MONTGOMERY of Alamein, Field-Marshal.
A Collection of Field-Marshal Montgomery’s Personal Messages to 21 Army Group.
Normandy to the Baltic 6 June 1944 - 8 May 1945.
Gen. Allan Adair’s copy, inscribed to him by Montgomery; “To: Allan Adair; Guards Army DIV with all good wishes. B. L. Montgomery, Field-Marshal, Germany 20-6-45”. This collection brings together all of the messages issued by Monty during the drive across Europe. A practice begun during the campaign in the Western Desert, these pithy messages typify of his morale- and team-building techniques. Scarce, not on Copac, OCLC records copies in Toronto Public Library, US Army, Military History Institute, National Library of South Africa, and Het Legermuseum, Delft only. Two copies in the Imperial War Museum, one being that inscribed for the IWM by Monty himself. An extremely uncommon and desirable item, here with an important association. Adair had served with the Grenadier Guards distinction in the Great War, winning an MC and bar, and from 1942 to 1945 he was General Officer Commanding the Guards Armoured Division. The Division landed in Normandy on 28 June 1944 as part part of VIII Corps, first seeing action during Operation Goodwood in July, and during the folliwng month in Operation Bluecoat. Following the Allied breakout they advanced across Northern France and into Belgium as part of XXX Corps. The division liberated Brussels, after making an unprecedented advance from Douai, 97 miles away, in only fourteen hours. The Division then took a leading role in the ground advance in Operation Market Garden in September. Held in reserve during the Battle of the Bulge, the Division was committed to the Battle of the Reichswald (Operation Veritable) in February and March 1945. After the German surrender in May 1945 the Division remained as part of the occupying forces. In his autobiography – a signed copy, very good in jacket, is included in this lot, together with a copy of The Guards Magazine, Autumn 1988, containing Adair’s obituary – Adair discusses his relationship with Monty: “Monty had a good grasp of how things were going although … he was not as good as Horrocks in giving me clear instructions as to what was wanted. However, Monty was good at keeping in touch, and I remember him coming well forward in a little jeep, loaded with cigarettes and newspapers which he distributed to the men on the way. I was always very pleased to see him of course. He grew to like us all very much, and as the war went on he was most flattering about the division. Towards the end of Monty’s life Jock Askew went to see him, and they discussed various generals. My name came up. ‘Oh, General Allan,’ said Monty, ‘he was the only one I knew I could never sack. My job was to fight the Germans. I wasn’t prepared to fight the whole of the Brigade of Guards as well. All you Guardsmen would willingly have died twice a day for General Allan – not one of you would have died for me'” (p.150).
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Foolscap quarto, original black diced skiver, 21 Army Group shield and name gilt to upper board. Title page, Foreword, and 14 leaves reproducing Montgomery’s messages, the 21 Army Group device on the Christmas message hand-coloured. A little rubbed, the spine defective, lacking in part, but remains sound.