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M.E. Clifton James
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Actor
    (1898-May 8, 1963)
    Born in Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    Birth name was Meyrick Edward Clifton James
    British music hall performer
    Impersonated Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery as part of an Allied intelligence deception campaign to prevent Germany from moving troops to reinforce Normandy
    Appeared as Montgomery in Gibraltar and Algiers to try and convince German intelligence that an invasion of southern France would precede the invasion of northern France (May-June, 1944)
    Wrote the memoir ‘I Was Monty’s Double’ (1954)
    Portrayed himself and Montgomery in the film adaptation of ‘I Was Monty’s Double’ (1958)
    At the start of World War II, he volunteered his services to the armed forces as an entertainer, but was assigned to the Army Pay Corps instead.
    He was the third choice for Monty’s double: the first actor contacted was too tall and the second one broke his leg in a motorcycling accident.
    Unlike Montgomery, he was a heavy smoker and drinker.
    His performance as Montgomery was of limited success, as German generals interrogated after the war indicated that Montgomery’s presence in the Mediterranean Theater was widely assumed to be misdirection.
    He was gassed during World War I.
    He also lost part of his right middle finger and had to wear a prosthetic when he imitated Montgomery.
    He spent several weeks posing a journalist covering Montgomery in order to study the Field Marshall’s mannerisms up close.
    His performance as Montgomery was convincing enough that German intelligence debated assassinating him during his appearance in Algiers.

Credit: C. Fishel


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