Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein Biography

Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, a British Army officer, gained international recognition for his exceptional leadership as an Allied commander in World War II. Despite sustaining injuries in World War I, Montgomery displayed immense courage and patriotism by returning to the front lines after recovering. Although he had a difficult childhood, marked by an abusive and indifferent mother, Montgomery overcame his troubled past and transformed into a disciplined and courageous young man. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, he embarked on a remarkable career that spanned both World Wars. Renowned for his expertise in training troops, Montgomery commanded the 8th Infantry Division in Palestine during World War II. Following the war, he served as the deputy commander of the Supreme Headquarters of NATO for seven years.

Quick Facts

  • British Celebrities Born In November
  • Also Known As: Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
  • Died At Age: 88
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Elizabeth Carver
    • Father: Henry Montgomery
    • Mother: Maud (née Farrar)
    • Siblings: Donald Montgomery, Harold Montgomery, Sibyl Montgomery, Una Montgomery
    • Children: 2nd Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, David Montgomery
  • Born Country: England
  • Military Leaders
  • British Men
  • Height: 5’6″ (168 cm), 5’6″ Males
  • Died on: March 24, 1976
  • Place of death: Alton, Hampshire, England
  • City: London, England
  • Notable Alumni: Royal Military College, Sandhurst
  • More Facts
  • Education: Royal Military College, Sandhurst

Childhood & Early Life

Bernard Law Montgomery was born on 17 November 1887, in Kennington, London, to an Anglo-Irish Church of Ireland minister, the Reverend Henry Montgomery, and his wife, Maud. He was the fourth of their nine children. His father travelled a lot, leaving his wife to tend to the children. His mother used to beat the children frequently and was indifferent to their needs. Bernard became a bully as a result of the hardships he suffered.

He received his schooling from King’s School, Canterbury, and St Paul’s School, London. Then he enrolled at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from where he graduated in 1908.


Upon his graduation, he was commissioned into the 1st Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a second lieutenant. His first overseas service was in late 1908 in India. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1910 and was made adjutant of the 1st Battalion of his regiment at Shorncliffe Army Camp in 1912.

When World War I broke out, Montgomery was deployed to France with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). He was severely wounded in October 1914 when he was shot through the right lung by a sniper. He rejoined duty soon after recovering and became General Staff Officer 1 by the time the war ended.

In the years following the World War I he attended the Staff College and was promoted to the rank of Major in July 1925. He went on to serve in India, Egypt and Palestine.

The World War II broke out in 1939 and during the early months of the war he led a division in France and commanded the southeastern section of England in anticipation of a German invasion after the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk.

The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appointed him commander of the British Eighth Army in North Africa in 1942. His assumption of command boosted the morale of the staff working under him. A meticulous planner, he was determined that the Army, Navy and Air Forces should fight their battles in a unified, focused manner. Under his direction, the Battle of El Alamein proved to be a great success and Montgomery was promoted to full General.

He played a major role in the invasion of Normandy in 1944 following which he was promoted to Field Marshal. In this position he led his army to major victories across northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and northern Germany. Finally on May 4, 1945, he accepted the surrender of the German northern armies on Lüneburg Heath.

After the war, Bernard Montgomery became the Commander in Chief of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). He served as the Chief of the Imperial General Staff from 1946 to 1948, but was not successful in this position as he lacked the political and diplomatic skills required for this job.

From 1948 to 1951, he served as the Chairman of the Western European Union’s commanders-in-chief committee and was then made the deputy commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization under Dwight Eisenhower. He retired in 1958 at the age of 71.

Major Works

His services to the British Army during the World War II were of tremendous significance. Montgomery was the one who accepted the unconditional surrender of the German forces on May 4, 1945 at Lüneburg Heath, east of Hamburg. The surrender marked the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.

Awards & Achievements

Bernard Montgomery received several prestigious awards over the course of his long and illustrious military career. One of the first awards he received was the Distinguished Service Order for gallant leadership in 1914. He was created Viscount Montgomery of Alamein in 1946, in recognition of his crucial victory in the Second Battle of El Alamein. He became an internationally famous war veteran after the World War II and was honored not only in his own homeland, but in nations across the globe. Some of the international honors he received were Knight of the Order of the Elephant (Denmark, 1945), Distinguished Service Medal (USA, 1947), Grand Cross of the Order of the White Lion (Czechoslovakia, 1947), and Médaille militaire (France, 1958).

Personal Life & Legacy

He met Elizabeth Carver, the widow of Oswald Carver who was killed in World War I, in 1927 and married her. The couple had one son, David. His beloved wife died of an infection in 1937 leaving him devastated. He died on 24 March 1976 in Alton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, at the age of 88.

Leave a Comment