David Montgomery, 2nd Viscount of Alamein, and son of WWII British hero Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, passed away on January 8, 2020. Along with being “Monty’s” son, a member of the House of Lords (1976-1999), an international businessman, and author/historian, David was a close friend of The National WWII Museum. Our relationship with David began before we opened our doors in June of 2000 as The National D-Day Museum, participating in programs both in the States and abroad with our Founders Stephen Ambrose and Nick Mueller.
In 2005, on one of the Museum’s first Educational Travel Programs, I had the pleasure of meeting David. He addressed our group onboard the HMS Belfast during a luncheon. He gave a soft spoken presentation on his famous father, the commanders of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force), and the D-Day invasion. With a deft balance, David was able to provide an insightful presentation as a scholar of the war, while also serving as protector of Monty’s legacy, as he is his only child.
He did this bravely, many times in front of our Travel groups, which consisted primarily of Americans who certainly had strong opinions about the famous British Field Marshal. To the credit of his delivery and charm, David was able to open our guests’ minds and eyes to see Monty in a different and more appreciative light—which is not easy task.
For many years, Viscount Montgomery addressed our groups, carried the torch of his father’s and family’s legacy, and sought to make strong bonds internationally. One of his closest relationships was with Manfred Rommel, the son of Monty’s chief adversary “the Desert Fox,” German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
My most poignant memory of my first meeting with David, which I noted in my travel journal in 2005, was how he inserted moments of humor in his talk. He had a “charming, dare I say ‘adorable’ snort, when he would gently laugh at his own jokes.”
We will miss David, and his laugh, but are grateful for the decades of friendship and the memories of our encounters.