Ronald George Munro

Lt Ronald George Munro DSO MC London Irish Rifles was the son of George and Margaret Munro.

He was born in April 1885 into a well-off middle class family. His father, was the London manager of the National Bank of China and the family lived in Hamstead.

In 1898, he went to the Merchant Taylors School. The school records are sparse in his case, he was not a member of any school team and appears to have been an average pupil. On leaving school he became a soldier but subsequently he joined Jardine, Matheson and Co and for several years he was a manager of Jardine, Matheson and Co in Kobe.

At the outbreak of war he returned to Britain, by then he was 29, and re-enlisted in the Artists’ Rifles. He was commissioned in July 1915 and was posted to 1/18th Battalion of the London Irish Rifles.

He was severely wounded in January 1916 near Loos where he won the Military Cross. The London Gazette of 22nd January, 1916 reads: 

“For conspicuous gallantry and ability at the Quarries near Vermelles, on the 16th December, 1915. He was in command of a party of Grenadiers in a very exposed position in the front line and repulsed a succession of violent bomb attacks made by the enemy.”

Vermelles was on the Loos sector and the Quarries were a particularly hard fought position. The description in the history of the Division describes the action as a vicious series of attacks and counter attacks over very exposed forward trenches.

On recovering from his wounds, he was attached to the 1st Battalion. the Irish Guards in July 1916, then engaged in the Battle of the Somme, which had commenced on 1 July 1916, probably as a stop-gap replacement as heavy casualties were being suffered by the battalion. This was a fatal posting. His unit was pinned down in full view of the enemy and heavily shelled. Munro was fatally wounded and died four days later. An exceptionally brave man. His battalion diary for the day does not mention his being injured by name; 223 men, say a quarter of the battalion, were lost that day, losses among junior officers were perhaps too heavy to note separately. His will was written in the trenches two days before his final injury in letter form. He knew well the probability of death being experienced by all junior officers on the Somme. His will begins, “Dear Hamilton – My Division will be in the Soup in a few days My Will has gone astray so if I get knocked please see that …… 

The Military Cross is reported in the Ealing Gazette and West Middlesex Observer 5th February, 1916 “Lieutenant Ronald George Munro (say “S. Saviour’s Parish Magazine”) has been awarded the Military Cross. Two brothers, Hector and Kenneth Munro, are members of S.Saviour’s congregation, and are both in the Army, Kenneth Munro having only just recovered from a serious wound, whilst Ronald is reported seriously wounded…”

Later in the year, on 7th October, 1916 and in the same newspaper, information about Ronald’s death is published “Ronald George Munro, after winning both the Military Cross and the D.S.O., died recently in the Base Hospital at Roeun. His two brothers, who are still fighting, are closely connected with S.Saviour’s Church.”

He was initiated into the Scottish Constitution before joining Rising Sun Lodge No 1401 in Kobe, Japan which operated under the English Constitution in 1911. Work saw him move posts and Lodges to Perseverance Lodge No 1165 in Hong Kong in 1913.