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Drop and give me fifty

“Montgomery had always shown indulgence towards his men’s need for what he liked to call ‘horizontal refreshment.’ When his battalion was serving in Egypt, he had made sure that the Alexandrian brothels were managed in a way that would leave the Warwicks in good health. But when he tried the same thing in France in November 1939, he nearly got the sack. Alarmed at the incidence of venereal disease in his division, he issued written orders that condoms should go on sale at NAAFI canteens and that the men should be urged to use the cleaner brothels in Lille. [General Lord] Gort was outraged by such candour and vowed to make Montgomery withdraw the order. Even granted the prevailing British hypocrisy on sexual matters in the 1930s, it was ludicrous for an army commander to become involved in such trivia, even more so when he was hopelessly wrong. Montgomery dug his heels in and refused to withdraw the offending order. In the end, Brooke, then Montgomery’s corps commander, intervened, persuading him that Gort meant business and would send him back to England if he didn’t back down.” – John Bierman and Colin Smith, The Battle of Alamein

Published inJohn Bierman and Colin SmithThe Second World War

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