Hector 'Pat' Patrick Munro enlisted as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers in February 1943, and was commissioned (in RE) in India in May 45. Whilst at OCTU (in India called Engineer Officers Training Unit), he volunteered for AB forces, as a consequence of an India Army wide circular asking for volunteers for AB forces.
In India, the Engineers were composed of three very separate Sapper and Miner (S and M) Groups, based on the three pre-mutiny Presidencies – Bengal, Madras and Bombay. 50 (Ind) Para Bde had been raised in November 1941, and its Para Sqn was a Bombay Sappers and Miners unit.
Just before he was commissioned, the three EOTSs received a letter from GHQ(I), stating that cadets who had volunteered for AB forces were not to be posted direct to such units, but had to spend a period in their respective depots. How long was not mentioned. He got his first choice of Group- the Bombay S & M based at Kirkee (near Poona) – and was posted to be the Adjt of the Boys Bn. The boys were aged from 16 to 18, and the training objectives were simple – Feed them up to increase their manual strength - Sappering entailed a lot more brute strength than today (Bailey Bridging included lifting 90/100 lbs per sapper); elementary foot and rifle drill; musketry; field craft and education – Urdu, the mother tongue of the Army, was not that of all recruits.
He attended a Regular Commission WOSB, and passed it. He was then posted to 411 (R Bombay) Para Sqn RIE, and was appointed the Admin Officer – This was another name for the Quartermaster, as the Indian Army did not have the equivalent of the then QM commissions. It was quite an experience, which stood him in good stead when he rejoined the British Army.
He was the AO for about a year when he was then posted to HQRE 2 Ind AB Div as the IO. With hindsight, the CRE (Lt Col M C A Henniker DSO, OBE MC, and the first CRE of 1 AB Div) did this to give him experience in a HQRE, as he was then the only subaltern with a regular commission. Due to a combination of repatriation and demob that started in earnest in 1946, he was posted back to 411 in June 1947 as its 2ic, and when he left for the UK in Nov 1947, to go on a degree course, he was it’s Acting OC (promotion had been stopped for British Officers attached to the Indian Army –As he was)
After a degree course he was posted back to AB Forces as a Tp Comd in 9 Indep AB Sqn RE, in those days the only all regular unit (except for its ACC cooks) in the British Army. He served in 9 Sqn for two years and was then posted to the Officer Cadet Sqn at Chatham as an Instructor of NS Officer Cadets. He was then posted to be the 2ic of 38 Fd Sqn RE, part of 23 Fd Engr Regt, which was the Div Engrs of 2 Inf Div in BAOR.
He retired in March 1955 to join the Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies, working in the UK, Ethopia, Kenya and Singapore. He also served in the TA (RE) and was CO of 114 (1 London) Corps Engr Regt when it was disbanded in the TA reorganisation in 1968. He then joined the Department of Energy in November 1973 as the first incumbent of the post of Petroleum Refinery Adviser. He finally retired in December 1987 and emigrated to live in Spain. He and his wife Betty celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on 27 August 2009, with their three children; Sally, who is the current RAO of 4 Para (V) in Leeds, Susan who works for BT in London, and Stuart, who works in Engineering Procurement in London.
Pat passed away on 5 April 2016, aged 90 years old.