Clan Munro CrestThe Munros of Pinetown

Their Families, Ancestors and connected families

George Munro

Selina Jane Davie

Harold Gabriel Knowles

Helena Maria Glaeser

Alfred Charles Munro
Gladys Vera Knowles

Gordon Knowles Munro


Family Links

1. Gladys Ella (Sella) Low

Gordon Knowles Munro

  • Born: 27 Oct 1914, Queenstown, Cape, South Africa
  • Marriage (1): Gladys Ella (Sella) Low on 26 Apr 1947 in Frere Road Presbyterian Church, Durban, Natal, South Africa
  • Died: 5 Jan 1998, Pinetown, Natal, South Africa at age 83
  • Buried: 9 Jan 1998, St John's Cemetery, Pinetown, Natal, South Africa


The Munro family has had a long relationship with the Natal Mounted Rifles stretching back to when brothers Alfred Charles and James Davie saw action during the Natal Native Rebellion in 1906. In the First World War two of their younger brothers joined the NMR. George Ross and William Kenneth served, first at Harrismith in the Orange Free State suppressing the 1914 Rebellion and then in German South West Africa in 1915. During World War 2, Gordon Munro joined the Natal Mounted Rifles, serving in East Africa, Abyssinia and North Africa. Kit Henderson, Daphne Munro's future husband served in the same NMR Company with Gordon. Gordon, or Mike as he was known to differentiate him from another Gordon, became the unit cook and told the story of how in the retreat from Gazala in North Africa, or the 'Gazala gallop' as it became known, he had the luxury of having the kitchen truck at his disposal and picked up many stragglers during the hasty retreat from the German Afrika Korps. After the North Africa campaign, when the NMR was converted to an armoured unit in 1943, Gordon remained in Natal and was based at Natal Command HQ where he ran the mess. He sustained an injury to his eye, breaking up a fight one night. This left him permanently blind in one eye despite efforts to save his sight through the eye surgery available at the time.
After the war Gordon took it upon himself to organise and lay a wreath at the Pinetown cenotaph on behalf of the Pinetown contingent of the NMR who had served with him at every Armistice Day Parade. This took the form of a polystyrene boot as in the WW 2 regimental badge painted siver in a garland of leaves with the motto "Rough but Ready" across the bottom. Gordon did this annually as long as he was able.

Alf Munro
Natal Rebellion 1906
Alf Munro in NMR 1906
Pinetown NMR Boys at Mersah Matru, Egypt
Pinetown Boys at Mersah Matru


Pinetown NMR Boys at Kunchurro, March 1941
Pinetown Boys at Kunchurro
Gordon Munro, Aubrey Gillit and Trevor Bremner
Gordon Munro, Aubrey Gillit and Trevor Bremner
Gordon Munro in NMR Uniform
 Gordon Munro in NMR Uniform

Natal Mounted Rifles

 NMR Beret Badge

NMR Lapel Badge NMR 1906 Hat Badge"NATAL MOUNTED RIFLES (N.M.R.). One of the best-known of South African regiments, formed in 1888 by the amalgamation of four coastal units, one of which, the Royal Durban Rangers, dated back to 1854. The others were the Victoria, Alexandra and Umzimkulu Mounted Rifles. Originally, the regiment was organised in two wings, but in 1894 they were separated, the left wing becoming the Border Mounted Rifles until the formation of the Active Citizen Force in 1913, when they were again combined, as 3rd Mounted Rifles (N.M.R.). After serving throughout the siege of Ladysmith the unit was the only one from Natal to serve outside Natal after the Republican forces had been driven out of the colony. The N.M.R. fought in the Orange Free State with Gen. Sir Leslie Rundle's 8th Division until Oct. 1900, when one squadron of the Natal Volunteer Composite Regiment was formed by members of the unit.

In the Zulu Rebellion in 1906-7 the N.M.R. again served and in the First World War they were part of the 8th Mounted Brigade in German South-West Africa. They remained mounted until the reorganisation of the Active Citizen Force in 1934, when they became an infantry regiment but retained their original designation. The regiment was affiliated to the 3rd King's Own Hussars. The 15t Battalion under Lt.-Col. N. D. McMillan served in Southern Abyssinia and in the drawn-out Battle of the Lakes distinguished themselves in a sharp action at the Little Dadaba River on 13 May 1941, under the command of Maj. L. M. Harris. Embarking at Berbera, the battalion then fought throughout the North African campaign until after the Battle of El Alamein. Lt.-Col. Harris took over command and on 12 Nov. 1942 the battalion left El Alamein after the defeat of the Axis forces. They rested before embarking for home on 1 Jan. 1943.

Converted to armour and amalgamated with the S.A. Air Force Armoured Car Battalion in four squadrons, the Natal Mounted Rifles returned to North Africa in April 1943, and a year later crossed to Italy as the reconnaissance regiment of 6th S.A. Armoured Division, equipped with Sherman and Stuart tanks, under Lt.-Col. R. D. Jenkins, D.S.O. Because of their reconnaissance role, the N.M.R. were continually in the forefront of operations as an armoured unit, until the formation in Jan. 1945 of the 13th S.A. Motorised Infantry Brigade, in which the N.M.R. resumed their infantry role. The Springbok war-cry - which is an adaptation of a Zulu battle-cry - was started in the Natal Mounted Rifles and later adopted by South African rugby and other teams."

Pinetown and District Caledonian Society

Gordon and his wife Glady or Sella as she was more commonly known were active in the Pinetown and District Caledonian Society. He was actively involved in many activities of the Society, in particular with organising the monthly functions, which took the form of a social evening with dancing, from ballroom to Scottish Country Dancing. The functions also often included displays of Highland Dancing and piping and drumming by the affiliated Montclair Pipe Band. After serving on the organising Committee for many years, Gordon was elected as a Chieftan of the Society and later to the position of Chief of Pinerown Society, a position he held from 1959 to 1961. Following his terms as Chief he rose to serve as Chieftan for the Natal Province of the Federated Caledonian Societies in 1964/65 and later to be Chief of the Federation of Caledonian Societies of South Africa.  As one of the duties he undertook for the Pinetown "Callies" was an annual trip to Pietermaritzburg to collect the supply of Haggis for the Burns Night dinner which he procured from a Maritzburg butcher with Scottish roots. From all accounts the Haggis was much appreciated. He also took great pride in providing the music for all the functions and over the years built up a healthy collection of vinyl records from teh old 78 rpm's to LP's and 45 rpm seveni inch singles. These included many a classic Scots number by artists such as Kenneth McKellar, Robbie Stewart and others. The "Hogmany Ball", a grand affair by all accounts, held every New Year's Eve in the Pinetown Civic Centre Hall was a highlight of the year, with a lengthy spell of "first footing" taking place afterwards, well into New Years Day.

Gordon also actively participated in organising the annual Natal Scottish Gathering held in alternate years in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. He took charge of all the arrangements for the piping competitions, including selecting and arranging for suitable judges. He had secured two "intercom telephones" which were ex Navy, suppodedly from a decommissioned submarine, and these together with very long lengths of cable laid around the ground were used for communications between the judging stations to co-ordinate activities of all the pipers competing in the various competitions. He was very proud of the portable flag poles he had constructed from which to fly the Royal Standard "Lion Rampant" flag and/or the St Andrew's Cross of Scotland in the centre of the field at the gathering.

The Maritzburg and Durban Callies had their own pipe bands and this had been a source of discontent for Gordon. When the opportunity arose he was instrumental in securing the affiliation of the Montclair Pipe Band with the assistance of fellow Pinetown Callie, George Mustard, who was the Pipe Sergeant for the band and a piping instructor in Pinetown. His son Michael, one of George's pupils, joined the band as a young teenager and to Gordon's pride went on to become the Pipe Sergeant a role he has continued to play long after the band had been adopted by the Durban Regiment.  Durban Regiment Pipe Band web site

Pinetown Bowling Club

Gordon and Sella also took up bowls and were very active in the Pinetown Bowling Club for many years and became President of the Men's Section with Sella also serving as President of the Ladies Section. In his later years Gordon became the licencee for the "pub". The running of the pub was a passion he enjoyed for many years.

Gordon married Gladys Ella (Sella) Low, daughter of William Cruickshank Low and Williamina Mary (Minnie) Diack, on 26 Apr 1947 in Frere Road Presbyterian Church, Durban, Natal, South Africa. (Gladys Ella (Sella) Low was born on 12 Jul 1926 in Observatory, Cape Town, Cape, South Africa.)

© 2023 Don Munro