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25th February 2001

Official biographer agrees Monty fell in love with boys

Field Marshal Montgomery, Britain's most famous second world war commander, fell in love with young boys, according to his official biographer.

Nigel Hamilton has written a book, The Full Monty, in which he claims that the man who conquered the German army in north Africa in 1942 had a passion for many boys, some not yet in their teens.

Hamilton said he had long suspected the soldier's sexual leanings but did not mention them in his earlier work - a three-part authorised biography published in the 1980s - out of respect for his subject. Now he feels compelled to tell the full story, revealed in a series of letters from Montgomery. The says he has gained access to hundreds of letters.

He now feels released from the arrangement with Montgomery's family that gave him access to material for his earlier work. That arrangement, Hamilton said, "tied my hands".

The author said he had no proof of a physical relationship between Montgomery and the many boys he befriended, though he has no doubt that he was passionately in love with them. One was Lucien Trueb, who Montgomery met in 1946 when the Swiss boy was just 12, and they corresponded over many years.

Hamilton, a visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, says his new book, to be published this summer, has not been written to destroy but to explain the reputation of a man he regards as a "revolutionary" commander.

"I've been curious to find out why he was such a revolutionary leader. I believe his sexuality is a key. His passion for young men helped him relate to his liaison officers and young staff. He felt a real concern for their welfare," said Hamilton.

Denis Hamilton served under Montgomery during the war and afterwards became his media adviser. When he worked on The Sunday Times in the 1950s, he bought the serialisation of Montgomery's war memoirs for the paper.

Montgomery became a national figure after leading the 8th Army to victory against Rommel at El Alamein. He also took British command at D-Day and in the subsequent military push by Allied ground forces into 'Fortress Europe'.

Born in 1887, he was said to have been unhappy as a child. He had a poor relationship with his mother and his brother died when he was only 13. He served in the first world war and devoted the rest of his life to the military. Hamilton believes Montgomery's passion for young boys may have been an attempt to "reconstruct his youth".

Hamilton said he himself had "a homoerotic" relationship with Montgomery, though it was not physical. "He called me 'son number two'," said Hamilton. "But it was also not just what you might call a father-son relationship."


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