3/709  2nd Lieutenant Peter Munro – Auckland Infantry Regiment

Peter Munro was born, September 1892, in the small Scottish village Skinnet, Tongue, Country Sutherland[i] the son of
John and Helen Munro.

He was a ‘husky lad’ and excelled at sports in 1910 entered and won the Junior Championship of Scotland being first in
four of the events he entered in; shot put, hammer throw, tossing the caber and catch-as-catch wrestling.[ii]

Peter Munro joined the Clydebank Police force in 1910 and served with them for two years before he travelled, in 1913,
to Perth, West Australia where he joined their police force. Again his prowess on the sports field was noted winning
shot and hammer titles as a member of the Western Australian Police team that won the state title.

Peter moved from Perth, Western Australia to New Zealand arriving in August 1914. In 1915 Peter was employed at the Porirua Mental Institute as a medical attendant and it was from this Institution that he enlisted in April 1915.[iii] Peter Munro lists his next of kin as his mother Mrs Helen Munro, Skinnet, Scotland.

Following training at Trentham 3/709 Private Peter Munro, New Zealand Medical Corp left New Zealand for Egypt, on
13th June 1915, with the No2 Stationary Hospital. In Egypt the No2 Stationary Hospital was based at Pont de Koubbeh, Cairo.  Private Munro contracted diphtheria on 5th August 1915 and remained in hospital until 18th September 1915 possibly preventing him being sent to the Dardanelles. Private Munro was promoted to Lance Corporal in May 1916, Mentioned in Dispatches (MID) on 21st June 1916[iv] for his services in Egypt.

In June 1916, Lance Corporal Munro along with the renamed No1 New Zealand General Hospital moved to Brockenhurst, England.[v] It was while at Brockenhurst, Lance Corporal Munro was promoted to Corporal on 13th December 1916. It
was at Brockenhurst that Corporal Munro was instructed to throw snowballs with his left hand only:

“month of May arrived with no sign of a thaw. Then,
suddenly, without warning, came a heavy fall of snow,
about six inches deep. Snowballs were soon flying about
and there were battles royal between the N.C.O.s and
orderlies, many of whom had never before been so close
to snow. Sergeant[vi] Peter Munro, once amateur
champion of Scotland at hurling heavy weights, threw
a snowball with such force that it hit an astonished
orderly on the side of the head thirty yards away.
The orderly promptly fell down and took the count, but
in a few moments he sat up, still bewildered, wondering
what had hit him. Thereafter Munro was allowed to
throw only with his left arm.”[vii]

Brockenhurst patients prepare for a snowball fight

It was shortly after this incident that Corporal Munro was transferred to the 4th Field Ambulance and was sent to France. On 13th September 1917 Corporal Munro was attached to the 3rd Battalion of the Wellington Infantry. The Battalion,
as part of the Anzac Division, was training for the Battle of Passchendaele. The opening assault on the 4th October 1917 was a limited action with the first objective the Red Line just short of the Gravenstafel Village and a second objective the Blue Line beyond the Gravenstafel Village and down the Stroombeck Valley. There was a system of leapfrogging where
the 3rd Otago would take the first objective and then the 3rd Wellington would pass through them to take Gravenstafel Village, Berlin Pill Boxes and Waterloo Farm.[viii]

Corporal Munro was received a head wound on 4th October 1917 evacuated by the No 3 Field Ambulance to the
44th Casualty Clearance Station and then to the No 2 Canadian General Hospital. The wound was not severe, although
it is listed on his military files as such. Corporal Munro was discharged back to the No 4 Field Ambulance on
25th October 1917. Corporal Munro was promoted to Sergeant Munro on 5th November 1917 and two days later
detached to the 3rd Battalion, Auckland Regiment with a note on his file ‘candidate for promotion.’

On 21st February 1918 Sergeant Munro was sent to England as a nominee for NZEF commission. While training for a commission he took part in the British Empire – American Sports at Stamford Bridge on 7th September 1918 winning
a gold medal in the Shot.[ix]

Sergeant Munro was finally granted his commission as 2nd Lieutenant on 2nd October 1918 then posted to France
joining the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment in the field on 13th October 1918. 2nd Lieutenant Munro stayed with the
2nd Battalion through to the end of the war and possibly served in the Army of Occupation that went to Germany.

2nd Lieutenant Munro returned to England on 18th March 1919 and was then repatriated to New Zealand arriving in Auckland on 30th May 1919 and following a months leave on 27th June 1919 was discharged from the NZEF but retained
as an officer in the Territorial Forces.

By November 1919 Peter Munro had moved to Wellington and was living in the Wellington Police Barracks as Constable Munro, the start of a long career with the NZ Police.

Constable Munro married Christina (Chrissy) Olsen in 1920 and they had three sons John (Jacky) Arthur, Peter and
Douglas Gordon Munro.

Peter and Chrissy's wedding 1920

Peter Munro served as the Assistant Commissionaire Auckland District from
1952 – 1958 and during his tenure he was the patron of the No 2 Recruitment
Wing (1956)[x].

The original Police Munro Canteen was constructed during 1956
but transferred in the early 1980’s to Porirua. The Munro Canteen
and Munro Sports Shop is an appropriate memorial
for a man who achieved so much during his sporting career.

Peter Munro was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Peter Munro died in Auckland in 1971.

Peter Munro in his athletic career won sixty-eight championships

The New Zealand Railway Magazine – 1st February 1936
The Wellington Regiment (NZEF) 1914 – 1919: NZETC
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files
Celebrating 25 years of Police training at Porirua

Preparing for a snowball fight - Brockenhurst: Postcard 
Peter Munro & Christina Olsen wedding: New Zealand Freelance
Assistance Commissoner Munro: Cop Shop Police College

[i] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files:3/709 2nd Lieutenant Peter Munro
[ii] Panorama of the Playground, 1st February 1936, The New Zealand Railway Magazine
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 3/709 2nd Lieutenant Peter Munro
[iv] London Gazette 29632 June 1916
[v] The New Zealand War Effort : New Zealand Hospitals in Egypt – Major Bowerbank
[vi] Possibly using a rank given later.
[vii] Panorama of the Playground
[viii] Gravenstafel - Wellington Regiment (NZEF) 1914- 1919
[ix] Panorama of the Playground, 1st February 1936, The New Zealand Railway Magazine
[x] Celebrating 25 years of police training at Porirua

Brockenhurst Patients May 1917