We were delighted to hear a little while ago from James Morrison who kindly shared some of his family history of his late father, John Milne Morrison of Aberlour, that we are sure you will find interesting too…
John Milne Morrison – my father
Dad who was known as Milne to all who knew him, was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He was a master shoemaker to the trade. He passed away 23 years ago. He was born in Aberlour in Benview House, the family home where my brother continues to live today. The background is important as it was dad’s grandfather who not only built Benview but the whole property block up to, and including, where Walkers original bakery shop continues to be. This property encompassed 2 shops and my uncle Charles’ house book-ending the property as I knew it when I grew up there.
The 2 shops were John Milne Morrison [my grandfather] the shoe shop, and Messrs J.A.J. Munro – the fishing tackle and sportswear business. These businesses were owned and run by my family until dad retired. During his time as the owner of J.A.J. Munro, my father invented the Munro Killer fly in consultation with John Ashley-Cooper, his very good friend and a well-known salmon fishing author. He took a Thunder and Lightning body but added the master stroke of a long hair wing which proved, and continues to prove, a huge attraction to the Spey salmon.
He also produced a very effective midge-repellent, the ingredients of which were secret and he employed the local chemist to bottle it for him under the name of ‘Jungle Formulae’. This same repellent, under this or a similar name, is being sold again. Something dad should probably have patented after buying Messrs J.A.J. Munro’s business.
My dad lived in Aberlour all his life and served on many local club and association committees including being one of the founder members of the local Angling Association. Due to the fact he was held in the highest regard, he was responsible for issuing permits and balancing and banking the money – a task my brother continues to this day. He was also a skilled and successful angler passing on his skills to my brother and me with both of us stepping in as ghillie’s on local beats whenever necessary.
Photographs of the Munro Killer fly, my father and the shop can be seen in articles done on the shop many years ago. I spoke with my elder brother today and he reminded me that we kept the 2 original Munro Killer flies safe at his home so I will send you some pictures at some point in the future when I return there.
(EDIT – and here they are!)
My dad would not have wished any recognition for his achievements as he was a devout christian with values to match and was a devoted family man and proud of this and his local village.
Thank you so much James for sharing this little slice of your family history and the origins of one of salmon fishing’s most famous and successful classic flies.