Denys Montgomery, formerly of Stafford, now living in Wales
"I was an engineer in civilian life and spent 1941-43 as officer
in command of several regimental workshops in the Western Desert
Force and subsequently the Eighth Army. I was demobbed in 1946.
I received my release notification, informing me that the Secretary
of State for War thanked me for my service and was graciously allowing
me to retain the honorary rank of Major. It was accompanied by a
booklet that had tear-out pages entitling me to a complete set of
civilian clothing and the notification that, after the completion
of my 108 days release leave, I was being put on one of the reserves
from July 11,1946. I was to report to the release centre at Otley
in the West Riding of Yorkshire on March 25.
At Otley I joined the queue of other officers to hand in my trusty
.38 revolver (never fired in anger) and was passed on into a sort
of civilian gents' outfitting department store where teams of elderly,
but efficient and well trained, counter salesmen fitted me out with
a suit, overcoat, a shirt, a tie and a pair of shoes.
I was able to choose what I wanted and the "sales staff" were
on hand to ensure that my selected items properly fitted me.
"In all, it took me about an hour to leave the Army. I caught
the shuttle coach running to the railway station still in my service-dress
uniform with polished buttons, major's crowns on my shoulders and
all, incongruously carrying the bulky cardboard carton that marked
me out as one of the new civilians."