Milton Fowler Gregg

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Milton Fowler Gregg
Born 10 April 1892
Kings County, New Brunswick
Died 13 March 1978(1978-03-13) (aged 85)
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Buried at Snider Mountain Baptist Church Cemetery, Fredericton
Allegiance Canadian Red Ensign 1868-1921.svg Canada
Service/branch Canadian Expeditionary Force
Years of service 1914 - 1943
Rank Brigadier
Unit The Royal Canadian Regiment
Commands held West Nova Scotia Regiment
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Victoria Cross
Order of Canada
Order of the British Empire
Military Cross & bar
Canadian Efficiency Decoration
Canadian Forces Decoration
Other work Cabinet minister, academic, diplomat

Brigadier Milton Fowler Gregg, VC, PC, OC, CBE, MC, ED, CD (10 April 1892 – 13 March 1978) was a Canadian officer, and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces during the First World War. In later life, he was a Member of the Canadian Parliament, cabinet minister, academic, soldier and diplomat.

Early life[edit]

Gregg was born in 1892 in Mountain Dale, Kings County, New Brunswick, the son of Elizabeth Celia (Myles) and George Lord Gregg. He enlisted with the Canadian Black Watch in September 1914 while still studying at Acadia University. He graduated with an MA in 1916.

Victoria Cross[edit]

Milton Gregg served during the First World War as a sergeant in the medical corps and later as an officer of The Royal Canadian Regiment. During combat in France in 1917, his actions earned him the Military Cross and in 1918 further valour added a bar to the Cross. Near Cambrai, Nord, France on 28 September 1918 his actions during the Battle of the Canal du Nord earned him the Victoria Cross. The citation for Gregg's Victoria Cross reads:

Lt. Milton Fowler Gregg, M.C., R. Can. Regt., Nova Scotia R. - For most conspicuous bravery and initiative during operations near Cambrai, 27th September to 1st October, 1918.

On 28th September, when the advance of the brigade was held up by fire from both flanks and by thick, uncut wire, he crawled forward alone and explored the wire until he found a small gap through which he subsequently led his men and forced an entry into the enemy trench. The enemy counter-attacked in force and, through lack of bombs, the situation became critical. Although wounded Lt. Gregg returned alone under terrific fire and collected a further supply. Then rejoining his party, which by this time was much reduced in numbers, and in spite of a second wound, he reorganized his men and led them with the greatest determination against the enemy trenches, which he finally cleared. He personally killed or wounded 11 of the enemy and took 25 prisoners, in addition to 12 machine guns captured in the trench. Remaining with his company in spite of wounds he again on the 30th September led his men in attack until severely wounded. The outstanding valour of this officer saved many casualties and enabled the advance to continue.

Later career[edit]

Gregg's grave at Snider Mountain Baptist Church Cemetery

From 1934 until 1939 he was the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Commons. Following the outbreak of World War II, Gregg served overseas for two years with the West Nova Scotia Regiment and then commanded officer training centres at various military facilities in Canada and retired with the rank of Brigadier in 1943.

In 1944, he was appointed President of the University of New Brunswick, serving in that position until 1947 when he was elected to Parliament as Liberal member for the York-Sunbury riding. Gregg served in the cabinets of Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Louis St. Laurent for almost ten years as the Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Minister of Labour.

Defeated in the 1957 election, Gregg went on to become the United Nations representative in Iraq, the UNICEF administrator in Indonesia, and the Canadian High Commissioner in Georgetown, British Guiana. He retired in 1968. He died on 13 March 1978 and is buried at Snider Mountain Baptist Church Cemetery in Snider Mountain, New Brunswick.

Honours[edit]

In 1951 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of British Columbia.

He was sworn into the Privy Council for Canada on 2 September 1947 by Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada on 22 December 1967 and accepted the award in a ceremony performed on 26 April 1968.[1]

Legacy[edit]

After his death the Milton Fowler Gregg VC Memorial Trust Fund Bursary was created in his name. It is offered annually to students entering the Royal Military College of Canada Division of Graduate Studies and Research.

The Mons Box Trophy was created by then Brigadier, The Honourable Milton F. Gregg, VC, CBE, OC, MC, ED, CD. It is awarded to the platoon commander who has exhibited the highest qualities of leadership and who is therefore, the junior officer most fit to command the men who have been placed in his charge.The Mons Box, a ceremonial cigar box, was presented to then Lieutenant Gregg by the Burgomaster of Mons, Belgium in November 1918. In addition, all members of the Canadian Corps who had reached the Mons area by Armistice Day were presented with a souvenir medallion of the City of Mons. Duplicates of this medallion are affixed to the box. Brigadier Gregg presented the Mons Box to 2 RCR on 1 June 1973. It has been presented annually since then to the winning platoon commander on the first appropriate battalion function after 1 June. The winner of the Mons Box is determined by a selection committee consisting of the Commanding Officer, the Adjutant, Company Commanders and any previous winners of the Mons Box serving in 2 RCR. These previous winners are no longer eligible to compete. All Subalterns, who have spent at least eight consecutive months of the previous year as a platoon commander, are eligible for the award. The Mons Box is displayed in the silver cabinet or the Saint Andrew's Barracks Officers' Mess in CFB Gagetown. It is placed in front of the current winner during all Mess Dinners and it contains the after dinner cigars. Each winner of the Mons Box receives a souvenir trophy.

The Brigadier Milton F. Gregg, VC, Centre for the Study of War and Society was created at the University of New Brunswick in 2006 to further Canadians' knowledge about conflict, and is devoted to excellence in the study of war as a complex social phenomena. Dr Marc Milner is the first Director. The centre incorporates the UNB History and UNB Military and Strategic Studies Programs.

His Victoria Cross was donated to The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum in London, Ontario, but was stolen from the museum shortly afterwards, in December 1979.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Order of Canada citation
  2. ^ Staples, Michael (3 November 2012). "Hero's medal needs to be displayed here - soldier". The Daily Gleaner. pp. A1–A2. 

External links[edit]