General Sir Charles Monro Bt GCB GCSI GCMG ADC


General Sir Charles Monro

Charles Carmichael Monro was born on 15th June 1860 and was gazetted from Sandhurst to the 2nd Foot, The Queen’s, in August 1879.

He joined the 1st Battalion at Colchester in July 1881, was appointed Adjutant, and remained in the post until July 1886. Having passed the Staff College in December 1890, he later joined the 1st Queen’s in India where he served with the Malakand Field Force, the expedition into the Mohmand country, and later the Tirah Expeditionary Force.

Promoted Major in February 1898, he was appointed Brigade Major at Gibraltar in October of the same year. After only six months in the station he was appointed DAAG in Guernsey and again six months later was transferred to a similar appointment at Aldershot.

The turning point of his career was the outbreak of the South African War in 1899. Appointed to the 6th Division on the commencement of its mobilisation in England, he partook in various actions including Paardeberg, Driefontein and Pretoria. He was promoted Brevet Lieutenant Colonel for his services. Returning home he became Chief Instructor of the School of Musketry, Hythe, in February 1901 and subsequently in 1903 Commandant. During his time from 1901 to 1907 Monro introduced the concept of fire and movement and the need for rapid aimed fire. The latter was the significant factor in halting the German Army in the early stages of the First World War - they thought they were being met with machine gun fire.

After Hythe and Brigade Command he became Major General in command of the 2nd London Territorial Division in 1911. He transferred in August 1914 to take command of the 2nd Division of the BEF, from that rising to command the 1st Army Corps at the end of December and then in July 1915 the newly formed 3rd Army. In October he was appointed to the command in the Mediterranean, his first responsibility being to recommend to the Cabinet on the problem of Gallipoli. He immediately assessed the situation as having no future and maintained this view against strong political opposition. When this was accepted he supervised the withdrawal with success - there were no casualties.

General Monro returned to France in January 1916 to command 1st Army, but in October was appointed Commander-in-Chief in India. This involved considerable administrative and recruiting duties, as the Indian Army reorganised on to a modern footing, as well as responsibility for Mesopotamia and the North West Frontier, the latter involving after the War the 3rd Afghan (or Wazisristan) War. His successful command in India was marred at its end by the controversy over the killing of some 400 unarmed Indian civilians and the wounding of 1000 more, which was ordered at Amritsar by Brigadier General Dyer. While civil unrest was rife in India at the time, General Monro was unable eventually to support General Dyer’s actions and in effect ended his career. General Monro, unfairly, received some harsh criticism for his stance.

On leaving India in 1920, besides other honours he received a Baronetcy and was appointed Bath, King of Arms. He then succeeded Sir Horace Smith - Dorrien as Governor of Gibraltar in 1923 and so successful was he in this post that the Chamber of Commerce even petitioned the Secretary of State for an extension of his five year term of office, but this was unfortunately refused. He returned home in 1928 and was appointed a trustee of the Imperial War Museum in succession to Earl Haig. He also became Chairman of SSAFA and Governor of the Church Lads Brigade.

He died on 7th December 1929 - a much loved and highly respected Colonel of The Queen’s Royal Regiment.


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