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General Sir Hector Munro


1726 - 1805

Military commander and politician. Born into a landed family of Novar (Easter Ross), Munro joined the army in 1749. In 1761, he left for Bombay as a Major and took command of the 89th Regiment of Foot. Later the same year his regiment captured Mahe, a port-city in SW India, from the French. He was then involved in suppressing a mutiny amongst the sepoys at Patna (NE India). He went on to play an important role in consolidating the British Empire in India firstly through the decisive Battle of Buxar (1764), where an army under Munro's command defeated the combined forces of Mir Kasim (the Nawab of Bengal), Shuja-ud-Dowlah (the Nawab of Awadh) and Shah Alam II (the Mogul Emperor). British losses were minimal, but more than 6000 of their enemy were killed. Munro was appointed Commander-in-Chief of India (1864-65).

He returned to Britain and was elected as Member of Parliament for the Inverness Burghs in 1768. He was to represent this seat for the next thirty years, although he returned to India in 1778. There he took command of the army in Madras, capturing Pondicherry from the French in 1779. However his force was defeated by Hyder Ali at Kanchipuram (Conjeevaram) in 1780 and Munro was replaced as commander, although he led a division at the defeat of Hyder Ali the following year at Porto Novo. He took Negapatnam from the Dutch later the same year.

Munro retired to his Highland estate at Novar in 1782, having used his wealth to build Novar House and improve the land. He also built a remarkable monument on nearby Fyrish Hill as means of giving work to the local unemployed.

Munro's sons were both killed in India, and his estate passed to his daughter, Jean, who had married Ronald Ferguson of Raith (1773 - 1841).


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