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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. J G Munro


John Gray Munro, the son of a lawyer, was born in Aberdeen on 24th March 1913. He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and St. Johns College Cambridge, where he graduated with Honours in the Mechanical Sciences Tripos.

Munro learned to fly with the University Air Squadron and was awarded Aero certificate 11863 at Marshalls of Cambridge on 30th April 1934. He was commissioned in the RAFO in 1934.

On 29th September 1934 Munro joined the RAF with a direct-entry commission, one of the few offered in competition each year to graduates of British and Commonwealth universities.



Above: in front of a 263 Squadron Whirlwind

Above L to R: F/Lt. DAC Crooks DFC, S/Ldr. J Munro, F/Lt.TP Pugh


Munro did his flying training at 3 FTS Grantham and on 5th September 1935 he joined 47 Squadron in Khartoum. He returned to the UK in February 1936 and went to the Aircraft Armament Co-operation Flight.

On 29th August 1937 Munro went to the Air Armament School and moved to the Research and Development Department of the Air Ministry on 15th August 1938 where he was associated with the design of servo-fed 20mm cannons, which were later installed in RAF fighters.

Munro went to 5 OTU Aston Down on 19th June 1940 for a refresher course and conversion to Hurricanes. He was posted to 263 Squadron at Grangemouth on 15th July but was immediately detached to the Air Ministry.

Munro finally joined 263 on 7th August 1940 as 'A' Flight Commander. He served with the squadron at Grangemouth and later Drem during the remaining period of the Battle of Britain.

Like Squadron Leader Eeles, Munro’s name does not appear in the 263 ORB as having flown operationally during the Battle of Britain period. However after his son contacted the Ministry of Defence in October 1981, it subsequently issued the Clasp to Munro’s widow.

On 16th December 1940 Munro took command of 263 and led it until 3rd March 1941 when he went to the Aircraft Gun Mounting Establishment at Duxford, as Chief Test Pilot and Chief Technical Officer. He was given command of the unit on 23rd September 1941.

When the unit was amalgamated with the A&AEE Boscombe Down in late 1941 Munro was promoted and appointed Wing Commander Fighters at the Telecommunications Unit at Hurn, responsible for the testing and performance assessment of radar and other electronic equipment. He moved with the TFU to the Radar Research Establishment at Defford in May 1942.

Munro went to Army Staff College on 6th August 1942 and on graduation in December he was posted to HQ Fighter Command.

He held a series of staff jobs until 25th July 1943, when he was posted to Air HQ India. He served in South East Asia and returned to the UK in June 1946.

Munro retired from the RAF on 21st February 1949 because of ill-health, as a Wing Commander, retaining the rank of Group Captain.

He died on 23rd January 1951.

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