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Born in Oxford in 1919, Lyell Munro was the second son of James Munro CBE, Professor of Entomology at Imperial College. He was educated at the Dragon School and Repton before going to Oxford to study Politics and Economics. When the war broke out, he joined the Royal Artillery and then volunteered to become an Air Observation Post pilot.

In 1946, Lyell returned to civilian life and completed his degree at Oxford before marrying Jean, the girl who he met in 1943 at what might count as one of the longest Christmas parties of the war. After serving as a Colonial Administrator in Africa and Cyprus and then as a Senior Civil Servant in the UK he retired to Scotland. He died in 2002 and is buried in Kinloss Abbey.