McGREGOR, Andrew Ewan
(Service number 10/1587)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Lance Corporal|
|Date||11 August 1892||Place of Birth||Burke's Pass, Canterbury|
|Date||18 November 1914||Age||22 years 3 months|
|Address at Enlistment||43 Church Street West, Palmerston North|
|Previous Military Experience||No. 6 Company Railway Engineers|
|Marital Status||Single. Married Beatrice Alice TAYLOR on 25 August 1917 at St David's Chapel, Mold, Wales|
|Next of Kin||J. McGREGOR (father), School Road, Fairlie, South Canterbury|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 7½ inches. Weight 154 lbs. Chest measurement 34-37½ inches. Complexion fair. Eyes brown. Hair dark brown. Sight, hearing and colour vision all normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth excellent. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. No vaccination mark. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Scar across left cheek.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||3rd Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Wellington Infantry Battalion|
|Date||14 February 1915|
|Transport||Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Wellington Infantry Regiment|
|Campaigns||Balkan - Gallipoli; Egypt; Western Front|
|Service Medals||1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||12 June 1919||Reason||Termination of period of engagement|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
18 August 1915 admitted to Hospital Anzac. Wounded in the Dardanelles - gunshot wound below the knee, and caught enteric fever - October 1915 sent to Manchester Hospital, England (five months in bed). Wounded - 4 pieces of shrapnel penetrated his body (left thigh); 3 hours before being assisted, at the battle of Messines in France on 11 June 1917, invalided to England, and in Walton-on-Thames Hospital. 7 Jul 1917 transferred to Convalescent Unit at Hornchurch. 1 September 1917 admitted to NZ General Hospital at Codford. 7 December 1917 to V.D. section. .
|Date||16 August 1920||Age||28 years|
|Place of Death||Christchurch|
|Cause||Died of wounds, pneumonia, after discharge from NZEF. Due to War Service. .|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 20 August 1920; Press, 17 August 1920|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Bromley Cemetery, Chrsitchurch|
|Memorial Reference||Block 26, Plot 25|
|New Zealand Memorials||Mackenzie District War Memorial, Fairlie (2016 additions)|
Andrew Ewan McGregor was the sixth son of John and Sarah Josephine (née Stent) McGregor, of Fairlie. Born on 11 August 1892 at Burkes Pass, he was baptised on 25 September 1892 at the Timaru Catholic Church. Andrew’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.
Andrew was educated at the Burkes Pass School. There, in 1900, he was awarded a prize for the Infants class, the prizes being distributed after “a very jolly day was spent” in sports and partaking of a good spread. He scored a prize again in early 1904, this time a special book for highest attendance among the boys. The prizes were awarded in the evening after an afternoon spent in games, when “several pounds’ worth of toys and other useful articles were obtained by the contestants.”
At the time of enlistment, 18 November 1914, Andrew was residing at Palmerston North, working as a railway fireman for the N.Z. Government and serving with the No. 6 Company Railway Engineers. Twenty-two years three months old, single and Roman Catholic, he had brown eyes and dark brown hair, and a scar across his left cheek. Standing at 5 feet 7½ inches, weighing 154 pounds, and with a chest measurement of 34-37½ inches, he was in good physical shape, free of diseases, and one of the few with excellent teeth. His next-of -kin was his father –Mrs J. McGregor, School Road, Fairlie, but after he had married Welsh-born Beatrice Alice Taylor on 25 August 1917 at St David’s Chapel, Mold, Wales, his wife became his next-of-kin. It was to Beatrice in Auckland in 1922 that his medals – 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal - were sent, and in 1928 the plaque and scroll.
Private Andrew McGregor embarked at Wellington with the Wellington Infantry Battalion of the 3rd Reinforcements, on 14 February 1915, disembarking on 26 March at Suez. The more than four years he was to spend overseas were very difficult times for Andrew. He suffered a gunshot wound below the knee at the Dardanelles, was admitted to Hospital at Anzac on 18 August 1915, and then caught enteric fever, which resulted in confinement to bed for five months from October 1915 in the 2nd Eastern General Hospital at Manchester, England. His recovery was slow. While at Codford in 1916 Andrew did lose one day’s pay and was confined to barracks for seven days, for being absent for 10¼ hours. Surely there would be some understanding of the trauma he had already experienced. After he recovered he was with the military police out of London, before he was transferred in August 1916 to France where he was promoted to the quick firing section.
At the battle of Messines in France, on 11 June 1917, he was again wounded when four pieces of shrapnel penetrated his body (left thigh), and three hours elapsed before he was assisted. This was initially deemed not a severe case, as reported in casualty list No. 601. Invalided to England on Hospital Ship “St Patrick”, he was admitted to Walton-on-Thames Hospital, where all the shrapnel was taken out of his body. On 7 July 1917 he was transferred to the Convalescent Unit at Hornchurch and, recovering well, he expected to return to his regiment. On 1 September 1917 he was admitted to the NZ General Hospital at Codford, and on 7 December 1917 moved to the V.D. section. In a letter home, Andrew writes that he had a very narrow escape in the battle of Messines. He was at the quick-firing guns and was knocked over with a shell, four pieces of shrapnel penetrating his body. His mate was killed at the same time and fell on top of Andrew, protecting him from further shrapnel hits.
Andrew was offered the chance to go home when he was wounded at the Dardanelles but he did not want to leave his mates fighting. After his wounding at Messines, he was the last of his Wellington regiment left, the last three having been killed at Messines. And yes, he was transferred to another Wellington battalion and posted to Rouen. While in France this time he was admitted to the Field Ambulance, sick. For a short time he performed the role of Divisional Burial Officer. Two months before he was detached to the UK for the return to New Zealand, Andrew was appointed Lance Corporal. The troopship “Arawa” brought a large number of soldiers to Lyttelton in mid May 1919, among them A. E. McGregor. There were 95 women on the vessel, 17 for Canterbury, presumably Andrew’s British wife one of them.
Lance Corporal McGregor was discharged from the NZEF on 12 June 1919, on the termination of his period of engagement. Andrew Ewan McGregor died just 14 months later, however, on 16 August 1920 at Christchurch Hospital, aged just 28 years. His death from the effects of wounds inflicted while on active service and pneumonia was due to his war service. He was buried in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, after a Requiem Mass celebrated at the Barbadoes Street Catholic Cathedral, and his grave was recognized by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
After Andrew’s early death, Beatrice moved to Auckland, remarried in 1930, and died there in 1963. Andrew enlisted in December 1914, left New Zealand early in 1915, and by the time he returned on the “Arawa” in May 1919 and was discharged he had given 4 years and 180 days of service, all but 90 days abroad. Although Andrew stated that he had made out a will which was held by his mother at Fairlie, none was found and administration of his estate was granted to his widow Beatrice. Andrew and Beatrice lived in Christchurch after his return home, Andrew again employed as a fireman for NZ Railways. He had been granted a War Pension of 15 shillings per week for 12 months. Beatrice also applied for a War Pension. Andrew and Beatrice had a daughter Eileen Alannah McGregor born on 2 November 1919 in New Zealand. Eileen married, returned to Christchurch and died there in 2004.
The family of John and Sarah had a good war record. Andrew was a brother of Philip Donald McGregor who died of wounds in 1915, and was at the Dardanelles when Philip died. Both Andrew and Philip were wounded at the landing at Suvla Bay, Philip died as a result and Andrew was later badly wounded at the Somme. His brothers Alexander Joseph McGregor and James Allan McGregor also served in World War I. Alexander was severely wounded in France; Allan went later and appears to have suffered on his return. A fifth son may have volunteered twice and been turned down twice. Two older 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.
The name of Andrew Ewan McGregor is included among the names added in 2016 to the Mackenzie District War Memorial at Fairlie.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [22 November 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5544 0073513) [13 May 2015]; CWGC [22 November 2013]; Temuka Leader, 1 May 1900, Timaru Herald, 19 February 1904, 29 April 1914, 7 September 1915, 11 & 21 October 1915, 06 December 1915, 21 & 23 June 1917, 29 August 1917, 3, 6, 7 & 10 July 1918, 11 October 1918, 20 August 1920, Dominion, 11 October 1915, Sun, 10 September 1918, 29 April 1919, Evening Post, 20 June 1920, Press, 17 August 1920, 24 September 1920, 22 October 1945, Lyttelton Times, 17 August 1920, Auckland Star, 10 December 1945 (Papers Past) [22 & 26 November 2013; 13, 16 & 17 May 2015; 03, 04 & 08 November 2019]; Bromley Cemetery headstone image (Find a Grave) [22 November 2013]; School Admission Records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [15 May 2015]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) ; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [22 November 2013]; Admons (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [15 May 2015]; Baptism records (Catholic Diocese of Christchurch CD, held by S C Branch NZSG) [17 May 2015]; UK Marriage Index (FreeBDM) [14 May 2015]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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