2718746 William Walter MONTGOMERY, DCM, 1 Irish Guards

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    LG - Viewing Page 2853 of Issue 36563

    Screen shot 2014-07-04 at 00.02.31.png Screen shot 2014-07-04 at 00.02.41.png
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Army Number: 2718746
    Rank: Guardsman
    Unit: Irish Guards
    POW Number: 52202
    Date of Capture:
    Place of Capture:
    Camp: Stalag IIIA
    TNA Reference:
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Army Number: 2718746
    Rank: Guardsman
    Unit: 1 Company, 1 Irish Guards
    Theatre: Italy
    Missing Personnel file: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Italy, Missing Personnel file
    TNA Reference: WO 361/784
    Notes: Date of Payment 14 January 1944, 3000 Local Currency ;
    Date of Payment 8 February 1944, 74 Lire, Local Currency ;
    Missing, POW 23 February 1944 ;
    Location as of 1 June 1945: 33 Vernon Street, Belfast, NI

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    Name: MONTGOMERY, William Walter
    Place of Birth:
    Residence: [33 Vernon Street] Belfast, Northern Ireland

    Army Number: 2718746
    Rank: Guardsman
    Regiment/Battalion: Irish Guards, 1st Battalion, [1 Company]
    As at 01/09/1939:
    Aquittance Roll: WO 361/784
    2718746 Montgomery Acquittance.png
    MONTGOMERY W 2718746 Guardsman Date of Payment 14 Jan 1944, 3000 Local Currency ; Date of Payment 8 Feb 1944, 74 Lire, Local Currency

    Location as of 1 Jun 1945: 33 Vernon Street, Belfast, NI 1 Coy. 1st Bn. Irish Guards Missing, POW 23 Feb 1944​

    Army Casualty List (WO 417):
    WO 417/72, List: 1394, 15th March 1944
    WOUNDED 04/02/1944
    2718746 Guardsman W Montgomery, 1st Bn Irish Guards​

    WO 417/73, List: 1401, 23rd March 1944
    2718746 Guardsman W Montgomery, 1st Bn Irish Guards​

    WO 417/87, List: 1659, 19th January 1945
    2718746 Guardsman W Montgomery, 1st Bn Irish Guards​

    WO 417/92, List: 1771, 1st June 1945
    2718746 Guardsman W Montgomery DCM, 1st Bn Irish Guards​

    POW Number: 52202
    Rank: Guardsman
    Name: W. Montgomery
    Camp: Stlg 3a Luckenwalde, Brandeburg, Germany

    Gallantry | J Collins Medals

    Campaign Medals:
    1939/45 Star
    Africa Star, Clasp 1st Army
    Italy Star
    Defence Medal
    War Medal​

    Gallantry Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal
    The Times: 16 Jun 1944 - D.C.M. Guardsman W. Montgomery
    The Times, 16th June 1944.png
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Italy

    London Gazette, 15th June, 1944:
    War Office, 15th June, 1944
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy —
    The Distinguished Conduct Medal.
    No 2718746 Guardsman Walter Montgomery, Irish Guards (Belfast).

    TNA Link:
    Recommendation for Award for Montgomery, William Walter Rank: Guardsman ... | The National Archives

    "24th Guards Brigade, 1st British Division, 6th American Corps. 2718746 Guardsman William Walter MONTGOMERY, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS.

    This Guardsman took part in the successful night attack by No. 1 Company on the night 29/30 January [1944] on the left of the main axis ANZIO-ALBANO Road. On reaching the objective, the ground was found to be covered by enemy tanks who attempted to prevent the Company digging in by putting up flares and firing Machine guns on the digging parties.

    All through the night this Guardsman gave what covering fire he could to this comrades by firing at the enemy tanks with his Bren gun. This covering fire could not be very effective, but it did force the enemy tanks to limit their visibility by shutting down their Visors and exposed this Guardsman to the continued attention of the enemy.

    When morning 30 January came and no Supporting arms or British Tanks appeared, the Company position was untenable and the Company was ordered to withdraw to another position on the flank. With great coolness and fine courage this Guardsman, accompanied by Guardsman TAYLOR, set up his Bren on the top of the Railway cutting and gave covering fire to the remainder of the Company as they withdrew across 400 yards of open country. The top of the railway cutting was level, clearly silhouetting this Guardsman’s head and shoulders. Besides presenting a good target to the front, he was also liable to be shot in the back by enemy Machine guns on the other side of the valley. Constant enemy fire did not disturb or deter him from his task. This Guardsman left the cutting in the last party with his Company Commander. Twice on the way back across the open stretch of open ground he halted to return the fire of enemy Machine guns once engaging, whilst in a standing position, a concealed German machine gun., 150 yards away and effectively silenced it. The outstanding courage, skill and coolness of this Guardsman greatly facilitated the withdrawal of his company and there is no doubt that a great man of his comrades owe their lives to his complete disregard for his own safety.

    In the action of the night 3 / 4 February this Guardsman was the first to engage and draw the enemy’s fire when the Battalion right flank was exposed. He was eventually taken prisoner but fought his way out, shooting several of his guards and escaped on a carrier. An officer in the same party said his coolness and bravery were quite remarkable. He had several days of really hard fighting and constant shelling but despite the physical strain he must have felt, was full of energy resource and cheerfulness. Despite being wounded in the leg he was back in the Battalion position that night (February 4). No personal danger could prevent this Guardsman from doing more than his duty and he earned the greatest admiration from all who saw him.

    I strongly recommend this Guardsman for the immediate award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

    CA Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Officer Commanding, 1st Battalion Irish Guards

    Granted an immediate D.C.M., HR Alexander, General, Commander-in-Chief, Allied Central Mediterranean Force.
    2718746 Guardsman MONTGOMERY William Walter, 1IG DCM 1.png 2718746 Guardsman MONTGOMERY William Walter, 1IG, DCM 2.png

    War Diaries: War Diary: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, September 1939 - July 1944
    Archive Files: WO 417, WO 361/784
    Publications: IG History pgs: 258, 264, 265, 279, 284, 301, 334, 336 (DCM), 337, 339, 340, 342, 343
    IG Journal:
    War Memorial:
    Irish Guards: Gallantry Awards & Honours - WWII Open Resource Group
    Irish Guards: Medal Roll Palestine Clasp 1936 - 1939 - WWII Open Resource Group
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    WO 361/784
    1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Italy, Missing Personnel file

    MONTGOMERY W 2718746 Guardsman Date of Payment 14 Jan 1944, 3000 Local Currency ; Date of Payment 8 Feb 1944, 74 Lire, Local Currency ; Location as of 1 Jun 1945: 33 Vernon Street, Belfast, NI 1 Coy. 1st Bn. Irish Guards Missing, POW 23 Feb 1944
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    via FindmyPast:

    First name(s)
    Last name Montgomery
    Year 1944
    Capture year 1944
    Service number 2718746
    Rank Guardsman
    Rank as transcribed Gdsmn
    Regiment Irish Guards
    Regiment as transcribed Irish Guards
    Theatre of war Italy, North Africa
    Archive reference: WO 417/72
    List: 1394, 15th March 1944
    WO 417:72 1IG Wounded.png
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    First name(s) W
    Last name Montgomery
    Year 1944
    Capture year 1944
    Service number 2718746
    Rank Guardsman
    Rank as transcribed Gdsmn
    Regiment Irish Guards
    Regiment as transcribed Irish Guards
    Theatre of war Italy, North Africa
    Archive reference WO 417/73
    List: 1401, 23rd March 1944
    WO 417:73, 1IG Missing.png
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    First name(s) W
    Last name Montgomery
    Year 1945
    Capture year 1944
    Service number 2718746
    Rank -
    Rank as transcribed Gdsm
    Regiment Irish Guards
    Regiment as transcribed Irish Guards
    Theatre of war Italy, Central Mediterranean
    Archive reference WO 417/87
    List: 1659, 19th January 1945

    WO 417:87, Montgomery POW.png
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    First name(s) W
    Last name Montgomery
    Year 1945
    Service number 2718746
    Rank -
    Rank as transcribed Gdsm
    Regiment Irish Guards
    Regiment as transcribed Irish Guards
    Archive reference WO 417/92
    List: 1771, 1st June 1945
    WO 417:92, IG POW liberation.png
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

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  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks for adding that link, much appreciated Steve.

    My father had a few stories to tell about Montgomery, he was quite a character as evidenced by the number of pages indexed under his name in the History

    War Diary: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, September 1939 - July 1944

    War Diary, 1944 February 11
    The heaviest fighting of the eleventh developed on the right where the 45 U.S. Division made an attempt to recapture the factory.
    Even so the German gunners did not neglect to give us some of their attention and the Battalion area was shelled at intervals throughout the day.
    This shelling had been becoming increasingly accurate and Ration Farm in particular was badly ‘pasted’, causing several casualties, including Lieutenant A.N. BELL, this time seriously wounded.
    During the day two small patrols were sent out.
    The first of these (Guardsman ELLIOT and Guardsman McCRACKEN, No. 3 Company) was sent out to locate an enemy sniper who had been troubling the platoon in Carrier Farm.
    The second, Guardsman MONTGOMERY and Guardsman ADAMSON, guided by Vittorio, the Italian, made a second, and this time successful attempt, to locate the so-called Fascist Spies.
    They returned to Battalion H.Q. with their prize - an unimpressive looking little Italian Army Captain, his aide, and an Alsatian dog.
    After a lengthy deliberation the Adjutant decided not to shoot them and they were passed on to Brigade H.Q.

    Towards dark the weather, which had been generally bad for forty-eight hours, began to improve and by the time the Quartermaster arrived with the rations, it had stopped raining although the ground was still very wet and inches deep in mud.

    The History of the Irish Guards during the Second World War, FitzGerald, pg 301, :

    The Italians living in their separate cave had, so far, taken no part in the war, but one of them, called Vittorio, was the owner of "Ration Farm," and he was depressed by this turn of events. He came forward with the story that it was all due to some Fascist spies, and that he could show the Battalion where these spies were and so contribute to the Allied victory. He was put in charge of Guardsmen Montgomery and Adamson, two of the most forbidding-looking and resourceful men in the Battalion. They returned in about an hour with a small Italian Army captain, a smaller and even more terrified civilian, and a huge Alsatian dog. From the conversation which followed the Italians got the impression - as well they might - that they were going to be shot out of hand and fell on their knees weeping bitterly.

    Vittorio, the informer, repeated many times that, since the dog was an Alsatian, it must have been supplied by the Germans for the special purpose of carrying messages. The Italian captain swore that it had been his since it was a puppy, so the Sergeant-Major suggested a simple test.

    The dog was led away round a corner, and the Italian was told to call it. The Italian began confidently, but when no dog appeared, his voice rose in tones of shrill despair, particularly when he noticed Guardsmen Adamson and Montgomery significantly shifting Tommy guns from hand to hand.

    The Adjutant decided to look at the dog before doing anything hasty, went round the corner and found it, struggling desperately and half-strangled by a rope tied to its collar. Hanging on the rope was Major Kennedy. "A grand little dog," he said. "It took to me at once."

    The Italians were reprieved.

    War Diary: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, September 1939 - July 1944


    I have the honour to submit an account of the night attack and subsequent withdrawal of my own Company and of No. 1 Company while it is still fresh in my mind, which may be attached to the War Diary and possibly be of use in completing the Regimental History after the War.
    As far as possible with the latter consideration in view I have mentioned names, particularly of those who did outstanding work.

    During the morning of the 29th Company Commanders were sent for and ordered to go up to an O.P., in the area of one of the SCOTS GUARDS localities.
    The plan was explained.
    The object was to capture and hold the road running across the main road, No. 2 Company on the Right, No. 1 Company on the Left, No. 3 Company to provide Left flank protection and No. 4 Company to provide depth on the railway line.
    On the capture of the objective, which was to be the Start Line of an attack by the 3rd INFANTRY BRIGADE at 1200 hours on the 29th, No. 2 Company had to contact the SCOTS GUARDS on the Right and No. 1 Company had to contact No. 3 Company on the Left.
    As soon as possible supporting arms, including Tank Busters would come up, together with Company ‘F’ Echelon transport.
    From Zero minus 40 until Zero there was to be an artillery barrage from 200 yards in front of the Start Line which should lift on to the objective.
    From the O.P., already mentioned it was possible to see only a part of the objective and only certain areas of the ground to be crossed.
    There was little information of the enemy in this area.
    But it soon became obvious that there were enemy localities in the area because Company Commanders were straffed by German machine guns returning to their Companies.

    Zero Hour was put back three quarters of an hour and eventually the Companies led off to the Start Line, down the railway in the order:-
    No. 2 Company
    No. 1 Company, and
    No. 4 Company
    It is interesting to point out here that over sufficient time cannot be allowed for night movements, especially where Companies have to move in single file.
    On reaching the Start Line companies got into their deployed positions.
    This was somewhat difficult as, first the noise was excessive and second many of the shells were failing very short.
    However at Zero the two forward companies moved off, both two platoons up on either side of the railway line.
    Both Companies got about half way when German lights went up and one Machine gun from the Left opened up on No. 1 Company and then from the front at No. 2 Company.
    On the Right the ground was ideal for enemy machine guns, on the Left there was dead ground which extended to about 200 yards to the Left of the railway line.
    Fortunately No. 1 Company had made very good use of this and with one casualty reached its objectives.

    On the Right owing to the reasons already given also again to the fact which soon became obvious, insufficient artillery support, things were not so easy.
    Machine gun fire was accurate and unfortunately severely wounded the right hand Platoon Commander Lieutenant H. GILLOW and three or four men.
    Both forward platoons worked their way into a gully.
    Immediately Serjeant MURPHY, Platoon Serjeant of the Right hand platoon rallied his men and with cover from the Left hand platoon, attacked a small house on an old railway bed.
    The conduct of Serjeant MURPHY’s platoon in fact of the veritable nest of machine gunners was outstanding.
    Section Commanders led their sections in a most daring manner, Serjeant DEMPSEY, Corporal DAY and Lance Serjeant CARTLEDGE particularly showing enterprise and dash.
    This platoon took one post, which consisted of one machine gun and two rifle posts in the front of the house, the left hand section swung round on the left and took another post.
    The remainder of the platoon was advancing led by Serjeant MURPHY when another machine gun, as yet undetected but situated about 50 yards behind the house with light machine guns and riflemen with grenades opened up at point blank range; this platoon fought it out, just short of their objective but he fire was too deadly and just short of their objective they were overwhelmed.

    Meanwhile the left hand platoon had pushed slightly forward on the left which actually was then enemy’s F.D.Ls, as it had passed a machine gun post full of enemy dead.
    The reserve platoon (Serjeant GUNDEL) had been pinned down behind and, shortly, further fire was opened up on the two remaining platoons by enemy machine guns from the right, the objective of the left hand Company of the SCOTS GUARDS. Serjeant GUNDEL, cut off from the Company Commander, together with rear Company H.Q., wisely decided to get on the left of the railway line as they could not go forward.
    The Left hand platoon, Lieutenant C. BRAND, with advanced Company H.Q., then took the only course available, which was to pass round the left and get up to No. 1 Company.
    Except for a tussle with an invisible German grenade thrower, which wounded Serjeant WYLIE in the cheek, this was successfully done.
    They linked with Serjeant GUNDEL’s now weak platoon and the Company Commander got through on the wireless to Battalion H.Q.

    No. 1 and No. 2 Companies now formed four strong platoons in the area of the sunken road which was the left of the Battalion objective.
    It was learned that the left company of the SCOTS GUARDS had been unable to get up and so contact with them was impossible.

    Both Company Commanders shared their H.Q., as No. 2 Company’s wireless went off the air.
    Digging was extremely difficult on account of the extreme hardness of the ground; it did not make things any easier when the noise of the approach of tanks became obvious.
    It is interesting to note here how the Germans use so effectively three or four tanks in the moonlight.
    Lieutenant BARTLETT, No. 1 Company’s right hand platoon was ordered to prepare a 75 grenade in ordr to prevent tanks coming under the bridge into the sunken road and so into the position.
    But there is no doubt that although the grenade did no great damage to the leading tank it did frighten them considerably and for the remainder of the time that the Tanks remained in the area they could only be very unpleasant and not deadly.

    Shortly Lieutenant PRESTON arrived with a small patrol from No. 3 Company.
    He later remained with No. 1 and 2 Companies as he could not get back to his own Company.
    It was now getting fairly late and the fact that supporting arms could not get up became obvious.
    Contact was made with Battalion H.Q., and the situation explained.
    Very little news was known of No. 3 Company and shortly afterwards the only remaining wireless went off air.
    At 0600 hours on the 29th just as it was becoming light the situation was not very bright.
    Too much praise cannot be given to Lance Corporal HOLWELL, who mending his wireless in the open and in spit of fire from enemy tanks, succeeded in getting in touch at about 0615 hours when the force had orders to withdraw and link up with Battalion H.Q., who were in the area of the SCOTS GUARDS.
    It was decided to take the obvious route back down the railway line.
    The Companies were approaching this route when an Officer came running with a revolver from the area of some buildings from the right.
    The German officer was duly killed, but the fire attracted a nest of machine gunners in the area beyond.
    Bren Gun covering fire was not very effective because of the long range and the companies received rather heavy casualties getting into the railway embankment, unfortunately Company Serjeant Major GILMORE who had been invaluable throughout was mortally wounded along with Lance Corporal HOLWELL who was killed.

    Touch was made with Battalion H.Q., again and the only help they could give effectively was asked for, that of providing smoke.
    The leading platoon - Lieutenant P. DA COSTA led off with this platoon, again covering fire was not very effective because of the long range, and enemy machine gun fire very deadly.
    Lieutenant P. DA COSTA was killed leading his platoon back, Lieutenant BARTLETT took his platoon slightly left down a gully, this platoon also received casualties.
    Lieutenant BRAND took his platoon with No. 2 Company’s H.Q., attached down the railway line.
    It is time now to mention admirable work done by Corporal MORIARTY, No. 2 Company Corporal in charge Stretcher Bearers.
    He had an immensely difficult time during the night attack walking under fire and collecting wounded in the pitch dark.
    Battalion H.Q. collected all the wounded and harboured them under the railway line.
    During the morning of the 30th Lance Corporal MORIARTY again, with no consideration for his own safety, collected all the wounded, bandaged them and freed them of any pain, remaining with them all that day and night until they could be evacuated.
    He reported at about 2400 hours on the night of the 30th as if he had been on a Battalion scheme.

    Finally the time came for the covering party to retire.
    Unfortunately Guardsman TAYLOR was wounded in the leg and had to remain with the wounded.
    Both he and Guardsman MONTGOMERY did invaluable work by providing continuous fire for about an hour.
    German mortars and 88 mm. soon put down accurate fire on the railway line, one of which cut Major Sir Ian STEWART-RICHARDSON on the eye, but he remained at duty, and shortly afterwards Lieutenant PRESTON was killed.
    It was owing to admirable leadership of platoon and section commander, that in spite of what looked like a very ugly situation, a company could be formed immediately on reaching Battalion H.Q., and that some of the men of both companies who had been captured had been able to turn on their captors and bring them in.
    Valuable information was given to the Officer Commanding the DUKE OF WELLINGTON REGIMENT, who eventually was to carry out an attack with Tanks at approximately 1800 hours with special reference to ground he had not seen and known machine gun posts.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Some wonderful info on him there Diane. I was doing my usual trawl through some of the medal dealer sites to see what was new. I saw Sgt. Montgomery's DCM group and thought, I know someone who will be interested in this. Groups, even those with such a top end price tag, will sell quite quickly, so make sure you secure the details before that happens.
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  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Sgt. Montgomery's medals are now reserved. Although £4500 is a lot of money, I'm surprised it has taken this long for them to sell.
    dbf likes this.
  14. I would just like to add that I had the pleasure of knowing and working along side Monty at LEC refrigeration in Bognor Regis between 1982 and 1985. A mountain of a man with a kind heart. I was not long out the Army and he pushed me towards a career in the Police. Sadly i lost touch over the years. I think I was the only one he talked to about his exploits and I also took his advice and have just retired after 33 years in the Police. All down to Monty..
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