Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, aka ‘Monty’, was Britain's most celebrated
general during World War Two, leading the British Army to famous victories from Africa
to NW Europe.
The 3rd British Infantry Division was commanded by `Monty’ in the 1940 campaign leading
up to Dunkirk.
The title Iron Sides derived from its brilliance in adversity in the Great War. Predictably
– a dangerous honour – Monty chose the division to spearhead the Normandy invasion
by landing on Sword Beach on D-Day.
Attrition battles followed, from Operations Epsom and Goodwood to Market Garden,
Veritable and finally the capture of Bremen. Monty designed their distinctive insignia
of red and black triangles.
The men came from all over Britain: Norfolk, Suffolk, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Lincolnshire,
Lancashire, Yorkshire, Middlesex, the Scottish Borders and Ulster – it was the most
British of all the Army divisions.
The price of victory was appalling: 15,000 casualties including 2,588 killed in action,
but two Victoria Crosses were won. It was a magnificent fighting record, led by the
famous ex-Desert Rat, Major-General `Bolo’ Whistler.