The Royal Regiment Of Fusiliers Museum (Warwickshire)

St John's House, Warwick, CV34 4NF

Call Us on 01926 491653 visit our museum shop Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

Montgomery was the son of the Bishop of Tasmania and was strictly brought up, having to stand to attention while his room was inspected, do lessons and attend chapel - all before breakfast. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and at St Paul's School, London. Having chosen a career in the army, he went to the Royal Military College and elected to join the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as an officer in 1908. He served in India until 1913 when the Battalion returned to England, in time for the First World War, during which he was twice wounded and was awarded the DSO.

In 1926 whilst an instructor at the Staff College he fell in love and married, his son being born in 1928. In 1930 the War Office selected Montgomery to re-write the manual of Infantry Training, a sure sign that his fame was spreading. Promoted Lieutenant Colonel, he took command of the 1st Royal Warwickshires and moved with them to Palestine and later, Egypt. Montgomery was then posted as Colonel and Chief Instructor to the Staff College, Quetta.

Given command of the 9th Infantry Brigade back in England, he put his carefully thought out and studied ideas into practice. He was promoted to Major General and sent to form the 8th Division in Palestine to quell a rebellion. In 1939, he was recalled to take command of the 3rd Division, a unit earmarked to be in the Expeditionary Force on the continent in the event of war. War soon came and Montgomery's Division distinguished itself in France, eventually withdrawing through Dunkirk.

In 1942, "Monty" was sent to command the Eighth Army and soon the soldiers knew the slight, wiry General who wore two badges in his beret for he drove round to see them all and promised them victory. Then at the Battle of Alamein Montgomery drove Rommel's forces headlong across North Africa into Tunisia.

In 1944 he returned to the UK to command the 21st Army Group (1st Canadian and 2nd British armies), preparing for the invasion of Europe. On the 6th of June, he commanded all the Allied Forces for the landings at Normandy and then took his Army Group across Northwest Europe and into Germany. On May 4th 1945, at Luneburg Heath, Field Marshal Montgomery received the surrender of the Germans. He was soon to be called back to England to take office as Chief of the Imperial General Staff - the highest ranking soldier in Britain, responsible for the organisation of the army and the welfare of everyone in it.

His last appointment was as Deputy Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Europe. He retired in 1958 after fifty years of continuous duty, although he still held the position of Colonel of the Regiment - his beloved Royal Warwickshires.

In 1976 this brilliant, single-minded and outspoken soldier died. Prominent among those who buried him were the immediate successors of the Royal Warwickshires - the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

As a soldier he will always be remembered as a General who greatly influenced military thinking, who would not attack until his forces were ready and who made himself known to his troops by personal contact and made each man feel he had an important part to play.