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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 196

An outstanding Immediate 'Battle of Grimbiemont - Ardennes 1945' M.M. group of five awarded to Comapny Sergeant-Major R. A. Montgomery, 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, who having shared in the fiercest actions in North-West Europe, was killed in action at the Battle of Bocholt on 28 March 1945; he appears to be the only recipient of the M.M. in his Regiment to be killed in action

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (3384738 W.O.Cl.2 R. A. Montgomery. E. Lan. R.); 1939-45; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, good very fine (5)

M.M. London Gazette 12 April 1945. The original recommendation for an Immediate award - signed off by Field Marshal Montgomery - states:

‘On 7 January, 1945, during the attack on Grimbiemont, C.S.M. Montgomery’s company came under exceedingly heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire which inflicted very severe losses. Shortly after crossing the start line, all Officer Platoon Commanders and the Company Second-in-Charge had become casualties. The Company was reduced in strength to some 25 odd men. Without regard to his personal safety, and quite oblivious to the continuous heavy enemy fire of all kinds, C.S.M. Montgomery ran about across the snow in full view of the enemy and re-organised the remainder of the Company into one platoon. Then under the Company Commander [Major Cetre], he personally led this small force in the face of enemy fire, until they were firmly established on the first objective. Two Germans were killed and three prisoners were taken at this point.

Later in the battle, he led his small force forward again and attacked the Western end of the village, which was the original company
objective. This position was still holding out with enemy infantry and at least one tank. C.S.M. Montgomery quickly laid on a plan for an attack from the flank, and, using the platoon’s own weapons only, he succeeded in forcing the tank to withdraw hastily to the East.

This determined manoeuvre at the same time routed the enemy infantry and resulted in a further three prisoners being taken from the position. C.S.M. Montgomery’s behaviour in most difficult and trying conditions was a tonic to all ranks of the Company. Wherever he went he spread cheerfulness and encouragement. His high standard of personal conduct and discipline under very heavy and sustained
fire made it certain that, in spite of every difficulty, his company would not fail to attain its objective.’

Robert Arthur Montgomery was born in 1912, the son of Robert Arthur and Anne Montgomery of Miles Platting, Manchester. During the Second World War he with the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. Having earned surely shared in their famous action at S’Hertogensbosch, then earning his stunning M.M., Montgomery was killed in action on 28 March 1945. The previous days they had shared in the Battle for the Reichswald Forest, during which bayonet charges had to be employed to clear the fierce enemy resistance. The History of the East Lancashire Regiment In the War 1939-1945 gives more detail of his death during the Battle for Bocholt:

‘Just prior to reaching their objective, an enemy shell landed right in the middle of 'A' Company H.Q., killing C.S.M. Montgomery, M.M., and two men, while the Coy. Commander, Major Cetre, M.C. and several others, were severely wounded.'

Montgomery is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

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