Montanaro, Gerald Charles Stokes (16.9.1916-1979)
Born in Chatham, Kent, all through his life, Montanaro expressed pride in coming from a Maltese military family. He studied at Bedford School (1929-34) and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich (1935-36).
After being commissioned in the Royal Engineers in 1936, Montanaro continued with his studies at Cambridge University (1936-38) where he graduated MA. During his outstanding service career, he also attended the Staff College (1946), the Royal Military College of Science (1946-49), and the Imperial Defence College in 1963.
Montanaro also obtained professional qualifications in civil engineering (E. Eng), mechanical engineering (F.I. Mech. E.), aero nautical science (A.F.RAeS), electrical engineering (F.I.E.E.), as well as in management (M.B.I.M.). In this respect he was during his period of service one of the most professionally qualified officers in the British Army.
Montanaro was garrison engineer in Corsham (1938-39), UK. Then he was posted to France as forward engineer with the 1st Division of the British Expeditionary Force up to 1940. Between 1940 and 1942 he was in command of 101 Special Canoe Troop Commando, a special unit whose objectives were the sinking of enemy vessels. In June 1942 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his work in that role for 'distinguished services under fire and under conditions equivalent to actual combat with the enemy'.
In 1942 Montanaro received a special commission as lieutenant commander in the RN for duty on submarines. He performed those duties up to 1945, when he was appointed GS02 (Operations) at the general headquarters in the Middle East. He also served as military commanding officer in royal aircraft establishments (1949-52).
Montanaro's next postings took him to Hong Kong and Korea, where he was in command of the Forward Engineering Squadron & Regiment up to 1954. Recalled to the war office as GS01 General Staff Montanaro was in 1957, placed in command of two regiments of the British Army of the Rhine up to 1960.
Back at the war office, Montanaro served first as a/director of RE equipment, and, in the rank of brigadier, as top man responsible for the weapons department. His final service appointment before retiring in 1965 was as brigadier a/q in the headquarters of the Middle East Command in Aden.
On retirement, Montanaro joined the Reed Paper Group of Companies. He was first managing director of Reed Development Services Ltd. and then deputy chairman of Reed Transport Ltd. In 1966-67 he served as deputy managing director of Norton Villiers Ltd and later as managing director of Dolphin Construction Ltd in Malta.
Montanaro married Judith Mary Newington in October 1965. After his retirement from service duties, he lived in Malta for some years.
Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri