Our Century

The demob

Denys Montgomery, Stafford, Born 1915

Denys Montgomery

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."