The Commander of 21st Army Group, General Sir Bernard Montgomery, during his first press conference for Allied war correspondents after the Allied invasion of Normandy, 11 June 1944.
Those who misjudged him on the basis of first impressions were soon disabused of their lapse. Montgomery’s most striking feature was his penetrating grey-blue eyes, which literally flashed with authority and determination and exuded the air of authority characteristic of all great commanders. Correspondent John Gunther thought he possessed, "the most piercing and luminous blue eyes I have ever seen." (www.armchairgeneral.com)
Montgomery served as an Infantry officer during the First World War and as Staff Officer was a member of the British General Staff between the wars.
In 1942, he won a decisive victory over Rommel’s Afrika Korps at El Alamein. He then conducted the Tunisian campaign and commanded the British army in Italy.
Building on his great expertise and under the supreme command of Eisenhower, he directed the combined operations of the landings in Normandy.
His leadership was highly criticised by others of the Allied military command, who could not understand the stagnation of British troops in the Caen area. Montgomery took the liberty of modifying plans fixed in London on 15th May 1944. Some, like Arthur Tedder, Chief of the Allied Air Forces, proposed his recall, but British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was inflexible in his defence.
Bernard Montgomery was raised to the rank of Field Marshal on 1st September 1944. (www.bayeuxmuseum.com)
(Photo source - US Army Signal Corps)
(Colourised by Gabriel Bîrsanu from Romania)