A letter written by General Montgomery before El Alamein tells how much he enjoyed his first face-off with German foe Rommel, the Tank Museum reveals.
The hand-written letter penned to his brother, Harold, is dated October 6, 1942, the same date the future field marshal sent orders stating that if cut off in the next battle, his men must fight on and not surrender – this would be the Battle of El Alamein.
The intense planning before the battle against the ‘Desert Fox’ probably explains why the letter to his brother is brief. In it, he thanks Harold and his wife for their invitation to stay, but adds “at present it is quite out of the question”. He also confirms he was sent to the desert so quickly that he didn’t have time to see his son David at Winchester “where he is doing very well”.
Monty describes the Battle of Alam Halfa on August 31, telling his brother about his “contest against Rommell [sic]”, adding “he was seen off… I have never before had to face up to a field marshal in battle, I thoroughly enjoyed it”. He explains how much he liked desert life, writing: