Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

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Frankfurter
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Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Frankfurter » 05 Aug 2013 18:45

Montgomery1958.jpg
lv.jpg
When in Britain, Montgomery received a very special office car during the war - a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III with a unique body designed to the specifications of the chairman of the De Havilland airplane company. Among other bespoke extras its fitted with an altimeter. With the beginning of the war the car was handed over to the British forces and first served General Ironside, then FM Sir Alan Brooke and FM Gort before moving on to Monty before D-Day. Other notables which drove in it were George VI, Churchill and Eisenhower.
The car appeared in many news reals and was bought by Montgomery at war´s end and kept as his private car after the war until 1962. It was auctioned by a renowned auctioneer in the US in 2010 but not sold.

It was however a different, more normal RR Wraith which he used in France after D-day (see http://www.classicpromenade.com/wp-cont ... d_Misc.pdf and http://wwii-letters-to-wilma.blogspot.d ... -1944.html). It served as his principle car right through the whole French cmapaign and until the surrender of Germany. Imagine that shiny black limousine among all those camouflaged cars! This second Rolls was also kept by Monty until long after the war.

Monty really knew how to ride in style, apparently he said he wanted to appear in a better car than any German general. There was probably also a third Rolls that was used by Montgomery during the war and before D-day, another mighty Phantom III, which also served US General Spaatz, and was used in D-day celebrations in modern times.

All three cars still exist in good condition today.

The photos attached are from the internet. Would be interesting to know wether a single British General or Admiral today is entitled to be driven in such a posh car today!
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Saxon Cross
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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Saxon Cross » 05 Aug 2013 23:06

Interesting.

I've more typically seen Monty in his Super-Snipe, which he called 'Old Faithful':

Image
IIRC, the above image is Italy.

His Super Snipe is also well preserved in a British Museum:

Image

cheers,
Saxon

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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Frankfurter » 06 Aug 2013 09:18

Thanks. The Snipe was exhibited next to the Wraith. I guess the Humber was used when he visited the front, drove through rough terrain and when the visit was more low-key, the RR for high command meetings and events attended by the media.

For a high commander to appear in a shiny Rolls certainly must have been a sign of high confidence to his men. More encouraging than a rag-top camouflaged car. That it came with Monty on D-day+3 means it was not kept out of danger.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i9mB6ObW9I

Monty apparently ordered his driver to give anyone in the British Forces a lift when he was not using the RR. There is a nice story about it.

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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Frankfurter » 06 Aug 2013 09:35

WHC43_Monty.jpg
While going through my pictures shown in this post, I noticed something.
The RR Wraith in the army museum which was used in the Normandy/French and German campaign and the Wraith shown with Monty are two different cars. Look at the windows. The windscreen on the car with Monty is higher, and the side windows are different. Also the car with Monty seems not to be black. For the experts, the Normandy car now in the museum has the chassis WMB40, the other one is WMC43.

Source: webpages mentioned in the first post.
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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Bill Murray » 07 Aug 2013 12:48

Montgomery Jeep 13 June 44 .jpg
Montgomery Jeep 13 June 44 .jpg
Interesting subject for sure. Monty was well known as a master of "Public Relations" and was famous as well for his devotion to his troops. In that respect, I would suspect that the choice of what vehicle to use where, given that he always had a Press Contingent with him, was always very carefully thought out.

I looked in my files and found no Rolls Royce Monty photos but did hit on these two.

The Jeep photo was taken in France and the Buick photo seems to have Commonwealth troops around the car so it might have been somewhere in North Africa.

Edit: Sorry for the double photo. Can't seem to do more than one at a time.
Bill
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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Bill Murray » 07 Aug 2013 12:57

Well, the Buick photo was too large so I have to wait to get on my PC with a photo editor to resize it. Sorry.

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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Dunserving » 07 Aug 2013 13:05

Saxon Cross wrote:Interesting.

I've more typically seen Monty in his Super-Snipe, which he called 'Old Faithful':

Image
IIRC, the above image is Italy.

His Super Snipe is also well preserved in a British Museum:

Image

cheers,
Saxon

For information, the "British Museum" that has the Humber Super Snipe is NOT the British Museum - that is in London and contains a rather different part of our national heritage.

You need to visit the Duxford collection, part of our Imperial War Museums.

This link will show where it is: http://www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-d ... nd-warfare

This link will give a list of exhibits there: http://www.iwm.org.uk/sites/default/fil ... s_List.pdf

Well worth a visit!

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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Saxon Cross » 07 Aug 2013 18:00

Dunserving wrote: For information, the "British Museum" that has the Humber Super Snipe is NOT the British Museum - that is in London and contains a rather different part of our national heritage.

You need to visit the Duxford collection, part of our Imperial War Museums.

This link will show where it is: http://www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-d ... nd-warfare

This link will give a list of exhibits there: http://www.iwm.org.uk/sites/default/fil ... s_List.pdf

Well worth a visit!
Thanks for the clarification. That's why I said "a British Museum" not 'the British Museum', but I should have been more clear. I actually took the colour photo of 'Old faithful' myself, at the IWM Duxford.


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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Saxon Cross » 07 Aug 2013 18:39

Bill Murray wrote:Interesting subject for sure. Monty was well known as a master of "Public Relations" and was famous as well for his devotion to his troops. In that respect, I would suspect that the choice of what vehicle to use where, given that he always had a Press Contingent with him, was always very carefully thought out.

I looked in my files and found no Rolls Royce Monty photos but did hit on these two.

The Jeep photo was taken in France and the Buick photo seems to have Commonwealth troops around the car so it might have been somewhere in North Africa.

Edit: Sorry for the double photo. Can't seem to do more than one at a time.
Bill

The Jeep photo was taken 8th June 1944 Normandy. Hence only 4 stars on the Jeep. Monty got promoted to Field Marshall (5 star) in August 1944.


Here's Monty on 21 June 1943 in North Africa:
Image

Here he is 15th December 1943 in Italy, with Generals Alexander and Brooke:
Image

Colour photo of King George VI in Monty's car in Italy 1944 (No RR for the King!) :
Image

Here's an interest article about the very recent restoration of Monty's North Africa-Italy Super Snipe. I assume it's a different Super Snipe than the one used in Normandy:
http://blogs.iwm.org.uk/transforming-iw ... -restored/

Photo of restoration:
Image


Here's Monty on the 20th June 1944 next to a Humber Super-Snipe:
Image

It looks like his Super-Snipe camo evolved:

North Africa: Solid desert colour
Italy: Solid desert with green disruptive stripes
Normandy: Solid 'green' colour
Final: 'Green' with dark disruptive stripes

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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 Aug 2013 20:25

When Monty arrived at First US Army HQ in December 1944 after taking it under command he is alleged to have arrived in a car flying a "large" Union Jack - either to display his confidence to boost morale or to irritate the Americans (the choice is yours :roll: ). Does anyone know which vehicle he arrived in - I'm rather hoping it was a nice shiny RR, and an open top car would have been a bit chilly! The Union Jacks displayed on these photos seems rather restrained as well. Surely a little flag like that wouldn't have caused too much offence?

BTW don't you just love the look on the German prisoners faces!

Regards

Tom

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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Bill Murray » 07 Aug 2013 20:46

Finally back to the proper computer and photo edit program.

And yes, Tom, that photo has been done here on the forum before I think or somewhere and every time someone remarks about the unbelieving looks on the German prisoners faces.


Anyway, here is the Buick finally.

Edit: It may be that this is a post war photo in Oz rather than a WWII photo.

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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Saxon Cross » 07 Aug 2013 21:15

Frankfurter wrote:Thanks. The Snipe was exhibited next to the Wraith. I guess the Humber was used when he visited the front, drove through rough terrain and when the visit was more low-key, the RR for high command meetings and events attended by the media.
I don't think this can be right. If he used the Rolls for events attended by the media then we'd have a lot of photos of Monty in or getting in/out of a Rolls, but we don't. As for high command meetings, we have photos of Monty, with the King; with the Prime Minister; and with two very high ranking Generals; and in all three events he used the Humber Super Snipe.

I did see the claims that a Rolls was landed at Normandy on 9th June 1944, per your link here:
http://wwii-letters-to-wilma.blogspot.d ... -1944.html
but I'm not convinced this was for Monty's personal use, and if it was I don't think he used it, with perhaps occasional exception.
The above site claims:

"Montgomery used the Silver Wraith as his personal staff car from D+3 right through to when he took the German surrender on Luneberg Heath. He was determined to be seen in a better car than any German general. Despite its being highly conspicuous it survived the War unscathed, although Rommel’s camouflaged staff car was shot up by a Spitfire."

Almost all the photos I've of Monty and Staff Car from June 1944 to May 1945, are of a Humber Super Snipe.

Here's some more:

July 1944
743969.jpg
Sept 1944
742756.jpg
Monty certainly had use of a RR Wraith from 1946 to 1965 per your link here:
http://www.classicpromenade.com/wp-cont ... d_Misc.pdf


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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Saxon Cross » 08 Aug 2013 15:24

I think I sorted out Monty's two Humber Super Snipes.

His first Super Snipe:
1941 model
Military Registration M239459 (painted on the door)
Used: North Africa, Sicily, Italy
Named: 'Old Faithful'
Camo: plain 'desert' colour in North Africa, then disruptive stripes added by Italy

His second Humber Super Snipe:
1943 model
Military Registration M239485 (painted on the door)
Used: England, Normandy to Berlin
Called: 'The Victory Car'
Camo: plain 'olive green' colour

The photo I took of the dark green Super Snipe M239459 at the IWM back in 2006, was 'restored' in the 1950s but with incorrect camouflage, and is the car they just recently restored to correct colours of desert sand with disruptive green stripes.

Monty's Second Super Snipe M239485 is displayed at the Coventry Transport Museum in the correct olive green colours.
'The Victory Car'
002.jpg
Here's an account of Monty showing up at a high level conference in England, just before D-Day, in an open topped Humber Super Snipe:
http://www.felstedremembers.uwclub.net/ ... School.htm

I think I recall reading a long time ago that Monty insisted on always riding in a open topped car so he could be seen by the troops, and share some of their hardship, rather than tucked up in a heated staff car with roof. Which is why he is typically seen wearing an RAF bomber jacket.

The reason why there's a couple of pictures of Monty in a Jeep on the 13th June 1944, is possibly because apparently his Humber Super Snipe ended up in the sea upon landing at Normandy. I assume they were still getting it dried out, cleaned and in running shape on D+7.


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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Dunserving » 08 Aug 2013 19:16

...and the Coventry Transport Museum is well worth a visit too.

http://www.transport-museum.com/

...and see the current holder of the World Land Speed Record while you are there - the first supersonic car!

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Re: Monty´s war time Rolls-Royces

Post by Frankfurter » 08 Aug 2013 22:03

Thanks for all those photos of the campaign cars.

Here is another link about the second RR Phantom III Montgomery probably used shortly during WWII (although other than the website itself the attached article about the car´s history says it was only intended for him, and as the owner did not allow the car to be used overseas this very pretty saloon was used by US General Spaatz instead): http://www.milweb.net/webverts/57744/

Let me add this British Pathé video of Monty which also shows one of the RR Wraith´s in Germany several times during June 1945 visiting a displaced persons camp, together with Generals Horrocks and Hull: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/montg ... uery/Rolls
WHC43_Monty_Germany.jpg
At that time Monty´s HQ was in Gut Ostenwalde, southeast of the city of Osnabrück. I went to school with its current owner for some time, and the late mother of a friend of mine served as an interpreter there after WWII. Here is a period picture of this country mansion which hasnt changed since except the Union Jack has disappeared (btw, the photo of Monty with this Rolls I posted earlier was taken in front of the round tower hidden in this picture):
Ostenwalde_HQ_Montgomery.jpg
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