David Stuart McGregor
David, an apprentice at one of our Edinburgh branches, was one of the few to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
David Stuart McGregor was born in Corstorphine, Edinburgh on 16 October 1895, the second son of David McGregor, a tailor and clothier, and his wife Annie. He had an older sister and brother, James and Marjorie, and a younger brother, Ronald.
In December 1911, when David was 16 years old, he went to work for Commercial Bank of Scotland as an apprentice at its Edinburgh North Bridge branch. The following April he transferred to Edinburgh Stockbridge branch. At first, his work would have involved running errands and undertaking basic administrative tasks. As his apprenticeship continued, he would have been taught how to undertake all aspects of banking clerical work, and how to serve customers at the counter. He was paid just £20 a year throughout his 3-year apprenticeship – less than a third of an unskilled builder’s wage at that time.
In 1914 David joined the army, initially as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. In October 1915 he was commissioned into the Royal Scots. He was sent to Egypt in May 1916, and later served on the Western Front.
On 22 October 1918 David was in command of a section of machine guns near Hoogmolen, Belgium. Finding he needed to move his guns across an area of bare ground exposed to enemy fire, he ordered his men to take a more sheltered route, and jumped up onto the gun’s carriage to guide it – under intense fire – across the 600 yards of open ground. The carriage, its horses and the driver were all hit, but David got the gun to safety, and to a position where it could engage the enemy and allow the army’s advance to resume. He continued to direct the fire until, after about an hour, he was shot and killed.
For his conduct on the day of his death, Lieutenant McGregor was awarded the Victoria Cross, one of only 627 men to receive this honour in the First World War.
Hamish Kennedy March 04 2017 5:40AM
David's sister Marjorie & brother Ronald both emigrated to New Zealand after the war & he has a number of relatives now in NZ, the family donated the VC to the regiment based in Edinburgh castle.