Monty on Desert Island Discs

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Ramiles, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The 1000th edition of this: on Sat 20 Dec 1969:

    Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

    Roy Plomley's castaway is field marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.

    Lots of biographical info from Monty because as usual this format seems to do rather a good job in drawing the interviewee out.

    Favourite track: Sei Nicht Bos/Don't be cross (from Der Obersteiger) by Carl Zeller sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
    (Very interesting other choices too)

    Book: The History of Warfare by Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (His own book ;) ) - 28.30mins in he apologies for this "very horrifying" choice and explains why. Ponders how we can stop people fighting.

    Luxury: Piano (Because he says he wants to learn to play and was always very sorry that he never had the time)

    And at IWM: (Though not currently available to view online) :

    11 ms letters written by Montgomery between November 1969 and September 1970 to Roy Plomley, presenter of the long-running BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs, concerning Montgomery's appearance on the 1000th show and other radio programmes which he made shortly afterwards, as well as 4 ts letters from Plomley to Montgomery. There is also one Christmas card, dated 1970, from Montgomery to Plomley.

    Similarly some biographical info on Monty is discussed at :

    Al Murray on Bernard Montgomery :
    "In defeat, unbeatable; in victory, unbearable" - so said Winston Churchill on this week's Great Life, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery. Many would argue that he was Britain's greatest field commander since Wellington - arrogant, hard to like but undeniably successful - one of the most, perhaps the most, conspicuously successful British commander of the Second World War. He was a national celebrity. In this edition of Great Lives - Al Murray - comedian and TV personality best known for his character of 'The Pub Landlord' champions Monty - and Al starts off by showing presenter Matthew Parris his action figure doll of the man."
    Owen likes this.
  2. Richard G

    Richard G Junior Member

    Montgomery was made for war, unlike his NA contemporaries who were too decent to send soldiers off to their death, which is basically what a commander has to do in war. With an overall consideration of keeping casualties to a minimum but an over riding determination to win the battle. That's what it takes, to hesitate, to visualize the carnage, is to fail..

    Harder still when your country has not provided you with the best equipment to do the job. He had to be a freak, someone who in peacetime would today be shunned by the gentle PC folk who would in their ignorance lead us all to less.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Cheers for that, am listening now.
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    In the “Desert Island Discs” Monty mentions being burgled at about 16.30mins in. And according to....

    Montgomery was never raised to an earldom like his wartime contemporaries Harold Alexander, Louis Mountbatten and even Archibald Wavell, but unlike them he had never been a Theatre Supreme Commander or held high political office. An official task he insisted on performing in his later years was bearing the Sword of State during the State Opening of Parliament. His increasing frailty, however, raised concerns about his ability to stand for long periods while carrying the heavy weapon. Ultimately, those fears were borne out when he collapsed in mid-ceremony in 1968 and did not perform this function again. A favourite pastime of the British press during these years was to photograph Montgomery cashing his old age pension cheque at the local social security office. Due to his eminence, many assumed Montgomery was wealthy and did not need the money. In fact, he had always been a man of modest means and it caused him great anguish that many believed he was taking taxpayer money he did not need. Another blow was a break-in at his home. Despite his making a televised appeal for the return of his possessions, the items were never recovered.”

    I wasn’t sure? if there was a simple way to see online what went missing there and whether or not any of it ever actually surfaced again – but didn’t make much progress, lots of dead-ends, albeit this I think was quite an interesting article:

    Especially in reference to the house and the comparison with Marlborough and the gift of Blenheim etc.

    And in the “Legacy section” of

    “The Montgomery cocktail is a martini mixed at a ratio of 15:1, facetiously named that because Montgomery supposedly refused to go into battle unless his numerical advantage was at least that high. Montgomery himself never smoked nor drank.”

    Whereas Monty himself says in the Desert Island interview at about 5.15mins in that he did smoke at least once, and was “caught smoking in the garden” – he was taken into the Chapel by his father and beaten by his mother. He didn’t drink but wouldn’t sign the pledge.

    And whilst "Montgomery himself never smoked nor drank" makes it sound (perhaps?) like this was a Monty character trait:

    Has... "Ironically, following severe internal injuries received in the First World War, Montgomery himself could neither smoke nor drink"

    Good to hear him though in his own words on Desert Island Discs. After all these years I don't suppose that there was ever a copy kept of "Despite his making a televised appeal for the return of his possessions" - whatever happened to honour among thieves? :mad:

    At least Bob Monkhouse got his joke books back:

    Bob Monkhouse (From - New Year's Day 1999) -
    Sue Lawley's castaway this morning is the comedian and television host Bob Monkhouse. He began his career as a schoolboy writing jokes for established comedians. Later he became a gag writer for radio. But it was television which made his name. From the Golden Shot to Bob's Full House, he reckons he's hosted more than 27 different shows.
    [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
    Favourite track: Adagio for Strings, Opus 11 by Samuel Barber
    Book: The Adventures of Alice by Lewis Carroll
    Luxury: Clarinet
  5. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    My preference has always been for radio and there are thousands of BBC broadcasts of all genres from new to the 1950's. Since my son bought me wireless headphones, I have been working about the garden and house listening to drama, archive Desert Island Discs, The Navy Lark etc. I am in seventh heaven. Beats the telly any day.
    dbf likes this.

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