Portrait of McGregor (Battle of Britain London Monument)

 

Gordon McGregor was born in Montreal on September 26, 1901.  Educated at St. Andrews College and McGill University, McGregor was the winner of the 1935, 1936, and 1938 Webster Trophy award, presented to non-professional airmen and awarded for airmanship and navigation.

He was commissioned in October 1938, at the time serving with RCAF 115 Squadron.  At the outbreak of war, pilots of his squadron, along with those from No. 1 Squadron, formed No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron.  McGregor was a Flight Commander with this squadron when it arrived in Britain June 20, 1940.

 

Following a number of successes, he was awarded the DFC (gazetted on October 25, 1940).  He commanded the squadron during November and December of that year, and in January 1941, he was given command of 2 (RCAF) Squadron at Digby (renumbered 402 Squadron March 1st).  In April, McGregor was promoted to lead the Canadian Wing at Digby.  He returned briefly to Canada but was back in London by fall.  He was appointed Director of Air Staff at HQ RCAF London on December 5th and was there until mid-April, 1942, when he once again returned to Canada.

McGregor formed and commanded a Wing to give air support to Americans in Alaska.  In January 1943, he was made an OBE (Order of the British Empire).  He took command of Patricia Bay at the beginning of April, where its squadrons served on defence of the west coast of Canada.

McGregor returned to England on February 23, 1944, where he spent four months at HQ 83 Group and in summer was given command of 126 (RCAF) Wing.  He still flew occasional sorties; one of his last took place on March 28, 1945, in which he destroyed a locomotive.  McGregor was said the have been the oldest Canadian fighter pilot to see action in the war.  He left the Wing in late September, returned to Canada, and was released from the RCAF on November 27, 1945.

Following a career with Trans-Canada Airlines and Air Canada (becoming President of the company), he died in Montreal on March 8, 1971.

Our Museum has one of his combat reports, dated September 1, 1940:

“Time: 14.15 hours, near Biggin HIll, at a height of 18,000 feet.

The General Report:  As Red One was leading, squadron consisting Red and Yellow sections and Blue 1,2,3, and 4 squadron to patrol Kenley area at 20,000 feet.  While still at 7,000 feet saw two large formations of enemy aircraft bombers, the nearer heading West the other Northwards.  Squadrons were ordered to carry out head on attack.  After being able to secure a position astern of an enemy bomber.  A quick burst of Tracer bullets were seen to enter the aircraft which quickly changed course violently the aircraft being obviously severely damaged.  The aircraft rolled to the left and started a spiral.  At this point, I noticed the groups had turned toward the coast.  Being low on petrol and out of formation I tried to inform leader by R/T and wing waggle.  This produced no results I returned to base.”