Skip to main content

Bernard, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, universally known as Monty, was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath and his stall plate can be seen on the north side of Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. He died on 24th March 1976 and his funeral was held at St George's chapel Windsor Castle and he is buried at Binstead in Hampshire near his home. He was a great supporter of the Abbey Choir and presented the Senior Chorister badge and helped to wrest the Choir School building out of War Office hands after the Second World War. Christmas parties were often hosted by him.

He was born on 17th November 1887 at his father's vicarage in London, one of nine children. His father was the Reverend Henry Montgomery who married Maud, daughter of Frederic William Farrar (Canon of Westminster and Rector of St Margaret's Westminster) in Henry VII's chapel in 1881. Early years were spent in Tasmania where his father was Bishop and on returning to England he and brother Donald were educated at St Paul's school Hammersmith (which later was Monty's HQ in the run up to the D-Day landings). After attending Sandhurst military academy he served in India, in the Great War, Ireland and Palestine and became an instructor at Camberley Staff College. He married widow Betty Carver and they had a son David. She died tragically in 1937 after an insect bite became infected. As General of the 3rd Division of the British Army he helped save the British Expeditionary Force in the retreat to Dunkirk during the Second World War and became commander of the Eighth Army in Egypt. It was here that he completely turned around the fortunes of the Allies fighting in the desert against Rommel's Afrika Corps, inspiring his men and giving rousing speeches. Winston Churchill ordered the bells in England to be rung in honour of the victory at El Alamein in North Africa, a turning point in the war. The Abbey bells were rung on Sunday 15th November 1942 and large numbers of people attended the services (this was the first time bells had been rung in the country since the start of the war as prior to this bells would have signalled an invasion). Commemorations of the battle have been held in the Abbey in 1992, 2002 and 2012. In 1944 he was made a Field Marshal and was Commander in Chief of land forces planning, under General Eisenhower, for the historic Normandy landings on 6th June 1944 which would eventually free Europe and end the war there in May 1945.

Further reading

B.L. Montgomery "The memoirs of Field Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein", 1958

N. Hamilton "Monty", 3 vols, 1981-86.

A statue of Monty stands in Whitehall in London.

Order of Service from Evensong marking 70th Anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein - 27th October 2012

Born

17th November 1887

Died

24th March 1976

Field

Writer; soldier

Location

Lady Chapel

Memorial Type

Stall Plate

Bernard, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Bernard, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein Bath stall plate

© The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Related Commemorations

T.S._Eliot,_1923.JPG

Thomas Stearns Eliot

1888-1965
Writer and Poet
DH Lawrence NPG

David Herbert Lawrence

1885-1930
Writer, Poet and Novelist
westminster-abbey-padres-flag-st-georges-chapel

Reverend David Railton

1884-1955
Priest and Soldier
westminster-abbey-dowding-grave

Hugh & Muriel Dowding

1882-1970
Airman
Sir-Arthur-Harris-CC

Sir Arthur Harris

1892-1984
Airman

The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

spacer

The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

Twitter logo Tweet this