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The Airmen's Stories - F/O P R McGregor


Peter Reginald McGregor was born on 1st November 1918 and joined the RAFVR in Bristol on 22nd May 1937 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He began his flying training at 2 E&RFTS Filton. In February 1939 he went on six months of continuous training with the regular RAF and was attached to 66 Squadron at Duxford from 27th February.

Commissioned in March 1939, McGregor was posted to 46 Squadron at Digby on 13th June.
The attachment period was extended and he remained with 46 after the outbreak of war.

On 11th May 1940 he embarked with the squadron on the carrier HMS Glorious for Norway. The airfield at Skaanland was found not to be suitable for the Hurricanes and the carrier returned to Scapa Flow.

It sailed again on the 24th and 46 flew off to Bardufoss on the 26th. McGregor left Norway by transport on 7th June. All but two of the squadron's pilots that sailed on Glorious that day were lost when it was sunk on the 8th by Scharnhorst and Gneisanau. McGregor was one of the pilots that formed the basis of a reformed 46 Squadron at Digby on the 15th.

On 22nd July he shared in the probable destruction of a Do17. The squadron went south to Stapleford on 1st September and on the 8th he destroyed a Me109 and damaged another.

On the 8th McGregor was shot down by a Me109. He crash-landed at Meopham Green in Hurricane P3053, unhurt. The aircraft was damaged but repairable.

On the 11th he was shot down in combat over the Thames Estuary, baled out, injured, and was admitted to hospital. His Hurricane, P3094, crashed and burned out in West Lordine Wood, Staplecross.

It would appear that McGregor served briefly with 66 Squadron at Gravesend after recovering from injuries received on 11th September. When he rejoined 46 Squadron on 16th December 1940 the Digby ORB states that F/O PR McGregor had arrived from 66 Squadron.

On 22nd May 1941 46 Squadron pilots and aircraft sailed in HMS Argus for Gibraltar, where they transferred to the Ark Royal and sailed into the Mediterranean. They flew off to Hal Far, Malta on 6th June. McGregor shared in destroying a SM79 on the 11th. 46 Squadron pilots and aircraft were absorbed by 126 Squadron at Habbaniya on 15th July 1941.

On an early morning strafe of Syracuse seaplane base on 17th August McGregor damaged at least four aircraft. He joined 185 Squadron at Hal Far on 1st January 1942, staying with it until 2nd March when he was posted back to the UK.

McGregor went to 53 OTU Llandow on 5th April 1942. He did a course at the Pilot Gunnery Instructors Training Wing at CGS Sutton Bridge and then returned to 53 OTU. Further gunnery courses followed at Valley, Llanbedr and Exeter before he joined 611 Squadron at Coltishall on 25th October 1943 as a Flight Commander.

McGregor took command of the squadron in August 1944 and led it until 29th January 1945, when he was posted to No. 1 CTC Bombay for combined operations.

On 20th October 1945 McGregor took command of 11 Squadron at Seletar, Singapore. He led it to Japan in April 1946 and returned to the UK in early November.

He was released from the RAF on 15th December 1946 as a Squadron Leader.

McGregor joined 501 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force in January 1948 and served with it until January 1951.

He died in February 2002.

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