Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC (pronounced /məntˈɡʌmərɪ əv ˈæləmeɪn/; 17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976), often referred to as "Monty", was a British Army officer. He saw action in World War I, and during World War II he successfully commanded Allied forces at the Battle of El Alamein, a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign. He was later a prominent commander in Italy and North-West Europe, where he was in command of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord until after the Battle of Normandy, and was the principal commander for Operation Market Garden. After the War he became Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces of Occupation in Germany and then Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
Montgomery was born in Kennington, London, in 1887, the fourth child of nine, to an Anglo-Irish Anglican priest, The Reverend Henry Hutchinson Montgomery, and Maud Montgomery (née Farrar). Henry Montgomery, at the time the Vicar of St Mark's, Kennington, was the second son of the noted Indian administrator, Sir Robert Montgomery, who died a month after Bernard's birth. Bernard's mother Maud was the daughter of the well-known preacher Frederic William Farrar, and was eighteen years younger than her husband. After the death of Sir Robert Montgomery, Henry inherited the Montgomery ancestral estate of New Park at Moville, a town on the Inishowen Peninsula of north County Donegal in the west of Ulster.
However, there was still £13,000 to pay on the mortgage, a large amount of money in the 1880s, and Henry was at the time still only a parish priest. Despite selling off farms at Ballynally, "there was barely enough to keep up New Park and pay for the summer holiday" (i.e., at New Park). It was a financial relief that in 1889 Henry was made Bishop of Tasmania, then still a colony. He considered it his duty to spend as much time as possible in the outlying country of Tasmania and was away six months at a time. While he was away his wife, still in her mid-twenties, gave her children "constant" beatings, then ignored them most of the time as she performed the public duties of the bishop's wife. Of his siblings, Sibyl would die prematurely in Tasmania, and Harold, Donald and Una would all emigrate. In the absence of her husband, Maud Montgomery took little active interest in the education of her young children other than to have them taught by tutors brought across from England. The loveless environment made Bernard something of a bully, as he himself later recalled "I was a dreadful little boy. I don't suppose anybody would put up with my sort of behaviour these days." Later in life Montgomery refused to allow his son David to have anything to do with his grandmother and he refused to attend her funeral in 1949.