|The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley|
3 November 1915|
Ightham Mote, Kent, England, UK
|Died||22 June 2006(aged 90)|
|Occupation||British military officer and administrator|
Gilbert Walter Riversdale Monckton, 2nd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley CB, OBE, MC, SMOM (3 November 1915 – 22 June 2006) served in the British Army from 1939 to 1967, retiring with the rank of Major-General. He was Army director of public relations in the 1960s when the conduct of the Army's personnel came under scrutiny during the Profumo Affair.
Monckton was the only son of Walter Monckton, 1st Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, created Viscount in 1957, and Mary Adelaide Somes Colyer-Ferguson. He was born at Ightham Mote, which was owned by his maternal grandfather, Sir Thomas Colyer-Fergusson. Monckton's sister, Valerie Goulding, founded the Irish Central Remedial Clinic and became a member of the Seanad Éireann. His father was a British lawyer and politician, and became chief legal advisor to King Edward VIII during the Abdication Crisis in 1936.
Education and World War II
Monckton was educated at Harrow School and then read agriculture at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1939. He converted to Roman Catholicism at Cambridge University, and was later a Knight of St John. He was bailiff of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and was awarded the Grand Cross of Obedience. Viscount Monckton was an active supporter and longtime member of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George and held the rank of Bailiff Knight Grand Cross of Justice as well as Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I, its sister order.
After Cambridge, Monckton immediately joined the Army, being commissioned into the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, which was part of the British Expeditionary Force in France. He commanded a troop on the River Dyle in Belgium, facing the advance of the German blitzkrieg, and he received the Military Cross for his actions on 18 May 1940 in the retreat to the River Dendre. He was evacuated from Dunkirk with his regiment in 1940, and attended the Staff College, Camberley in 1941, serving as a Brigade Major from 1942 to 1943. He then attended the Command and General Staff School in the United States, before joining the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars in Palestine in 1944, moving with it to Italy in 1944. He then rejoined his own regiment in Germany. He attended RAF Staff Collegedisambiguation needed in 1949, and was then GSO2 in the 7th Armoured Division.
He returned to his regiment to command "A" squadron in the Korean War from 1951 to 1952, and became second in command. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel and served in the War Office, and was appointed OBE in 1956. He then commanded the 12th Royal Lancers in Germany for two years, and next was promoted brigadier in 1961 and took a staff posting to the War Office as deputy-director of personnel administration.
He was promoted Major General in 1963, and became Army director of public relations, dealing with press scrutiny into the behaviour of soldiers in Germany in the aftermath of unhelpful comments from the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo. He became Chief of Staff at the Headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine in 1965. He was appointed a Commander of the Belgian Order of the Crown in 1965 (Léopold III of Belgium was Colonel of his regiment), and Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1966. He left the Army in 1967, but was Colonel of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers from 1967 to 1973.
In retirement, he ran his 350-acre (1.4 km2) farm near Maidstone, Kent. He served on the board of directors of Anglo-Portuguese Bank, Burberrys and Ransomesdisambiguation needed. He regularly attended the House of Lords, having succeeded to the Viscountcy in 1965, speaking on rural affairs and the armed forces. Originally a Conservative, he resigned the whip to become a cross-bencher. He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent from 1970, and his wife was High Sheriff of Kent in 1981 and 1982. He was interested in archaeology, and pursued an active interest in heraldry, being President of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies for 35 years (1965–2000). He became a Grand Officer of the Belgian Order of Leopold II in 1978.
Family and issue
Lord Monckton married Marianna Laetitia Bower (born 1929), a Roman Catholic and a Dame of Malta, the daughter of Commander Robert Tatton Bower (RN), on 30 December 1950; they had five children:
- Christopher Walter Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, SMOM (born 14 February 1952): a journalist and creator of the eternity puzzle
- The Honourable Rosamond Mary Monckton, Mrs Lawson (born 1953): married Dominic Lawson, who has written that "my father-in-law was vetoed as the Governor-General of New Zealand explicitly because he was a Catholic convert".
- The Honourable Timothy David Robert Monckton (born 1955)
- The Honourable Jonathan Riversdale St. Quintin Monckton (born 1955)
- The Honourable Anthony Leopold Colyer Monckton (born 1960)
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
- Obituary, The Times, 27 June 2006
- Obituary, The Daily Telegraph, 1 July 2006
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
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