MONTGOMERY, Bernard Law, Field Marshal, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1887-1976). Typewritten letter signed including manuscript insertions, to Major General [George] Erskine, TAC Headquarters, 21 Army Group (Creully, Normandy), 15 June 44, one page, 4to; and a typed document signed ('Montgomery of Alamein F.M.'), n.p. [Berlin], 10 June 1945, addressed to the Population of the British Area in Germany, one page, 4to.
A brisk letter to 'Bobbie' Erskine, sending cigarettes to the officers and men who had taken part in the D-Day landings in Normandy. 'I send you herewith 2 cases of cigarettes, each containing 30,000 cigarettes. Total: 60,000 cigarettes ... They are a present from myself to officers and men. Your chaps have done splendidly in the battle; I send them all my best congratulations' (Montgomery himself was a non-smoker). Erskine, previously commander of the Desert Rats, commanded the 7th Armoured Division in Normandy.
The message to the Germans (signed when Military Governor of Berlin and Commander of the British sector of occupied Germany), explains forcefully why the British troops have been ordered not to speak to the population of the occupied area. 'You have wondered, no doubt, why our soldiers do not smile when you wave your hands, or say "Good morning" in the streets ... We are naturally friendly and forgiving people. But the orders were necessary ... Our soldiers have seen their comrades shot down ... They have seen terrible things in many countries where your rulers took the war. For those things, you will say you are not responsible - it was your rulers. But they were found by the German nation; every nation is responsible for its rulers, and while they were successful you cheered and laughed. This is why our soldiers do not smile at you ...', and with further arguments going back to 1918. (2)