The Counterfeit General Montgomery

The Counterfeit General Montgomery

by M. E. Clifton James

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Deception and intrigue: the top-secret plot behind the D-Day landings…

To Adolf Hitler, aware in 1944 that the Allied invasion of Europe was imminent, General Montgomery was the embodiment of Allied might, and they knew that wherever the blow fell “Monty” would be in the van of it.

Knowing this, M.I.5 conceived the idea of finding a “double” for Monty and so E. Clifton James, a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Pay Corps, suddenly found himself whisked into a world of cloak and dagger, because he was Monty’s double.

Here is the story of a man whose superlative performance in his role hood-winked Hitler and his Generals, and whose contribution to the success of Operation Overlord even now cannot be fully assessed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781787206823
Publisher: Arcole Publishing
Publication date: 07/11/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 171
File size: 838 KB

About the Author

Meyrick Edward Clifton James (1898-1963) was an actor and soldier, with a resemblance to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. This was used by British intelligence as part of a deception campaign during the Second World War.

Born in Perth, Western Australia, after serving in the Royal Fusiliers during WWI, and seeing action at the Battle of the Somme, Clifton James began acting. At the outbreak of WWII he volunteered his services to the British Army as an entertainer. Instead of being assigned to ENSA as he had hoped, on 11 July 1940 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Army Pay Corps and eventually posted to Leicester. There, his acting seemed to be limited to his membership of the Pay Corps Drama and Variety Group. In 1944, his resemblance to Montgomery was spotted and he was employed to pretend to be the general as part of a campaign designed to deceive the Germans in the lead-up to D-Day.

The ruse was part of a wider deception which aimed to divert troops from Northern France, by convincing the Germans that an Allied invasion of Southern France (Operation Dragoon) would precede a northern invasion. The plan was code-named Operation Copperhead and James was assigned to Montgomery’s staff to learn his speech and mannerisms.

After being demobilised in June 1946, Clifton James published his exploits in a book entitled I Was Monty’s Double (released in the US as The Counterfeit General Montgomery) in 1954. The book became the basis for the script of the 1958 film starring John Mills and Cecil Parker, with Clifton James playing himself and Montgomery, giving him a deserved if belated recognition. He also appeared in a short cameo (and non-speaking) appearance as Field Marshall Montgomery in the 1957 film High Flight, starring Ray Milland.

Clifton James died on 8 May 1963 in Worthing, Sussex at the age of 65.

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