Sunday, 13 November 2016

H.H. Munro - "Saki" (1870 - 1916) - British writer

Best remembered for the short stories he wrote under the pen-name “Saki”, Hector Hugh Munro was born in Akyab in Burma, where his father, Charles August Munro, was in the Indian Imperial Police Force, on 18th December 1870.  Hector’s mother was Mary Frances nee Mercer, who died in 1872.    When he returned to Britain, Charles took his family to live in north Devon.

Educated at Pencarwick School in Exmouth, privately at home by governesses and at Bedford School, Hector travelled with his father to France and Germany before joining the Burmese Mounted Police.  The climate in Burma did not suite Hector, so after a year of ill health, he returned to Britain and worked as a journalist and writer.

With come difficulty because he was over age, Hector joined the 2nd King Edward’s Horse Regiment as a Trooper in the First World War and applied to go to the front.  He turned down a commission and refused to take safe jobs behind the lines.   He was transferred to the 22nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and killed in action on 13-14th November 1916 at Beaumont-Hamel.   H.H. Munro is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France.

His final book “The Toys of Peace and other papers” by H.H. Munro was published by John Lane, The Bodley Head, London, 1919, with a portrait and a memoir by his friend Rothay Reynolds, who wrote a poem to Saki.

"Yon rising Moon that looks for us again,
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
How oft thereafter, rising, look for us!
Through this same Garden - and for one in vain.
"And when like her, O Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests, star-scattered on the grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one - turn down an empty glass."