One of our heroes in the World War 1 series that I am posting, is Trumbull Trum Warren. Here is the key post.
His son, also called Trum, was General Montgomery's chief personal aide. On May 4th, Trum Jnr, escorted senior German Officers to Monty's tent so that they would sign a cease fire.
Here he is on the right. Below, they are in the tent. Trum is by Monty's shoulder.
Here is the document.
It must have been so gratifying for Trum to be part of this. He witnessed the end of a 30 year long civil war in Europe as a Canadian. It was, maybe, also vengeance for his father's death on April 20th 1915 nearly 30 years to the day before. (Image Source Here)
I know this document and these pictures well too. I saw them every day for 5 years and I met Monty often.
My prep school, Amesbury, had been Monty's home in WWII. His son David lived there. After the war, Monty bought a house nearby. He would visit us often. Here he is watching cricket. More here.
I think my interest in war and how it works was created by hearing Monty tell us about it. As awkward as he was with people, he was very much at ease with the young and we loved him.
Trum Jnr was treated as a son by Monty. Monty would get on his knees on the floor and play with Trum's small children. This is the side most never saw.
Trumbull Warren’s headiest brush with history came on May 4th, 1945 with the unconditional surrender of German forces in Holland, Denmark and northwest Germany to hurry up the end of the Second World War.
Warren was in the conference tent of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery -- popularly known as “Monty” -- when five German officers signed the surrender at Lüneburg Heath, south of Hamburg, Germany.
As personal assistant to Montgomery -- one of the outstanding Allied commanders of the Second World War -- Trumbull Warren was the man who fetched the Germans to Montgomery’s caravan on May 3rd to hear Monty’s terms, and on May 4th to sign the surrender, ending more than five years of hostilities.
It provided an indelible memory for the Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel, a Hamilton businessman after the war, who died in Guelph on Sept. 12th at the age of 86.
Warren later described the events in Monty, the three-volume biography of Montgomery by British author Nigel Hamilton.
The senior German officer was General Admiral von Friedeburg, commander-in-chief of the German fleet. General Kinsel, chief of staff of the German army was “a magnificent looking officer about 6' 5" ... complete with monocle -- a real professional Prussian,” Warren noted. Next was Rear Admiral Wagner, flag officer to the admiral of the fleet. And Major Friedl, who had “the cruellest face of any man I have ever seen.” A fifth officer -- a Colonel Pollok -- joined the group for the signing.
Warren continued his description:
“The German delegation went across to the tent, watched by groups of soldiers, war correspondents, photographers, and others -- all very excited. They knew it was the end of the war.”
“I had the surrender document all ready. The arrangements in the tent were very simple -- a trestle table covered with an army blanket, an inkpot, an ordinary army pen that you could buy in a shop for two pence. There were two BBC microphones on the table.”
More surrenders followed on May 7th, prior to Victory-in-Europe (VE Day) on May 8th.
For most of the Second World War, Trumbull Warren was on the personal staff of Montgomery as an aide-de-camp, then personal assistant. As such, he saw all sides of Monty, including the difficult.
Warren commented on Montgomery for a 1997 documentary by Norflicks Productions of Toronto, which was shown on Vision TV.
“I’m of the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that nobody could be more sarcastic than an educated Englishman when they wanted to be, and this guy was a past master at it,” Warren said then.
Mostly, there was a genuine admiration between the general and his aide. At one time, Montgomerywrote to Warren that: “I often wish you were my son.”
During the 1950’s, Montgomery periodically visited Hamilton -- where Viscount Montgomeryelementary school is named after him -- and stayed with the Warrens -- Trumbull, wife Mary (Wigle, whom he married in 1939), and their three daughters, Mary, Ann and Joan, at their Markland Street home.
“He was a kind and thoughtful man,” Warren’s wife recalled in the 1997 documentary video called Gentle Monty. “He would get down on his hands and knees and crawl all about the house with Joanie, our youngest, on his back.”
When Montgomery died in 1976, the Warrens attended his military funeral in London.
For Trumbull Warren, the armed forces were an early reality. He was born in Montreal on Aug. 1st, 1915, when the First World War was already under way.
Indeed, his own father -- also named Trumbull, who’d left his job as president of the Gutta PerchaRubber Company to join the Toronto-based 48th Highlanders -- had died less than three months before his son was born. Captain Warren was an early casualty at the second Battle of Ypres in Belgium, not from the chlorine gas introduced in warfare there, but from a piece of shell from a 42-centimetre siege howitzer that ricocheted through a plate glass window.
Growing up in Toronto, Trumbull Warren Jr. attended private schools such as Crescent School, Upper Canada College, Lakefield College and Ridley College before taking a job as an office boy with GuttaPercha in 1934, the same year he joined the 48th Highlanders as a reserve militia soldier.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, Warren was part of an advance party that went overseas to prepare for the unit’s arrival to England in December of 1939.
He stayed with the 48th regiment through training and into France in June, 1940 as part of the 1st Canadian Division. Back in England, Warren was approached to be one of Montgomery’s five military aides -- and the only Canadian one -- when the general was head of the Southeastern Command in England, in anticipation of a German invasion.
Warren stayed with Monty for three months, then, hoping for advancement, returned to Canada for a four-month staff training course at Royal Military College in Kingston. He rejoined Montgomery and the British 8th Army which defeated the Germans and General Rommel at El Alamein, then chased them across North Africa to their surrender in Tunisia.
Warren then served in Italy with the 1st Canadian Division under General Guy Simonds. Next, Montgomery, knowing he would be running the Allied European ground war under Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, asked Trumbull Warren to be his personal assistant.
Monty had one word of caution: “If you accept, you can never return to your regiment. You must stay with me to the end of the war.” And that’s precisely what the Canadian did.