McGREGOR, James Allan
(Service number 58573)

Aliases Allan
First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 14 October 1881 Place of Birth Burkes Pass via Fairlie

Enlistment Information

Date 27 July 1917 Age 35 years 4 months
Address at Enlistment Kimbell, Fairlie
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin John McGREGOR (father), Fairlie, Canterbury
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 5⅛ inches. Weight 160 lbs. Chest measurement 36-38 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes light brown. Hair black. Eyes both 6/6. Hearing and colour vision normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated (left arm). Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Slight degree of flat foot. Class A.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 29th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company
Date 15 August 1917
Transport Ruahine
Embarked From Wellington Destination Glasgow, Scotland
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 21 May 1919 Reason Termination of period of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Severely gassed.

Post-war Occupations



Date 8 October 1932 Age 50 years
Place of Death Winchester
Cause Result of self inflicted razor wound (Coroner's Verdict).
Memorial or Cemetery Temuka Cemetery
Memorial Reference Services Section, Row 200, Plot 3
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

James Allan McGregor, known as Allan, was born 14 October 1881 at Burkes Pass, the second son of John and Sarah Josephine (nee Stent) McGregor, and baptised on 5 December 1881 at the Catholic Cathedral of Christchurch. Allan’s father, John McGregor had arrived in New Zealand from Banffshire, Scotland in 1863. Almost immediately he became associated with the Mackenzie district, bringing the first sheep down from Christchurch for the Grampians run. He bought the Glenmore run in 1874, and 16 years later he acquired a large property near Burke’s Pass. In 1878 at St Joseph’s in Dunedin he married Australian-born Sarah Josephine Stent. John was very much involved in local public affairs. The famous Lake Alexandrina trout were released into the lake in 1881 by John McGregor. Nearby Lake McGregor is named after this family.

Like his siblings, Allan was educated at Burkes Pass School. On leaving school, he followed farming pursuits, first as a musterer and shepherd in the Burkes Pass, Fairlie and Kimbell districts, later as a farmer. He was a noted breeder of sheep dogs and a keen, successful competitor in dog trials. His Gypsy finished in fourth place in the Maiden event at the Burke’s Pass Dog Trials held in late March 1907. Record entries were received on this occasion, some of the best dogs in the southern hemisphere putting in an appearance. At the Mackenzie County Collie Dog Club’s trials, held in March 1913, his Bob was placed first in the Class I, open hunt-away, earning him £10. It was Spick who brought him a special prize in the 1915 Class III long pull. In 1911 he was elected to the committee of the Mackenzie Collie Dog Club. In October 1912 he donated a gold medal as first for maiden dog in the club’s Hunt Away. At the 1914 annual meeting he was elected one of three vice-presidents. He was appointed timekeeper for the Mackenzie Collie Dog Club in March 1917, and again on his return home in 1919.

Allan McGregor was first listed on the Reserve Roll, a farmer and horse-breeder at Kimbell. His brothers Francis Lake McGregor and John Gladstone McGregor were also listed in the Reserves. Allan was drawn in the Military Service Ballot which was announced in Timaru on 13 February 1917. In March he applied to the Military Appeal Board to have till June 20, to dispose of his land and effects. He noted that one brother had already been killed in action (Philip – died of wounds, 1915) and three brothers were on active service (Alex, Andrew, and 3rd unknown). Having left for camp on 25 June 1917, Allan enlisted on 27 July 1917, aged 35 years 4 months. A farmer, single and Roman Catholic, he named his father - John McGregor, of Fairlie, Canterbury - as next-of-kin, and gave his address as Kimbell, Fairlie. Standing at 5 feet 5⅛ inches, weighing 160 pounds, and with a chest measurement of 36-38 inches, he had a dark complexion, light brown eyes and black hair. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all normal, as were his heart and lungs. He was in good bodily and mental health, free of diseases, and his limbs and chest were well formed. With only a slight degree of flat foot, he was classified A.

He embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment of the 29th Reinforcements at Wellington on 15 August 1917 per the “Ruahine” and disembarked at Glasgow on 2 October. From there he made his way to Sling from where he left for France on 11 November. He spent three weeks leave in the UK in November 1918, then marching into Sling again, being taken on Strength, and, in January 1919, marching into Codford. Embarking at Tilbury on 12 March 1919, he reached Lyttelton, New Zealand by the “Corinthic” in April 1919, one of 1142 soldiers aboard, and then headed back to Kimbell. Private James Allan McGregor was discharged on 21 May 1919, on the termination of his term of engagement. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

In 1921 Allan married Bridget Quinn, and they settled at Winchester. It was there on 8 October 1932 that Allan met his tragic death. He was discovered lying dead, in a large pool of blood with a terrible gash in his throat, in a hay-shed near his home, by his older brother when the brother went out to feed the horses at 6.30 in the morning. Allan had been severely gassed in the war and still suffered the results at times. He suffered from severe colds and had had an illness six months earlier but had not sought medical assistance. His brother said that he had never enjoyed really good health since returning from the War and that he had failed a good deal in the last six months, although he appeared in good spirits the evening before. One of their three children suffered from a severe disability, which seemed to worry him. The coroner’s verdict was that he died by his own hand. He is buried in the Services section of the Temuka Cemetery. His wife Bridget died in 1966 and is buried in Christchurch where she had gone to live in 1935. Allan declared on 11 April 1918 that his Will was in the possession of the Public Trustee Wellington, but probate has not been sought.

The family of John and Sarah had a good war record. Allan’s brother, Andrew Ewan McGregor, died in 1920 from the effects of wounds and pneumonia resulting from his war service, and his youngest brother, Philip Donald McGregor, died of wounds in 1915. Another brother, Alexander Joseph McGregor, also served in World War I returned home no longer fit for war service. A fifth son may have volunteered twice and been turned down twice.

Two other brothers, Francis Lake McGregor and John Gladstone McGregor, were listed in the Reserves. Lake, as he was known, had married in 1914 at Timaru, and in September 1918 he was medically classified C2, his appeal being adjourned sine die. Lake and John both died in 1945. Mrs McGregor provided old linen and material for pillow cases to the Fairlie Ladies’ Patriotic Society. Mr and Mrs McGregor died within three months of each other in 1918 and are buried in the Timaru Cemetery.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [22 November 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5544 0073555) [13 May 2015]; Temuka Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [26 November 2013]; Timaru Herald, 18 October 1881, 3 April 1907, 14 September 1911, 30 October 1912, 22 March 1913, 29 April 1914, 16 June 1914, 30 March 1915, 21 October 1915, 14 February 1917, 17 & 31 March 1917, 25 June 1917, 3, 6, 7 & 10 July 1918, 11 October 1918, 12 April 1919, 12 June 1919, Sun, 10 September 1918, Press, 10 October 1932, 22 October 1945, Temuka Leader, 11 October 1932, Auckland Star, 10 December 1945 (Papers Past) [26 November 2013; 01 September 2014; 13, 16 & 17 May 2015; 03, 04 & 08 November 2019]; School Admission Records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [15 May 2015]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [2014]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [22 November 2013]; Baptism records (Catholic Diocese of Christchurch CD, held by S C Branch NZSG) [17 May 2015]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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