Munro, William (DNB00)

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MUNRO, WILLIAM (1818–1880), general and botanist, eldest son of William Munro of Druids Stoke, Gloucestershire, entered the army as ensign 39th foot 20 Jan. 1834. His subsequent steps in the regiment, all by purchase, were lieutenant April 1836, captain 2 July 1844, major 7 May 1852, and lieutenant-colonel 11 Nov. 1853. He served with his regiment many years in India, and as adjutant was severely wounded at the battle of Maharajpore, 24 Dec. 1843, where the regiment suffered heavy loss (Maharajpore Star). He commanded the regiment at the siege of Sebastopol, and commanded the supports of the 3rd division in the attack on the Redan, 18 June 1855 (C.B., Legion of Honour and Medjidié, and English and Turkish Crimean medals). He commanded the 39th during its subsequent service in Canada and at Bermuda, retiring on half-pay in 1865.

Munro became a major-general 6 March 1868, commanded the troops in the West Indies 1870-6, was made a lieutenant general 10 Feb. 1876, was appointed honorary colonel 93rd highlanders 11 Oct. the same year, and became a full general 25 June 1878. He died at Taunton, 29 Jan. 1880.

Munro was a ‘learned botanist’ (Nature, 12 Feb. 1880, p. 357). He contrived to combine with his military duties ‘so close a study of the characters, nomenclature, affinities, and classification of grasses as to have been for many years the most trustworthy referee on that difficult order.’ A ‘Monograph on the Bamboos’ in the ‘Transactions of the Linnean Society’ proves ‘his industry and profound knowledge of his subject’ (Gardener's Chron. 5 Feb. 1880). When Munro retired from active service and established himself at Taunton, he commenced a general monograph of the whole order of Gramineæ, in continuation of the ‘Prodromus’ of A. de Candolle. To the abiding loss of science, the monograph was not completed.

Munro was author of the following papers: ‘Discovery [by Lieutenant W. Munro] of Fossil Plants at Kamptee,’ ‘Proceedings of Agricultural Society of India,’ 1842, pp. 22-23; ‘On Antidotes to Snake-bites,’ ‘Journal of Agricultural Society of India,’ 1848, vi. 1-23; ‘Report on Timber Trees of Bengal,’ ‘Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal,’ 1849, xlvi. 84-94; ‘Froriep Notizen,’ 1849, x. 81-7, ‘Characters of some New Grasses collected at Hong Kong and in the vicinity by Mr. Charles Wright in the North Pacific Exploring Expedition,’ ‘American Academy Proceedings,’ 1857-60, vi. 362-8; ‘An Identification of the Grasses of Linnæus's Herbarium, now in possession of the Linnean Society of London,’ ‘Linnean Society's Journal,’ 1862., vi. 33-55.

[Hart's Army Lists; Kinglake's Crimea, cab. ed.; Cat. Scientific Papers, under ‘Munro, William;’ Broad Arrow, February 1880.]

H. M. C.