Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery KG, GCB, DSO, PC

{ Monty }

24 Mar 1976

Bernard Law Montgomery - Monty - was born on 17 November 1887 in Kennington, Surrey, the fourth child, of nine, to The Reverend Henry Montgomery, an Ulster-Scots Church of Ireland minister, and his wife, Maud.

In a long and distinguished career Monty served in the British Army from 1908 onwards and rose to the rank of Field Marshal.

Monty graduated from Sandhurst in 1908 and during the First World War served with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was wounded during the Battle of Ypres in 1915. By the end of that conflict Monty was Chief of staff for the 47th (2nd London) Division.

In the inter war years Monty held a number of staff positions and married a widow, Elizabeth Carver, in 1927. Their son was born in 1928, and joined the 2 sons from Elizabeth's first marriage. Tragically Elizabeth died in 1937 due to an infected insect bite.

At the start of the Second World War Monty commanded 3rd (Iron) Division and successfully evacuated the unit virtually intact from Dunkirk in 1940.  Monty was outspoken about the leadership and tactics shown by the BEF and Allies and essentially his career stalled for a short while, even though he was awarded Companion of the Order of Bath at this time and eventually promoted to Lt General.

In 1942 he was appointed Commander in Chief Middle East and Commander 8th Army and earned his reputation as a meticulous planner with the ability to foresee his foes actions by carefully studying their character and tactics, with the successful Battle of El Alamein and subsequent routing of Axis Forces in the Middle East.

Monty proved popular with troops handing out cigarettes on visits and at this time started to sport a black Tankers beret, which became very much part of his image.

During operations initially in Tunisia and later in Sicily and Italy tensions rose with American Generals, particularly Patton and Bradley. However, this tension perhaps could be explained due to the competitiveness between such high status and determined military figures during a period of total war.

As an illustration Monty asked US General Beddell-Smith about acquiring a B17 Bomber for his own personal transport. Bedell-Smith jokingly replied that if Monty took the Tunisian location of Sfax then one would be provided. On taking the town Monty immediately demanded payment and a B17 was promptly supplied, although it did earn Monty a berating from the Chief of The Imperial General Staff Sir Alan Brooke as bombers were in short supply at that time.

In Italy Monty was presented a maroon beret by Maj Gen Hopkinson shortly before he himself was killed.  Monty wore that same beret for many years after and it is now in the collection of the Airborne Assault Museum.

Monty was then ordered back to the UK in January 1944 to command the newly formed 21st Army Group and prepare for the invasion of Normandy. During this time Monty visited airborne forces wearing his maroon beret, windak smock and camouflaged parachute silk scarf.

This enduring relationship with airborne forces lasted throughout Monty's life and in 1944 he was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment.

After the successful Normandy campaign in the allotted 90 days during which the Commonwealth forces engaged the bulk of German armoured divisions allowing the Americans to stage a break out, planning was then advanced for what would become Operation Market Garden.

Again, this operation and Monty's role has been mired in nationalistic military arguments ever since, due to claims and counter claims by the leading generals of the time. This was accelerated by inappropriate boasts by Monty during the Ardennes Campaign which almost resulted in his dismissal. Despite German general Van Manteuffel stating that Monty's action had stabilised the Allied efforts at the time and allowed for successful counter attacks.

After the war, Monty was made commander of the British occupation forces and served on the Allied Control Council. In 1946, he was elevated to Viscount Montgomery of Alamein for his accomplishments.

Serving as Chief of the Imperial General Staff from 1946 to 1948 and in 1951, he served as deputy commander of NATO's European forces and remained in that position until his retirement in 1958.

Monty continued his relationship with The Parachute Regiment and airborne forces postwar including officially opening the Airborne Forces Museum at Aldershot on 23rd March 1969. 

Montgomery died on March 24, 1976, and was buried at Binsted, Hampshire.

Read More
Portrait of Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, 1944.

Group photos_23

  • Non Commissioned Officers with Field Marshal Montgomery in Belgium, c1945.

    Non Commissioned Officers with Field Marshal Montgomery in Belgium, c1945.

    1 Image
  • Senior officers of 6th Airborne Division with Field Marshal Montgomery, Ardennes, January 1945.

    Senior officers of 6th Airborne Division with Field Marshal Montgomery, Ardennes, January 1945.

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Field Marshal Montgomery inspects the 15th (Kings) Battalion, Mauripur, India, June 1946

    Field Marshal Montgomery inspects the 15th (Kings) Battalion, Mauripur, India, June 1946

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Field Marshal Montgomery inspects 15th (Kings) Battalion, Mauripur, India, June 1946

    Field Marshal Montgomery inspects 15th (Kings) Battalion, Mauripur, India, June 1946

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Gen Montgomery visits 133 Para Field Ambulance at Oakham, March 1944

    Gen Montgomery visits 133 Para Field Ambulance at Oakham, March 1944

    1 Image
  • Montgomery talks to Sgt Philip McDonnell, with other NCOs of the 3rd Parachute Battalion.

    Montgomery talks to Sgt Philip McDonnell, with other NCOs of the 3rd Parachute Battalion.

    1 Image
  • Soldiers presented to Field Marshal Montgomery by Lt Col Corbould, Lancaster House, London, 1958

    Soldiers presented to Field Marshal Montgomery by Lt Col Corbould, Lancaster House, London, 1958

    1 Image
  • The King and Queen with officers of 3 PARA, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    The King and Queen with officers of 3 PARA, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    1 Image
  • The King and Queen with officers of 2 PARA, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    The King and Queen with officers of 2 PARA, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    1 Image
  • The King and Queen with officers of 1 PARA, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    The King and Queen with officers of 1 PARA, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    1 Image
  • The King and Queen with senior officers and officers of RHQ PARA, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    The King and Queen with senior officers and officers of RHQ PARA, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    2 Images
  • The King and Queen meet airborne forces veterans, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    The King and Queen meet airborne forces veterans, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    1 Image
  • The King and Queen meet the RSMs of the regular battalions, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    The King and Queen meet the RSMs of the regular battalions, Aldershot 19 July 1950.

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • General Bernard Montgomery and others in a quarry at Ercarde in Normandy,  16 July 1944.

    General Bernard Montgomery and others in a quarry at Ercarde in Normandy, 16 July 1944.

    1 Image Buy Prints

Photos_33

  • Sgt Jim Armstrong talks to Field Marshall Montgomery. Date unknown.

    Sgt Jim Armstrong talks to Field Marshall Montgomery. Date unknown.

    1 Image
  • Colonel RG Parker receiving DSO from Field Marshall Montgomery

    Colonel RG Parker receiving DSO from Field Marshall Montgomery

    1 Image
  • Lt Col Bruce Harvey receiving his DSO from Gen Montgomery, 1944.

    Lt Col Bruce Harvey receiving his DSO from Gen Montgomery, 1944.

    1 Image
  • General Montgomery talks to Gen Gale and Brigadier Poett, 1944.

    General Montgomery talks to Gen Gale and Brigadier Poett, 1944.

    1 Image
  • Field Marshal Montgomery inspecting soldiers of the Parachute Regiment

    Field Marshal Montgomery inspecting soldiers of the Parachute Regiment

    1 Image
  • Field Marshal Montgomery is greeted on arrival at Mauripur ahead of 15th (Kings) Battalion inspection, India, 1946

    Field Marshal Montgomery is greeted on arrival at Mauripur ahead of 15th (Kings) Battalion inspection, India, 1946

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Field Marshal Lord Montgomery arrives on a Dakota to inspect 15th (Kings) Battalion, Mauripur, India, June 1946

    Field Marshal Lord Montgomery arrives on a Dakota to inspect 15th (Kings) Battalion, Mauripur, India, June 1946

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • KN628 former transport of Field Marshal Montgomery in Derby Aviation livery

    KN628 former transport of Field Marshal Montgomery in Derby Aviation livery

    1 Image
  • Colonel Darling with  Field Marshal Montgomery during a visit to the Airborne Forces Depot, 1949

    Colonel Darling with Field Marshal Montgomery during a visit to the Airborne Forces Depot, 1949

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Field Marshal Montgomery, Brigadier Hackett & Maj Gen Urquhart

    Field Marshal Montgomery, Brigadier Hackett & Maj Gen Urquhart

    1 Image
  • Montgomery and others observe Exercise Longstop at Salisbury Plain, 1947

    Montgomery and others observe Exercise Longstop at Salisbury Plain, 1947

    1 Image
  • Men of 13 PARA (TA) march past Field Marshal Montgomery, Colours ceremony, Liverpool 1953.

    Men of 13 PARA (TA) march past Field Marshal Montgomery, Colours ceremony, Liverpool 1953.

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Field Marshal Montgomery inspects men of 13 PARA (TA), Colours presentation ceremony, Liverpool 1953.

    Field Marshal Montgomery inspects men of 13 PARA (TA), Colours presentation ceremony, Liverpool 1953.

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein presenting the Colours to the 13 PARA (TA), Liverpool 1953.

    Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein presenting the Colours to the 13 PARA (TA), Liverpool 1953.

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Field Marshal Montgomery presents the Queen's Colour to 13 PARA (TA), Liverpool 1953.

    Field Marshal Montgomery presents the Queen's Colour to 13 PARA (TA), Liverpool 1953.

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Field Marshal Montgomery presents the Queen's Colour to 13 PARA (TA), Liverpool 1953.

    Field Marshal Montgomery presents the Queen's Colour to 13 PARA (TA), Liverpool 1953.

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Newspaper photograph 15 PARA Colours presentation, Glasgow September 1952.

    Newspaper photograph 15 PARA Colours presentation, Glasgow September 1952.

    1 Image
  • Field Marshal Montgomery inspecting the Guard of Honour, 15 PARA Colours Presentation, Glasgow 1952.

    Field Marshal Montgomery inspecting the Guard of Honour, 15 PARA Colours Presentation, Glasgow 1952.

    1 Image
  • 5th Parachute Brigade listen to Field Marshal Montgomery at HQ near Osnabruck, 1945.

    5th Parachute Brigade listen to Field Marshal Montgomery at HQ near Osnabruck, 1945.

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • Programme for the meeting of Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery and Marshal Rokossovsky

    Programme for the meeting of Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery and Marshal Rokossovsky

    1 Image Buy Prints
  • RSM Johnson receiving the Military Medal from Field Marshal Montomery, 1944.

    RSM Johnson receiving the Military Medal from Field Marshal Montomery, 1944.

    1 Image

Paintings and Prints_1

  • Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery as Colonel Commandant by unknown artist

    Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery as Colonel Commandant by unknown artist

    1 Image

Solo photos_4

Letters and Cards_3

  • Personal message from General Montgomery, Commander of the Eighth Army.

    Personal message from General Montgomery, Commander of the Eighth Army.

    1 Item
  • Hand written foreword by FM Montgomery of Alamein for the book "The Red Beret", 1950.

    Hand written foreword by FM Montgomery of Alamein for the book "The Red Beret", 1950.

    1 Item
  • Letter from Field Marshal Montgomery to Charles Strafford December 1948

    Letter from Field Marshal Montgomery to Charles Strafford December 1948

    1 Item

Newspaper extracts_2

  • Members of 14 Platoon, Junior Para Company, saluting party for Field Marshal Montgomery Funeral. 1976.

    Members of 14 Platoon, Junior Para Company, saluting party for Field Marshal Montgomery Funeral. 1976.

    1 Item
  • Newspaper article on 15 PARA Colours presentation, 1952.

    Newspaper article on 15 PARA Colours presentation, 1952.

    1 Item

Documents_1

Pegasus extracts_1

Latest Comments

There are currently no comments for this content.

Add your comment