Montgomery Gardens are in the western part of Salisbury, leading off from Christie Miller Road.
I don’t know why the road is named Montgomery Gardens, but there are two strong possibilities:
- it’s a reference to the Earldom of Montgomery, a title held by the Herbert family of Wilton House
- it’s a tribute to the ware hero Montgomery of el Alamein
The Earl of Montgomery
The Herberts of Wilton House are most often associated with the Earldom of Pembroke, however they the Earl of Pembroke also inherits the title of Earl of Montgomery.
This goes back to the ‘incomparable pair of brethren’ to whom Shakespeare dedicated his first folio – William and Philip.
William had inherited the title of Earl of Pembroke on the death of his father in 1601, but Philip, as the younger brother, had no title.
They were both very popular with James I – Philip particularly so because of his love of hunting. Consequently James made Philip earl of Montgomery and Baron Herbert of Shurland in 1605.
When William died in 1630, without children, Philip inherited the title of Earl of Montgomery.
Philip’s heirs have been Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery ever since.
The current Earl is The 18th Earl of Pembroke and 15th Earl of Montgomery 
Is it likely that Montgomery Gardens is a reference to the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery?
I would say that it’s possible, particularly since the road is in the western part of Salisbury, where the Pembrokes may have owned land. It is close to the Wilton Road – it might be named in reference to the heirs to Wilton House.
Field Marshall Montgomery was one of Britain’s great military heroes. He appears at number 88 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons 
Montgomery and Salisbury
I don’t know of any strong connection between Montgomery and Salisbury. There are, though, some connections:
- He used Longford Castle as his headquarters used Longford Castle as his headquarters during World War II  .
- There is a room in Salisbury City Hall, which I think I’m right in saying was built as a war memorial, called the El Alamein rooms.
Montgomery – a very short biography
Montgomery’s full name was Bernard Law Montgomery. He lived from 1887 to 1976.
Montgomery’s Early life
Montgomery’s father was a Church of England bishop. He was posted to Tasmania when Montgomery was two years of age and they did not return to England until 1901.
Montgomery’s relationship with his mother, who bore most of the burden of his upbringing was troubled. Montgomery wrote:
Certainly I can say that my own childhood was unhappy.
And, later that he knew:
fear early in life, much too early
Montgomery went to Sandhurst in 1906. He was nearly expelled for setting fire to another student after duelling with red-hot pokers, but ‘graduated’ successfully in 1908.
Montgomery and World War I
Montgomery served at Mons, the Somme, Arras and Ypres. At Arras, he served under Sir Douglas Haig. 120,000 men were lost. At Passchendaele he wrote that:
they forget that the whole art of war is to gain your objective with as little loss as possible
On the Marne, Montgomery was shot through the lung and was so badly injured that a grave was dug for him.
Under Sir Herbert Plumer, Montgomery fought successful battles at Polygon Wood, Menin Road, and Broodseinde.
Montgomery was promoted several times, attaining the rank of temporary Lieutenant-Colonel. He was chief-of-staff of the 47th (London) division.
Montgomery between the Wars
Montgomery spent much of the inter-war period at the Staff College at Camberly.
He was posted to Ireland during the war of independence. He wrote that:
to win a war of that sort you must be ruthless; Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time
This, though, according to the Dictionary of National Biography, was to imply that the British army was not going to win the war because it would not behave in that way. The DNB says that what Montgomery was saying was that:
as a twentieth century democracy, Britain could not behave in such a militaristic way
Montgomery married Betty Carver, a war widow, in 1927. They had a son, but Betty died from septicaemia following an insect bite in 1937.
Montgomery and Dunkirk
Montgomery took the 3rd Division to Europe, as part of the British Expeditionary Force. They took up positions along the France-Belgium border, but once there Montgomery ran a series of exercises focussing on how best to conduct a retreat.
These exercises, according to the Dictionary of National Biography, were ‘in the face of vociferous local French protests’. 
The retreat of the 3rd Division was, though, a comparative success – there were ‘nominal casualties’ .
Montgomery took command of the II Corps in the general evacuation of the BEF. 
When Montgomery returned to Britain, he was demoted to divisional command after stridently criticizing the conduct of the BEF. 
Montgomery and the North African campaign
In 1942, a new commander was needed for the 8th Army in North Africa. General Brooke recommended Montgomery but Churchill, by then Prime Minister seems to have been dubious about him.
Churchill appointed General William Gott. Gott however was killed in an air accident shortly afterwards, and Montgomery was appointed.
Montgomery revitalized the 8th Army. General Brooke later wrote:
I knew my Monty pretty well by then, but I must confess I was dumbfounded by the situation facing him, the rapidity with which he had grasped the essentials, the clarity of his plans, and above all, his unbounded self-confidence – a self-confidence with which he inspired all those that he came into contact with 
The Battle of El Alamein began on the 23rd October. By the second of November, Rommel was requesting permission to retreat.
El Alamein was the first great Allied victory of the war.
There are two famous quotes from Churchill on the battle:
Before Alamein we never had a victory, after Alamein we never had a defeat.
This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning 
Following El Alamein, Montgomery’s troops pushed on through North Africa, Montgomery’s involvement finishing with the battle of Wadi Akarat.
Montgomery in Italy
Montgomery was sent to Italy.
Their was some personal conflict between Montgomery and the American General Patton. Patton thought Montgomery was moving too slowly, whereas Montgomery thought Patton was politically opportunistic.
In December of 1943, Montgomery was recalled to the UK, to prepare for the D-Day invasions. He professed himself glad to be leaving the ‘dogs breakfast’ of the Italian campaign .
Montgomery and D-Day
Montgomery had, in May 1942, led an exercise which involved 100000 men practising skills needed for beach landings – in particular the co-ordination of infantry, artillery and air attack.
This enabled him to meticulously plan the D-Day operations. He presented his plans in April and May of 1944.
Famously, D-Day was the first successful opposed invasion across the Channel since 1066.
Eisenhower and Lieutenant-General Walter Bedell Smith said that:
No one else could have got us across the Channel and into Normandy…Whatever they say about him, he got us there 
Montgomery and Arnhem – ‘a bridge too far’
Montgomery’s only real military failure during World War II was Arnhem, although he himself rated it as ’80% successful’.
This was an attempt to reach the Ruhr industrial region, concentrating on air power.
The battle, known as ‘Operation Market Garden’ has been seen as ‘strategically bold, but poorly planned…As a result, the operation ended in an unmitigated disaster’ 
Montgomery and the Battle of the Bulge
In December 1944, Hitler counter attacked at the Ardennes. The Germans were initially successful, until Montgomery was given control of four of the five Allied armies.
Montgomery, in the words of the Dictionary of [British] National Biography ‘ended the American rout’.
According to German commander von Manteuffel
The operations of the American 1st Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery’s contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough.
Eisenhower wanted Montgomery to counter attack, but Montgomery resisted, on the grounds that the troops were under-prepared and that it made no strategic sense.
If Montgomery had effectively got the Americans out of a hole, he wasn’t slow to point it out. Privately he didn’t have a high opinion of the American military leaders. Of Eisenhower he had said ‘His ignorance as to how to run a war is absolute and complete; he has all the popular cries, but nothing else’.
This attitude surfaced in an interview on Christmas Day, just after the Battle of the Bulge, and then in a press conference in early January, when he ‘he congratulated himself on saving the Americans’. 
Churchill later described Montgomery as:
In defeat, unbeatable; in victory, unbearable.
Indomitable in retreat; invincible in advance; insufferable in victory.
General Alan Brooke said:
He is probably the finest tactical general we have had since Wellington. But on some of his strategy, and especially on his relations with the Americans, he is almost a disaster
Montgomery at the end of the war
Montgomery was forced to relinquish control of the American forces he had led at Ardennes.
He led the English and Canadian troops at the northern end of the front.
On May the 4th all the German forces in Holland, north-west Germany and Denmark surrendered to Montgomery at Luneburg Heath.
Montgomery’s service after the war
Montgomery was made Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1946, and then Lord Montgomery of Alamein.
Montgomery served under Eisenhower in the establishment of NATO from 1951 onwards. He was Deputy Supreme Commander of NATO until he retired in 1958.
Montgomery in retirement
Lord Montgomery was not an active politician. Some of his contributions to debates in the House of Lords and elsewhere would today be seen as perhaps eccentric:
- he proposed raising setting the age of consent for homosexuals to 80 in the 1967 legalization debate. 
- he supported both the Chinese communist Mao Tse Tung and South African apartheid 
Montgomery lived in Alton in Hampshire until his death in 1976.
Some thoughts on Montgomery
I’ve done a fairly small amount of reading about Montgomery – just enough to outline his biography. However, there are three of four things that struck me about him. I’m going to relate my thoughts about Montgomery here – but please bear in mind I only have a cursory knowledge of the subject.
Montgomery – a democratic general ?
The word ‘democratic’ means different things to different people – I’m using ‘democratic’ here in a very specific sense.
I certainly don’t mean that Montgomery was interested in making decisions by taking votes. Neither was he interested in looking for a consensus – either of his peers or of his immediate subordinates.
I mean that he was democratic in that he felt that nothing could be achieved without ‘his people’, the troops, being convinced of what they were doing 
This contrasts with the caricature version of the First World War general, aloof and remote, seemingly seeing the foot soldiers as expendable cannon-fodder. This caricature may never have been true, but as noted above Montgomery’s view of Passchendaele was that the leaders:
they forget that the whole art of war is to gain your objective with as little loss as possible
It was important both that the troops mattered, and that they knew they mattered. Montgomery wrote that
[the important people in the army were] the Nursing Sisters and the Padres – the Sisters because they tell the men they matter to us, and the Padres because they tell the men they matter to God. And it is the men who matter.