Marshal Bernard Montgomery has at his headquarters two dogs, which he calls Hitler and Rommel. Not everybody knows how the four-footed Hitler came by his name, nor how Montgomery came by the dog. It was a gift from BBC war correspondents and Frank Gillard
had quite a bit to do with capturing this Hitler and handing him over to the General (as he then was), who had mentioned casually to Gillard that he was missing the animals which in other campaigns he had always had at his headquarters.
Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery plays with Rommel his spaniel (right) and a friendly fox terrier in the final months of the Second World War.
General Montgomery, a slender man, with his puppies “Hitler” and “Rommel” at his mobile headquarters in Normandy, 6 July 1944. Behind can be seen his cage with two canaries which also traveled with him.
King George VI with Monty and a friendly Fox terrier.
This sot Gillard pondering. The Normandy Bridgehead at that time was not a promising place in which to find a suitable dog for the GOC but Gillard was bent on trying. He had a lucky start. A tank officer told him of a certain coastal village where a man bred dogs, and that when he himself slept there on the night of D-Day the Frenchman had three young terriers on his hands. They had already been promised to spective buyers, but in each case the owners had had to move on before the tide of battle. Gillard tracked down this Frenchman, and, after some persuading, was able to buy one of the wire-haired pups. The small terrier was duly presented to Montgomery as a gift from the group of BBC reporters attached to his armies. The dog had been called “Selijc” ‘by the breeder-all pedigree dogs born in Francli in 1944 had to have
names beginning with “S” but they must be short for Schickelgruber, otherwise Hitler.
Winston Churchill pays a visit to Monty (and Rommel) at his HQ in Chateau Creully, Normandy in August 1944