‘General Eisenhower and Montgomery inspected the troops along The Avenue,’ Sybil casually mentioned whilst I was inteviewing her a couple of weeks ago. I nearly dropped my pen in suprise – I’d read about General Eisenhower’s (Ike’s) famous address to the massed allied troops at Cheesefoot Head, but had no idea that he’d come into Alresford with Field Marshall Montgomery (Monty) as well. ‘Did you see them?’ I asked.
‘I can remember them standing in the back of a jeep, driving along. Us kids went and stood in Perins to watch,’ she replied. ‘Tanks were parked all along The Avenue about June 4th, June 5th 1944, just before they moved off.’
I asked Pike to take the peaceful photo above of The Avenue, Alresford last night. Can you imagine what Sybil saw – Ike’s ‘well-formed head and jaw showing great will’ and ‘the keen, clenched face of Montgomery, the British field commander, who is now engaged in one of the most detailed inspections of the invasion troops ever undertaken by a modern general’ as they were driven along this road, surveying the tanks and soldiers lined up between the trees?
Iris Crowfoot and Sybil Philpot