My Uncle, Muhammad Ali, and General Montgomery
My Uncle Ian, or to give him his full title John Currie Walker, 1916-1984 had a very interesting life. Anyone interested in his early life should read the book Sergeant Jiggy. He played for a host of Scottish junior clubs, and for the English team Chelsea at the start of the war.
During the war he was a Military Policeman, and was one of General Montgomery’s outriders, who became his bodyguard. He said of Monty: ‘I remember the arguments he would have with Eisenhower. But when the arguing was done and Montgomery had had to give way he would give Ike his full support even though he was wrong.’
He remembered how Monty kept Friedeburg waiting outside for 10 minutes under the Union Jack flag, before he would accept his surrender. On a lighter note he remembered how Monty never smoked, or drank himself, yet he always kept the back of his staff car stacked with cigarettes which he would handout to the men when he stopped to chat to them. On one occasion towards the end of the war when the allied advance was so rapid that a group of Germans marched into Monty’s camp he and others had to act: ‘There were only a few of us mainly cooks and clerks. We gathered round the field Marshall’s caravan to protect him, but the Germans surrendered.’
He met Churchill and Eden and a host of other personalities: ‘I had to search all the visitors and make sure no one saw Monty unless invited.’
His bodyguard skills came in handy after the war, and he got a job in Glasgow with the boxing promoter Peter Keenan showing the stars into the ring, which included: Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Walter McGowan, Ken Buchanan, and many more. One day he brought me a programme with a very famous name on it.
Uncle Ian just stayed down the road from me, and he and his wife Mary were very kind to me. John A.Walker