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Daniel Alexander MC GREGOR


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Gunner 9404 24y8m 14 Jul 1915 30 May 1920 4

Gunner Daniel Alexander McGregor (1890 – 1951)

McGregor Brothers Booklet

Family background

Parents, Captain Daniel McGregor and Mrs Alice (née Biggerstaff) McGregor, have two of their four sons listed on the honour boards in the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel.  Possibly a third son’s name, Albert William is also listed. Their other son was Ernest, eldest of the brothers, who became an engineer and who died in 1970 at the age of 90.

Captain Dan McGregor, master mariner and shipping inspector, his wife and family of four sons and two daughters lived at West End, Kangaroo Point and later Meeandah and Mordant Street, Whinstanes, places on or near the Brisbane River.  

In the 1880s Captain McGregor commanded the ship Arakoon and the ketch Victor, vessels used for carrying timber logs and other goods as well as a few passengers on runs along the Queensland and northern New South Wales coast. Captain Dan McGregor was proud of his Scottish heritage. He was a foundation member of the Highland Society; the Queensland Scottish Association tendered a benefit concert and dance in honour of Daniel McGregor, one of their members in 1895.  (Mrs Alice McGregor died in 1936 and Captain McGregor, two years later.)

Early life

Daniel Alexander McGregor was born on 24 October 1890, the third son of Captain Dan McGregor and his wife Alice. In his boyhood he lived at Meeandah on the Brisbane River. He served an apprenticeship with the firm Smith, Faulkner and Company where he qualified as a blacksmith.

Enlistment and service

Dan enlisted in Brisbane on 14 July 1915 at the age of 24 years and 8 months to serve overseas in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). He named his father as next-of-kin and gave his religious denomination as Presbyterian.

He was 5 feet 2 inches (157.5 cm) tall and weighed 128 lbs (58 kg). Assigned to 1st Reinforcements for the 5th Field Artillery Brigade (FAB), Daniel Alexander McGregor embarked on HMAT Persic1 A34 from Sydney on 18 November 1915. His unit disembarked at Suez and on Christmas Day Daniel was posted to the 14th Battery of the 5th FAB at Zietoun, Egypt. The AIF joined the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium soon afterwards. Gunner McGregor’s unit crossed the Mediterranean from Alexandria to Marseilles to the Western Front in March 1916.

Field Artillery Brigades were formed to support Infantry Brigades. The battles in which they fought and the activities in which they were engaged were not as detailed in service records as for most other servicemen. It is known however that during the Great War artillery inflicted the most casualties and battle space damage and instilled the most fear among opposing forces. Its effect was both physical and psychological, with the term 'shell shock' coming into general use early in the war. Artillery required a Herculean logistic effort to keep ammunition up to the guns from manufacture to the firing line. It was also a very dangerous occupation, attracting the attention of the enemy, the general result of which was 'counter battery fire' designed to neutralise and destroy gun positions and ammunition.

Gunner Dan McGregor, a member of the 14th Battery of the 5th Field Artillery Brigade would have been experienced in the use of 18 pounder mark I and II guns.

With a range of about 6500 yards (almost 6 km) they fired various types of ammunition including high explosive fragmentation, shrapnel, smoke, gas, star (illumination) and armour piercing projectiles. The 4.5 inch howitzer was another weapon used by artillery brigades. It is also known the 5th Infantry Brigade of the Second Division was heavily involved in battles at Pozières, the advance to the Hindenburg Line, Bullecourt, Menin Road, Broodseinde and Passchendaele.

Under such dangerous conditions Gunner McGregor made his courageous contribution on the Western Front till 17 November 1917 when he was transferred to the 5th Brigade headquarters in Belgium.  At this stage he was suffering shortness of breath and other effects of gassing. After leave in the United Kingdom from 15 February to 3 March 1918, he was posted to the 105th Battery, a howitzer unit within the 5th Artillery Brigade, again supporting the Second Division in the concluding battles at Hamel, Amiens, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line and Montbrehain.

Gunner Dan McGregor was attached to the 4th FAB after fighting ceased. He remained in France till the end of June 1919.

Return home

Transferring to AIF headquarters in London, he was granted special leave before embarking on the ship Ascanius on 23 September. During the homeward voyage he was treated for scabies in the ship’s hospital and disembarked in Brisbane on 10 November. The gassing two years earlier left its mark. In a ‘medical report on an invalid’ dated 31 March 1920, a recommendation was made that he be discharged as permanently unfit for general service.

Daniel McGregor was discharged from the AIF in Brisbane on 30 May 1920. At his own request the nature and condition of his disability were not disclosed. He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Daniel returned to his home at Meeandah after the war.

Marriage and return to civilian life

On 20 August 1927 he married Annie Mackley, daughter of Walter and Mary Mackley of Red Hill. The Mackley family had previously lived in Charters Towers. Mary’s father, Mr Walter Mackley had died in 1925. The wedding ceremony took place at Scots Presbyterian Church, Clayfield, Rev Allan McKillop officiating. The occasion was described as a highland wedding with pipers playing and kilts flirting. The bridegroom’s gifts to the bride were a gold wristlet watch and a string of pearls. The wedding breakfast was held in the bride’s mother’s home at Red Hill.

The couple settled at Mrs Mackley’s home at Young Street, Red Hill where Dan worked as a motor driver. After Mrs Mackley’s death in 1934, they moved to Whinstanes and later Dover Street, Red Hill.  Sadly, Dan and Annie McGregor’s only child Mairie Alice died in 1937 when she was nine years old.

In the 1940s, Dan’s occupation was taxi driver.

Passing

Daniel Alexander McGregor died at the age of 60 years on 5 April 1951.  His funeral service in St Barnabas Church of England at Red Hill was attended by members of the Enoggera Sub-branch of the RSSAILA2.  The funeral of his widow Mrs Annie McGregor was held in the same church three years later.  Both were cremated and their ashes interred in the Mackley family grave at Toowong Cemetery.


Footnotes
1. His Majesty’s Australian Transport
2. Returned Sailors’, Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia

References

• National Archives of Australia, military records, World War 1
• National War Memorial, unit histories and embarkation rolls
• Ancestry on line
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1905 – 1958
• New South Wales Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages
• Queensland Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages
• Brisbane City Council, Cemetery Records
• New South Wales Registers of Seamen, 1859 – 1936
• Register of Examinations, masters and mates (foreign), 1886 – 1921
• The Week, 14 May 1881, page 18
• Maryborough Chronicle, 21 June 1883, page 2; 28 March 1884, page 2
• The Brisbane Courier, 13 August 1881, page 4; 4 April 1885, page 1; 6 April 1895, page 4; 22 August 1927, page 18
• Cairns Post, 29 August 1927, page 12
• The Courier-Mail, 13 January 1936, page 1; 10 January 1938, page 1; 22 February 1938, page 24; 10 March 1951, page 14
• Brisbane Telegraph, 5 January 1954, page 8

Compiled by Noel Edward Adsett, Brisbane.  March 2017

 

 

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