Charles Edward Montague

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Charles Edward Montague, (1 January 1867 – 28 May 1928), was an English journalist, known also as a writer of novels and essays.

He was born and brought up in London, the son of an Irish Roman Catholic priest who had left the church to marry.[1] He was educated at the City of London School and Balliol College, Oxford.[1] At Oxford he gained a First in Classical Moderations (1887) and a Second in Literae Humaniores (1889).[2] In 1890 he was recruited by C. P. Scott to the Manchester Guardian, where he became a noted leader writer and critic; while Scott was an M.P. between 1895-1906 he was de facto editor of the paper.[1] He married Scott's daughter Madeline in 1898. While working at the paper, Montague became a supporter of Irish Home Rule.[1]

Montague was against the First World War prior to its commencement, but once it started he believed that it was right to support it in the hope of a swift resolution.[1] In 1914, Montague was 47, which was well over the age for enlistment. But in order to enlist, he dyed his white hair black to enable him to fool the Army into accepting him. H. W. Nevinson would later write that "Montague is the only man I know whose white hair in a single night turned dark through courage." He began as a grenadier-sergeant, and rose to lieutenant and then captain of intelligence in 1915. Later in the war, he became an armed escort for VIPs visiting the battlefield. He escorted such personalities as H.G. Wells and Bernard Shaw. After the end of World War I he wrote in a strong anti-war vein. He wrote that "War hath no fury like a non-combatant." Disenchantment (1922), a collection of newspaper articles about the war,[1] was one of the first prose works to strongly criticise the way the war was fought, and is a pivotal text in the development of literature about the First World War.[3][4] Disenchantment criticised the British Press' coverage of the war and the conduct of the British generals.[3] Montague accused the latter of being influenced by the "public school ethos" which he condemned as a "gallant robust contempt for "swats" and for all who invented new means to new ends and who trained and used their brains with a will".[3]

He returned to the Guardian, but felt that his role was diminishing as the years passed. He finally retired in 1925, and settled down to become a full-time writer in the last years of his life. He died in 1928 at the age of 61.

Montague was the father of Evelyn Aubrey Montague, the Olympic athlete and journalist depicted in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire.


  • A Hind Let Loose (1904) novel
  • Dramatic Values (1911) reviews
  • The Morning's War (1913) novel
  • Disenchantment (1922) essay [thoughts on the First World War]
  • Fiery Particles (1923) short stories
  • The Right Place (1924) travel writing
  • Rough Justice (1926) novel
  • Right off the Map (1927) science fiction
  • Action (1928) short stories
  • A Writer's Notes on His Trade (1930)
  • Two or Three witnesses short story

Two or Three witnesses:- The short story “Two or Three Witnesses” begin with four journalists, Pellatt, Morris, Bute are the senior member of their job. Fane was newly appointed for the journalism. Pellatt was the doyen of the paper. They are gone to 20 miles away from callow because in that place people are arranging the Thomas Curtuyne’s funeral ceremony. The journalists are went there and collecting the evidence about Thomas Curtuyne. Curtuyne was famous historical person. Fone was very joyful character, but he did not like the case, to collect evidence from the Thomas Curtuyne. But other three journalists are speaking about the history and life of the Curtuyne. That speech was inspired him so he fell very adventure to saw the funeral ceremony of the famous person. They went to the place and stayed in an Inn. In the place they did not have any basic needs. In the Inn chairs are broken even they did not have food. They are playing games. Every time Fane fails in the game. Morris and Fane are partners. Morris advice him “correct the mistake and Carrie on”. Bute and Morris are mid-Victorian persons; they are following the fashion of that time. They were reflecting the culture of the England. Before they drank their speeches are very standard but they drank they spoke about Savoursome Tudor’s idioms. Fane was younger man of the group. Fane using others ideas. Morris was sound practical journalist. Morris worked without any paper. But others are having paper in their hand. He was different from others he saved every points in his brain. He was the great news agency man. His messages went to all papers, in morning and evening. Morris words are very difficult to understand but Fane understood all his words and expression. They went to Kilmuller. It was the burial ground of Thomas Curtuyne’s body. In the place motor vehicles are not allowed because they followed tradition. If they want to enter the place they use only horses. Pellatt scold that country was a savage. They are come for the job. To write about Thomas Curtuyne and send story to office. Every one forgot that job. But morri remembered the job to others. The place Kilmuller was like square shape. They went to church yard and saw the coffin of the great person. Morris found a bit of a cropper. Fane would saw nothing. So fane fate was the worst. After they went to church. Pellatt and Bute was thing about sympathize but fane was think about the beauty of the church his thought was different from others, he was a young person his thought was positive way. Bute was bored to saw the village. Fane was delightfully. He did not discover anything. But he tried to discover something. Fane went to priest home and wait for him. But before him Pellatt went to priest home and spoke with him. Morris searching the diamonds. Pellet and bute was in terror because in the place only the four persons are there. Fane thought pellet and bute gone to Ireland. Fane wait the place because he waiting for the order to return back. But pellet and bute are still stayed in the place. They saw an elder woman. She was the priest’s house keeper. She came that place for to buy candles. She only spoke about the great man. The unknown man came to post office and stolen all telegrams forms. From collow’s post office. At that time fane told an Idiom; we are all cats. We can tell in the dark. Then they saw a cyclist he was the only person help to went to main road. Fane, bute and pellet are arrived the church. The journalists are feeling alone because they are the strangers of that place. Who are present that place. They went to send the news about the great person before six o clock. But they forgot to send the story. Fane met the cyclist and he was a callow man. He joins with fane and help to away from the place. Though the way they felt into mud. At the time the censor came and he spoke about sportsman (Monte Carle). In Kilmullen they postponed funeral till the next day. Fane returned to the Inn. Bute told his first experience about his job. It was a village. He spends two days in the village. He went to interviewing formers and shepherds about yarn and a wolf. Bute editor ordered him to saw the wolf and wrote the story. The next day fane found the letter which was coming from his editor. In the letter editor praised pellet and bute but he scold fane. Because they send story to editor. But fane fail to send. In last morris advised him to correct the mistakes and carry on.(A.Mohan)

Media Portrayal[edit]

Charles Edward Montague is one of the 14 main characters of the series 14 - Diaries of the Great War. He is played by actor David Acton.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Barbara Korte and Ann-Marie Einhaus (eds.) The Penguin book of First World War Stories. London ; New York : Penguin Books, 2007. ISBN 9780141442150 (pp. 396-7)
  2. ^ Oxford University Calendar 1895, Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1895, pp.261, 345.
  3. ^ a b c John Lucas, The Radical Twenties. Rutgers University Press 1999. ISBN 978-0813526829 (pp. 59-60).
  4. ^ Peter Buitenhuis,The Great War of Words: British, American, and Canadian propaganda and fiction, 1914-1933. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1987. ISBN 9780774802703 (pp. 149–52).