Lieutenant-Colonel John MacGregor, VC, MC, DCM, ED

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    John MacGregor was born and educated in Nairn, Scotland. At age 20 he emigrated to Canada and by 1915 was trapping in the north of B.C. when a passing ranger told him Canada was at war. Although it was mid-winter - he trekked for five days through the bush to enlist ( he is said to have snowshoed some 400 kilometres to Prince Rupert to join the army ) He was initially refused because of his poor physical state, but in March he joined the 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles at Vancouver as a trooper. He transferred to the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles before arriving in France in September of that year.

    In 1916 MacGregor was made a sergeant, and in May 1917 he fought at Vimy Ridge. He received the Distinguished Conduct Medal in July 1917. The citation read "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He single-handedly captured an enemy machine-gun and shot the crew, thereby undoubtedly saving his company from many casualties." The following year MacGregor, by then a lieutenant, was awarded the Military Cross for a successful trench raid.

    He was 29 years old, and a temporary captain in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
    During the period 29 September/3 October 1918 near Cambrai, France, Captain MacGregor acted with most conspicuous bravery and leadership. He led his company under intense fire, and although wounded, located and put out of action enemy machine-guns which were checking progress, killing four and taking eight prisoners. He then reorganised his command under heavy fire and in the face of stubborn resistance continued the advance. Later, after a personal daylight reconnaissance under heavy fire, he established his company in Neuville St. Remy, thereby greatly assisting the advance into Tilloy.

    Finally, MacGregor received a Bar to his Military Cross for action in November 1918.

    After the war he returned to Canada, working as a fisherman, a carpenter and a millwright. In 1940, by now aged 51, he again enlisted in the Canadian Army and was made a major in the 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Scottish Regiment. He was later promoted to lieutenant-colonel and given command of a training camp in Wainwright, Alberta He served until 1946.

    After the war, MacGregor, VC, returned to Powell River, B.C., and established his own business at Cranberry Lake. Following a long illness, he died in Powell River Hospital on June 9, 1952 He is buried at Cranberry Lake Cemetery, Powell River, British Columbia.

    In addition to the Victoria Cross, the MacGregor medals include the Military Cross and Bar, Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, 1939-45 Star, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Bar, 1939-45 War Medal, 1937 Coronation Medal (King George VI) and the Efficiency Decoration.
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Colonel John MacGregor, VC, MC and Bar, DCM, Efficiency Decoration is one of this Canada and British Columbia's outstanding military historical figures, as his four decorations (including the second Military Cross award denoted by the bar) attest. This remarkable number of the highest military gallantry decorations, a number not exceeded by any other WWI veteran, were earned during actions while serving with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, now known as the British Columbia Dragoons. Colonel MacGregor thereby has also earned a position of great significance in the military heritage of the Okanagan Valley. For all these military accomplishments he was a modest and retiring man who was only drawn to public attention by his loyalty to his regiment.

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  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    This is a very special man ...

    John MacGregor is a beloved character in Powell River's history. Officially listed in military records as Lt. Col. John MacGregor, V.C., M.C. and Bar, D.C.M., E.D, he is Canada's most decorated soldier for valour. When W.W.I struck in 1914, MacGregor was trapping in Nass Valley and snowshoed 100 miles into Prince Rupert to enlist. Ironically he failed his physical examination as he was exhausted from his trek. Undaunted, he travelled to Vancouver and applied again. He joined the 16th Battalion Canadian Scottish, Second Canadian Mounted Rifles and was sent to France in 1915. His feats while in France are truly amazing. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal after leading the Canadian attack on Vimy Ridge, in 1917. In 1918, he captured several of the enemy on Hill 70 and was awarded the Military Cross and Bar (the Bar signifying a second awarding of the M.C.). His highest award, The Victoria Cross, was won for extreme bravery at Cambrai, France, when he captured a machine gun nest single-handedly, killing four of the enemy and taking eight others prisoner.

    After the war, MacGregor moved to Powell River working at the mill and later in his own concrete plant until his death in 1952. A very humble man, he never talked of his wartime achievements and he was most proud not of medals, but of his efficiency decoration (for serving in both wars and twenty years of dedication to the military), and his Canadian Citizenship papers. His son, Don MacGregor, recalls how his father was so excited about receiving his Citizenship papers, that he claimed, “These are the greatest award Canada has ever given me.”

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