, Egypt.
In early 1944, Lieutenant General Oliver Leese took over command of the Eighth Army when Montgomery was reassigned to lead the 21st Army Group. Leese, a veteran of the costly 1916 Somme Offensive in the Great War, disappointed his superiors. In October 1944 Lieutenant General Sir Richard McCreery took over Eighth Army.
Besides its British troops, the Eighth Army also included New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans, Indians (including Gurkhas), Poles, Czechs and soldiers of the Free French Army. According to General Eisenhower, it was a very colorful assortment of troops. In Italy by war’s end the Eighth Army contributed greatly to the Allied victory but suffered 123,254 casualties.
Cloth. L 6.8, W 5.8 cm
Eisenhower National Historic Site, EISE 15734