John MacGregor (VC, MC and Bar, DCM) is Canada’s most decorated soldier for valour, who during WW1 served over three years in the horrific trenches of the Western Front (including Ypres, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, the Somme, and Cambrai) as a fearless soldier and gallant leader of men. He was also a selfless civilian when, in 1921, captaining his boat in the Hecate Strait he made quick decisions to cut and release all his fishing lines to save the life of a badly injured crew member; and again in 1923 when he alone fearlessly boarded a flaming vessel in Prince Rupert, cut its lines to save a commercially valuable wharf, then axed a hole to sink the vessel; he swam to safety but not before suffering serious burns requiring lengthy hospitalization.
During WW2 Lt. Col. John MacGregor commanded the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Scottish Regiment based in Victoria training soldiers for overseas duty. After the war, he resumed working and living in Powell River until his death from cancer there on June 9th1952 at the age of 63. As eulogized by a fellow soldier and long-time friend, “I saw that here was a man’s man; a brave and kindly soul who was capable of lifting the most timid of us to almost heroic proportions by his own magnificent example”.
Photo of Lieutenant Colonel John MacGregor taken Christmas 1946, when he was Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Scottish Regiment based in Victoria, BC.
To learn more about Captain John MacGregor VC visit The Western Front Association website.
The intent of the John MacGregor Memorial Award is two-fold: to raise awareness of the man and keep alive the memory of his valorous contributions to Canada’s role in WW1; and to recognize in his name the contributions of the similarly selfless and brave volunteers who serve as members of the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA).
To donate to the fund click here.