20 February, 2009

Ewen Montagu

Captain Ewen Edward Samuel Montagu was a British judge, writer and intelligence officer.

Montagu was born March 19, 1901, the second son of the prominent peer Louis Samuel Montagu, 2nd Baron Swaythling. He was educated at Westminster School before becoming a machine gun instructor during World War I at a United States Naval Air Station. After the war he studied in Trinity College, Cambridge and in Harvard University before he was called to the bar in 1924.

During World War II, Montagu served in the Naval Intelligence Division of the British Admiralty, where he conceived Operation Mincemeat, a major deception plan against the Germans during the war. For his role in Mincemeat, he was awarded the Military Order of the British Empire. From 1945 to 1973 he held the position of Judge Advocate of the Fleet. He wrote The Man Who Never Was (1953), a fair, responsible account of Operation Mincemeat, which was made into a movie three years later. Montagu himself appeared in the film adaptation of The Man Who Never Was, playing an RAF officer who disparaged his own character (played by Clifton Webb) in a briefing.

He was president of the United Synagogue, 1954-62, and vice-president of the Anglo-Jewish Association.

He died on July 19, 1985 at the age of 84.