14 September 2002

A memorial stone for Colour Sergeant James Munro was dedicated at a Service held on the 14th September 2002 at the small derelict cemetery at the Craig Dunain Hospital, near Inverness. The service was conducted by the Regimental Padre The Rev John Shields MBE and was attended by representatives of the Regimental Association; Regular Army; the Lord Lieutenant; Highland Council and Highland Health Board; the local Hospital Trust; as well as members of Clan Munro, who made a generous contribution to the ceremony.

James Munro's life story is probably fairly typical of many soldiers of his generation with the exception, of course, that he won his nation's highest award for gallantry. He was born on the 11th October 1826 to James and Effie Munro in the parish of Nigg in Easter Ross. He joined the Army on the 27th April 1846 and was attested for the 93rd Highlanders. He remained a Private for six years before being promoted Corporal in April 1853, and Sergeant in June 1854, by which time he was serving in the Crimea. Although the 93rd served at the Alma and Balaklava, Munro only has the Sebastopol clasp on his Crimea Medal. It would be interesting to discover how he missed these two actions. Munro served in the Crimea for 18 months before moving with the 93rd to India, where he was promoted Colour Sergeant in February 1857.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 8 November 1860 ]. Sucundra Bagh, Lucknow, India, 16 November 1857, Colour-Sergeant James Munro, 93rd Regiment ( Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders ).

"For devoted gallantry at Secundra Bagh in having promptly rushed to the rescue of Captain Walsh of the same corps, when wounded and in danger of his life, whom he carried to a place of safety, into which place the sergeant was brought in shortly afterwards badly wounded."
James Munro was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on the 9th November 1860.

Captain Walsh survived the battle, but James Munro's injuries were severe and he was returned to Britain and at a Board held on 26th October 1858 was declared unfit for further service. Colour Sergeant James Munro had served for a total of 12 years and 96 days. It is not known why Munro's Victoria Cross was gazetted so much later, in 1860, than the other VCs awarded for action on 16th November 1857. It is possible the process and criteria for awards were not consistently applied at this stage.

James Munro appeared to suffer badly from his wounds and was eventually removed to Inverness District Asylum on 31st March 1870. His condition and health deteriorated for the next year and he died in Craig Dunain Hospital on the 15th February 1871, aged 45. There is no record of his burial but it is believed he was buried in the Asylum cemetery either because there were no relatives to collect the body or they were too poor to do so.

Medal entitlement of Colour-Sergeant James Munro - 93rd Highlanders

  • Victoria Cross
  • Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Sebastopol"
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Relief of Lucknow"
  • Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )


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Iain Stewart, 15 September 2002