Monro Hector *

The Right Honourable Lord Monro of Langholm AE, DL.

603 Squadron, Honorary Air Commodore of 2622 (Highland) Squadron
and Honorary Inspector-General Royal Auxiliary Air Force

Hector Monro, a veteran Sunderland and Catalina pilot of the Second World War, joined No 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and flew Spitfires until the Squadron was disbanded in the fifties. He was appointed as the Honorary Air Commodore of No 2622 (Highland) Squadron in 1982 and later he became the Honorary Inspector-General of the Force until 2000. Lord Monro of Langholm and Westerkirk was one of Scotland’s longest-ever serving MPs. As a farmer and county councillor, he was elected to the Dumfriesshire constituency in 1964 and went on to become a popular constituency MP until his retiral in 1997.

Lord Monro will also be remembered for his work with and support of relatives of those lost in the Lockerbie disaster on 1988 and its aftermath. Living just a few miles away, he was quickly on the scene offering help and comforting relatives from both this country and abroad. He was a key figure at the dedication at Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC by President Bill Clinton of a Scottish cairn to those who lost their lives in the atrocity.

Lord Monro was born in Edinburgh in 1922 to a family with a distinguished military background and brought up near at Craigcleuch near Langholm when not accompanying his father, Captain Alastair Monro, on postings with the Cameron Highlanders.

He was educated at Canford School and Kings College, Cambridge, where he had a particular interest with the university air squadron and it was this interest that led him to divert from the family’s army background during the Second World War and join the RAF where he became a flight lieutenant.

He was with Coastal Command on Atlantic patrols flying Sunderlands before being trained in the United States on Catalinas and took part in covert patrols in the Far East. He served from 1941 to 1946 when he was demobbed on return from Hong Kong.On his return to Scotland, he took up farming at Craigcleuch but retained his interest in flying through the Royal Auxiliary Air Force flying Spitfires with No 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron from 1947 to 1954.

In 1949, Lord Monro married Anne Welch at St Giles Cathedral, in Edinburgh. They later had two sons, Seymour, born in 1950, and Hughie in 1953 both of whom had successful careers in the British army rising to the rank of Major General and Brigadier respectively. Seymour was the Honorary Air Commodore of 2622 (Highland) Squadron from 2008 to 2019. Lady Monro died in 1994 and Lord Monro later married a family friend Doris Kaestner, of Baltimore in the US. Lord Monro died in 2006.

Posted in Memorial Stones.