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Major General Gilbert Walter Riversdale Monckton, 2nd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley CB, OBE, MC (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 close scrutiny.

Monckton was the only son of Walter Monckton, 1st Viscount Monckton of Brenchley and Mary Adelaide Somes Colyer-Ferguson. He was born at Ightham Mote, which was owned by his maternal grandfather, Sir Thomas Colyer-Fergusson until his death in 1951. His sister was Valerie Goulding, who later 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.

Monckton was educated at Harrow School and then read agriculture at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1939. He 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 MC 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, before rejoining his own regiment in Germany. He attended RAF Staff College 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 becoming second in command. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel and served in the War Office, being appointed OBE in 1956. He then commanded the 12th Royal Lancers in Germany for two years, before being promoted brigadier in 1961 and taking 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 CB 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 also served on the board of directors of Anglo-Portuguese Bank, Burberrys and Ransomes. 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 to 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, from 1965 to 2000. He became a Grand Officer of the Belgian Order of Leopold II in 1978.

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 also an active supporter and long time 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.

Lord Monckton married Marianna Laetitia Bower, also a Roman Catholic and a Dame of Malta, the daughter of Commander Robert Tatton Bower (RN) on 30 December 1950. They had 5 children together:


Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Walter Monckton
Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Succeeded by
Christopher Monckton


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