Malcolm C. McGregor

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Malcolm Charles McGregor
Born 4 March 1896
Vicinity of Hunterville, New Zealand
Died 19 February 1936
Wellington, New Zealand
Allegiance New Zealand
Service/branch Aviation
Rank Squadron Leader
Unit No. 54 Squadron RFC, No. 85 Squadron RAF
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross with Bar
Other work Aviation pioneer in New Zealand; long distance air racer

Captain Malcolm Charles McGregor DFC* (4 March 1896 – 19 February 1936) was a New Zealand born World War I flying ace. He was credited with 11 victories during the war. Postwar, he was an aviation pioneer in his home country and a competitor in intercontinental air racing.

Early life[edit]

Malcolm Charles McGregory was born near Hunterville, New Zealand on 4 March 1896.[1]

World War I[edit]

On 7 April 1917, McGregory was appointed a Flying Officer in the Royal Flying Corps.[2] His first aerial success came on 6 June 1917, while he was with 54 Squadron. He used a Sopwith Pup to destroy a German Albatros D.III fighter southwest of Cambrai, France.[3]

He would not score another victory for almost a year. After transferring to 85 Squadron to pilot a SE.5a, he drove down an enemy reconnaissance plane over Armentières on 29 May 1918. Three days later, on 1 June, he drove down a pair of Pfalz D.III fighters over La Gorgue, France. On 27 June 1918, he destroyed another German recon machine and became an ace.[4]

On 24 July, he scored another double win southeast of Kemmel, Belgium, destroying one Fokker D.VII and driving another out of combat. On 3 August, he destroyed a Fokker D.VII. Later in August, on the 22nd, he destroyed yet another Fokker D.VII. This was the action referred to when he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was not gazetted until 2 November 1918.[5]

"On the 22nd August this officer displayed great gallantry and skill in an engagement between six of our scouts and a similar number of the enemy; all the latter were accounted for, Captain McGregor driving down one out of control. In all he has seven enemy aircraft to his credit—four destroyed and three driven down out of control."[6]

McGregor would next turn balloon buster, destroying an enemy observation balloon east of Maretz, France on 8 October. He ended his string of triumphs by destroying another recon plane on 23 October 1918. His final tally was an observation balloon and five enemy airplanes destroyed, plus four planes driven down out of control.[7]

Post World War I[edit]


McGregor was one of the officers awarded a Bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross as a birthday gift from his sovereign on 3 June 1919.[8] He was discharged from the Royal Air Force by being placed on the unemployed list on 17 July 1919.[9]

The 1920s[edit]

McGregor joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1921. He also took part in civil aviation activities. He ran a barnstorming operation, Hamilton Airways. He flew a passenger route between Dunedin and Christchurch in a De Havilland DH.50 borrowed from the New Zealand government. He flew some pioneering airmail routes throughout New Zealand.[10] In late April 1929, he participated in the New Zealand Air Pageant, entering a de Havilland Gypsy Moth from Hamilton Airways.[11]

The 1930s[edit]

By the end of 1931, he was reported carrying air mail from Invercargill, New Zealand to Auckland in a Simmonds Spartan.[12] In 1932, he became chief instructor to the Manawatu Aero Club. By 1934, he had risen to the rank of Squadron Leader in the RNZAF, and had 3,300 flying hours in his pilot's log.[13]

He was one of the contestants in the MacRobertson Air Race in October 1934.[14] He and his copilot completed the course, Mildenhall to Melbourne, in 7 days 15 hours, in a Miles Hawk Major.[15] Following the race, he became a director of Union Airlines of New Zealand.[16]

McGregor was killed in an air crash at Wellington, New Zealand on 19 February 1936.[17]


  1. ^ Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  2. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 May 1917) Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  3. ^ Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  4. ^ Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  5. ^ Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  6. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 November 1918) Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  7. ^ Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  8. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 June 1919) Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  9. ^ (The London Gazette, 29 July 1919); Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  10. ^ (Flight, 11 October 1934) Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  11. ^ (Flight, 13 June 1929) Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  12. ^ (Flight, 26 December 1931) Note: The Spartan is referred to in the reference by engine type rather than maker, but is obviously a Simmonds Spartan. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  13. ^ (Flight, 11 October 1934) Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  14. ^ (Flight, 18 October 1934) through Retrieved 23 April 1918.
  15. ^ (Flight, 1 November 1934) Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  16. ^ (Flight, 27 February 1936) Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  17. ^ (Flight, 27 February 1936) Retrieved 26 April 2011.