Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (17 & 18 May 2016)

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Date of Auction: 17th & 18th May 2016

Sold for £6,000

Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000

An outstanding Second World War D-Day immediate M.M. group of six awarded to Signalman A. M. McGregor, 1st Special Service Brigade (Signal Troop) Royal Corps of Signals, 6th Airborne Division, who was decorated for his gallantry during the landings on Gold Beach on 6 June 1944, when he came ashore in the first wave and received ‘two shrapnel wounds in the head, three bullet wounds in the arm and a shrapnel wound in the leg’: nonetheless he refused to be evacuated and continued to maintain vital wireless contact with the Commandos

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (2598341 Sgln. A. M. McGregor, R. Signals); 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Police Long Service, E.II.R. (Inspr. Angus McK. McGregor), mounted as worn, generally good very fine or better (6) £6000-8000

Footnote

M.M. London Gazette 31 August 1944. The original recommendation states:

‘During the landing of Advance H.Q. of the Brigade [on 6 June 1944], all signallers were wounded by mortar and M.G. fire, 50% being incapacitated. Signalman McGregor received two shrapnel wounds in the head, three bullet wounds in the arm, and a shrapnel wound in the leg. In spite of his wounds he continued to operate his set, and enabled essential information to be passed to the main body of Brigade which was still afloat. He refused all assistance, denying that he was seriously hurt, and continued to operate his set during the initial stages of the advance until he was unable to rise after taking cover from further mortar fire. It was only then that the seriousness of his wounds became apparent. His devotion to duty was largely responsible for communications being maintained at an extremely critical period of the operation.’

Angus McKenzie McGregor was born in Sutherland, Scotland in November 1918 and originally enlisted in the Royal Artillery (Territorials) in Inverness in December 1935. Subsequently discharged in October 1937, he took up full time duties as a Constable in the Derbyshire Police.

In May 1941, he enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals and, having attended a Signalling Training School and served in Southern Command, he was posted to No. 1 Special Service Signalling Troop in early 1943; the unit was subsequently allocated to 1st Special Service Brigade, 6th Airborne Division, for the Normandy landings.

McGregor came ashore at “Queen Red” on Gold Beach at 0750 hours on 6 June 1944, one of four members of 1st Special Service Brigade’s Signal Troop’s advance party, under Captain J. R. Alexander.

In common with their comrades in the Commandos and East Yorkshires, all came under a murderous fire, the entire signalling party being among the resultant casualties. One eye-witness later recalled how ‘bullets rattled against the craft and splinters whined overhead ... There was thick smoke over the beach, and the tide low but flooding. There were many bodies in the water; one was hanging round one of the tripod obstacles. The shoals were churned with bursting shells. I saw wounded men among the dead, pinned down by the weight of their equipment’. Another witness recalled seeing ‘bodies lay sprawled all over the beach, some with legs, arms and heads missing, the blood clotting the wet sand’.

As cited, however, and notwithstanding his own multiple wounds, McGregor remained on duty, as a result of which vital communications were maintained with No. 4 and No. 6 Commandos, the primary task of his Troop that day.

Admitted to No. 21 Field Dressing Station, McGregor was evacuated home on D-Day plus 1. The announcement of the award of his M.M. first appeared in his unit’s war diary on 17 July 1944.

On recovering from his wounds, McGregor joined No. 1 Commando Brigade (Signalling Troop) and he saw further action in North-West Europe in the period January to May 1945, latterly in the rank of Lance-Corporal.

Released from the Army in the summer of 1946, he returned to his duties in Derbyshire Police, becoming the force’s first Traffic Inspector. In retirement, he settled at Old Whittington, Chesterfield, where he died in July 1983; sold with extensive copied service records, including the recipient in a police group photograph of 1964.