Maud (Farrar) Montgomery mother to Field-Marshall Montgomery

Discussion in 'The Women of WW2' started by 7mark, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. 7mark

    7mark Active Member

    Lady Montgomery lived in Moville, Donegal, Ireland, the same place my mothers family are from. My grandmother worked with her during WW2, she always said that her and the Field-Marshall didn't get on too well. She was though very popular in the area. Unfortunately my Grandmother is no longer with us so in-depth questioning is not possible :(

    I am just surprised she was allowed to live there. In a "Neutral" country. I don't think this would be allowed in this day and age.
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    7Mark
    Think Monty's Mother had it right as He didn't like her at all as when in Tasmania
    she would tell the other children to see what Bernard was up to - and tell him to stop it !

    Monty saw to it that she was not allowed to make any contact with his son David- he was always strange about family as he ignored his Sister once after being told that she was waiting for him....he never met her !

    Cheers
     
  3. 7mark

    7mark Active Member

    Never went to her Funeral either, mind u he refused to go to Churchhills funeral as well lol
     
  4. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    She was a remarkable lady of strong Christian conviction according to my father who had a rather unusual meeting with her in the late 1940's. He was a young matlo on board ship when it anchored in the bay where they were on some kind of manoeuvres out of Londonderry for a couple of weeks. My father got permission from the captain to go ashore for Sunday service. That afternoon he got summoned to the bridge and a bewildered captain said "I don't know why it's not for me, but an invite to tea with Lady Montgomery has been brought to the ship for the sailor who attended church service this morning. On Saturday the boat will take you and her car will meet you at the jetty." Somewhat bemused my father went and spent several hours talking with Lady Montgomery at her home at New Park. He said the conversation ranged from the Christian faith to her pride in the success of her son at Alamein and her frustrations that he wasn't listened to properly during the north-west European campaign to the delights of the Donegal scenery. She explained my father was invited as she was intrigued by the young sailor who went to church when neither the captain nor any other from the ship's company attended. When tea, served by the maid, was over Lady Montgomery said "I brought you here by my car. I want you to walk back taking the route I take to church, and that will be my last word to you." So my father set out as directed and came to an entrance into the churchyard at St Columb's. It was a low gateway with an inscription over the top quoting words by Herrick "Humble ye must be if to Heaven ye would go, High is the roof thereof, but the door is low." In that way Lady Montgomery told my father he shouldn't brag to his ship about where he'd been! My father never forgot his visit and now he's with his Saviour I have the signed booklet Lady Montgomery gave him to mark the occasion - 26 June 1948.


    New Park was the home of her in laws which she inherited. Her father in law was Sir Robert Montgomery, the Governor of the Punjaub, and had received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament for disarming the troops at Meerut and so saving the Punjaub. Her father was the Rev F W Farrar and her mother was a Cardew from Cornwall.

    As I understand it she wasn't keen on Bernard marrying Betty Carver, a widow with 2 sons. However she speaks fondly of him in her memoirs "I remember - I remember."
     
  5. 7mark

    7mark Active Member

    I know theres a letter in the Imperial War Museum that the Field Marshal wrote to her in Donegal, I have a picture of it somewhere, I just wish I had questioned my grandmother before she passed away, but she was a person who would never repeat rumour, or tales, I do believe though that her father Rev F W Farrar married my Great grand parents and they attended his parish.
     
  6. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Rev F W Farrar was assistant master at Marlborough College, then at the school at Harrow-on-the-Hill, before returning to Marlborough as headmaster for 6 years. Farrar became successively a canon of Westminster and rector of St Margaret's Westminster(the church near Big Ben), archdeacon of Westminster Abbey and chaplain to the House of Commons reading the prayers every day they were sitting, and the Dean of Canterbury.


    Maud met her future husband when she was 12, became engaged at 14 and married before she was 17. Her husband, 18 years her senior, was the Rev Henry H Montgomery, vicar of St Mark's Kennington. He later became the Bishop of Tasmania. Bernard was born in London but spent some of his early childhood in Tasmania. His mother credits the relief of Mafeking and its celebration as the event that ignited the martial spirit in him.
     
  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    CornwallPhil

    not too surprised that she was a strong Christian as the daughter of one clergyman and married to another - Monty always had that strength- one time on lecturing the troops
    he advocated "killing Germans " even the padres - once per day and twice on Sundays ....
    Cheers
     
  8. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I've read some of Hamilton's most recent Montgomery biography, and if he is correct the woman was something of a tyrant to Bernard and the other children. Obviously she had another side too, but it isn't hard to see where Monty got the steel in his character from.
     
  9. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Hamilton's account seemed to have a certain agenda. Brian Montgomery in his memoirs "A Field Marshall in the Family" states "Bernard did not grow up in an atmosphere of fear - of mother - or develop any inward-looking, withdrawn characteristics because of her."
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    CornwallPhil
    I too would defend my brother from any outsider - but her well known phrase - "go see what Bernard is doing - and tell him to stop" indicates that she knew he was trouble and was determined to change his behaviour - and no doubt Monty rejected this - Hamilton also had access to ALL his diaries - records etc so I don;t see an agenda - only facts - he was always trouble especially with people he had little time for - the list is a long one as Lt Gen Lumsden claimed on being fired by Monty before Medenine - " there wasn't any room for two shits in the desert " -

    Or as a friend a Colonel claimed that his Army Commander wrote on his annual report that " No man should follow this Officer - even out of curiosity " - no names - no pack drill etc .....Monty had NO time for less than professional actions...
    Cheers
     
  11. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Monty always described himself as the bad boy of the family. I agree he didn't suffer fools during his military career. However Hamilton seemed intent on explaining his military career as being driven by his supposed repressed homosexuality and that's an opinion I don't share. Talking of the Montgomerys towards the end of his life Monty said "We have all kept on the rails. There have been no scandals in the family; none of us have appeared in the police courts or gone to prison." Although Monty often bemoaned his childhood he is also on record as saying as he grew older and became a parent he came to respect his mother more and more.
     
  12. 7mark

    7mark Active Member

    Just got brians book from ebay, but another family member stole it on arrival, have to wait til they r finished with it to get a read :)

    Hamilton's account seemed to have a certain agenda. Brian Montgomery in his memoirs "A Field Marshall in the Family" states "Bernard did not grow up in an atmosphere of fear - of mother - or develop any inward-looking, withdrawn characteristics because of her."
     
  13. 7mark

    7mark Active Member

    From the letter he wrote in 1931 which is in the IWM he talks quite respectful to his mother, and much about religion, i have it in photograph, but only top half is readable, i'll post it tomorrow

    Monty always described himself as the bad boy of the family. I agree he didn't suffer fools during his military career. However Hamilton seemed intent on explaining his military career as being driven by his supposed repressed homosexuality and that's an opinion I don't share. Talking of the Montgomerys towards the end of his life Monty said "We have all kept on the rails. There have been no scandals in the family; none of us have appeared in the police courts or gone to prison." Although Monty often bemoaned his childhood he is also on record as saying as he grew older and became a parent he came to respect his mother more and more.
     
  14. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I should say here that I interviewed Hamilton in the course of my research, and found him most helpful and polite. I don't know what to think about his theories of Montgomery's sexual nature; such areas are always treacherous ground for the biographer and even for the trained psychologist. My own inclination in this case and all such cases is to return the Scotch verdict. On other and better documented matters, however, Hamilton was quite insightful, both in person and in print. Hamilton admires Montgomery but he is well aware of the man's faults, in particular his sudden changes of mood from trust in certain persons and military outfits to complete coldness and disdain.

    I have no doubt, by the way, that Montgomery's religious faith was deep and sincere. That ran in the family, as did the sharpness of character he got from his mother. Not all accomplished people are pleasant.
     
  15. 7mark

    7mark Active Member

    What i find very surprising is that she was engaged at 14 to man who was 32, not what i would say would be a very acceptable practise in today's modern world, I believe doing something like that now would land the man prision
     
  16. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    I had no idea Monty had a mother, I always considered him as Heaven's direct gift to Britain. Problem was that he might have thought so as well :lol:
     
  17. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    TTH - thoughtful post. Guess we are all human - even religious people. Hamilton's book seemed to reflect his journalistic nose for a headline. A number of others, including the likes of Carver, have dismissed his main premise.

    7mark - an age difference was quite common in Victorian society perhaps reflecting their social perspectives on the roles of men and women.
     
  18. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    TTH - thoughtful post. Guess we are all human - even religious people. Hamilton's book seemed to reflect his journalistic nose for a headline.

    I am not sure what you mean when you say 'even religious people' are human. Why would anyone suppose otherwise? Many religious people are so because they are painfully aware of their weaknesses and need all the help they can get. But this may lead us into the kind of debate that the mods have disallowed here--sensibly, in my opinion. What is certain is that Montgomery's faith was a source of strength for him, and he is not the only soldier for whom that was (and is) true.

    On the matter of Mr. Hamilton's motives, I am not a mind-reader but he was very kind and helpful to me. I have no doubt that his view of Montgomery's sexual nature is sincerely held. He told me that he had hesitated for a long time before committing his views to print, and only did so because he felt it was important for historical reasons; in his view, Montgomery's sexual nature explains much of his personality and many of his actions, and is thus relevant to any assessment of one of Britain's finest 20th Century soldiers. By publishing his theory Hamilton lost the friendship of Montgomery's son and a good deal of his credit in the military history community, so I don't think he published his theory lightly or did so merely to catch pennies. This does not mean that his theory is correct, or that I agree with it. But a man can be wrong (wholly or in part) from honest motives; it happens every day.
     
  19. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    TTH - I think we are in agreement.
     
  20. 7mark

    7mark Active Member

    its great how posts drift, this is about his mother not Bernard Montgomery's faith or sexuality (Which TBH i believe have no relevance to his behaviour or decision making), so i'll quote David Montgomery on the subject "absurd, appalling, and complete psychobabble" and also Alistair Horne "This sounds to me like Hamilton is rehashing his old work for a tabloid readership. I served under Montgomery in the Middle East and I have absolutely no evidence whatsoever of repressed, or any other kind, of homosexuality." The evidence used is bizarre and somewhat tabloid orientated because at the end of the day he didn't sleep with men or boys, he had a wife and he had children.

    You can basically say anyone is an oppressed homosexual, when they can't defend themselves. Maybe he liked children and young men because he sacrificed so many during the war and had a burden of guilt that he had to live with for so many years. Personally i wouldn't have liked to be in his shoes but the suggestion by Hamilton goes much much further than being Homosexual as he make suggestions about young boys too.
     

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