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George Munro

EDITOR: In a newsletter I told of the meeting Bet & I had with George & Ann Munro in Timaru in New Zealand. Ann sent me the following story of George's Grandfather & grandmother and is typical of so many of our ancestors who made the break from “the old country” and journeyed to, in this case to New Zealand but also to America (North & South), Australia, Canada, South Africa and to quite a number of other countries.

Oldshoremore, a small fishing village on the far North-west coast of Scotland, 2 miles North West of Kinlochbervie was George's birth place, the fifth and youngest son of James Munro and Williamina (Corbett). Many births in those early days took place with the help of a midwife, or the family when the midwife did not arrive in time. The Doctor, if required, travelled about 9 miles from Scourie by boat after someone had travelled over 15 miles on horseback to inform him.

George was very young when his family moved to Achlyness, a small crofter village on the south side of Loch Inchard, where his father James had a one acre croft. In the corrugated iron school building, George attended school along with his future wife Agnes Fraser whose family also lived at Achlyness.  In the 1881 census his occupation was a fisherman at aged 16. Prior to enlisting in the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) on 17th Dec 1894 at the age of 19 years and 9 months, George was a draper, a dealer in fabrics and sewing materials.

At 5' 9" in stature, George had brown hair, a fair complexion and blue eyes; on the back of his left hand was the distinctive mark of an anchor and a he had a congenital mark at the back of his neck, on the left side. He spent 7½ years in the Army, including 4 years in India (Dec 1896 to Dec 1901), and served in South Africa (Boer War Campaign) from December 1901 to June 1902. The Black Watch Museum, in Perth records his service thus; 1893 January - Sitapur and Benares; 1896 February – Ambula; 1895 April - Svbathv, Detat Jutogh; 1901 February - Kamptee; 1901 December - South Africa; 1902 October – Edinburgh

George was awarded the Queen's South African Medal which in 1901 was presented to all troops who served in South Africa between 1st January 1901 and 31st May 1902, it is now owned by a grandson, Alex Laing.  He gained a reputation in the regiment as a piper and during his time in South Africa, George had his Henderson bagpipes silver mounted. He continued with the Black Watch Reserve being discharged on 16 December 1906 after completing 12 years in both Army and Reserve. Whilst with the Reserve he joined the Leith Police Force, Edinburgh in mid 1902 where he was a constable at the Leith Police Station, Queen Charlotte St, near 41 James Street, where George was residing.

George Munro - From Oldshoremore in South Africa

At this time Agnes Fraser went down to Edinburgh and worked as a domestic servant for Mrs Hare at 14 Eglinton Crescent. George and Agnes were married in Leith, on 10 June 1903. Their four children - Mina, Janet (Net) Thomas (Tom) and Jemima (Mimme) were born in Leith. There were many tenement buildings in Edinburgh at that time in the Halmyre Street building where the Munros lived, there were 16 tenements. A front door at the pavement edge opened into a passage led through to a backyard, an internal staircase led up to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors, each floor containing four tenements.

The family decided to emigrate to New Zealand and on 25th November 1910 George sailed on the 'RUAHINE' with Mr Wm Robertson, also a Police Constable. George became a Constable at the Mount Cook Police Station, Wellington (near the Basin Reserve).  Agnes and the four young children went up to Achlyness to live with her parents, Thomasand Janet Fraser. With the other grandparents James and Mina Munro, living just further along the road this would be a very special time for the family.  MORE>>