Roderick McGregor VC

b. 1822 Dunain, Scotland. d. 09/08/1888 Buntait, Scotland.

Roderick McGregor (1822-1888) was born in the village of Dunain in Scotland sometime in 1822. Due to the harshness of life in Scotland at that time, Roderick decided that a way of escaping would be to enlist in the armed forces. He enlisted as a Private in the 1st Battalion of the Prince Consort’s Own Rifle Brigade, and was soon to see action, when his Regiment was posted to the Crimea in 1854.

McGregor R VC Medal Group RGJ Museum

McGregor would perform two separate actions at the Siege of Sebastopol the following year which would see him awarded the Victoria Cross on 24th February 1857. Firstly, on 22nd April 1855, a bandsman of the 2nd Battalion, named Wright, who was on duty in the trenches, going to fetch water from a well in front of the advanced trench near the Quarries, was killed, it being impossible to throw up any cover near the well due to the rockiness of the soil. On seeing Wright’s death, a number of his comrades rushed out, determined to drive out the Russian riflemen, by whose fire, Wright had been killed, from a nearby Russian rifle pit. Three men, Privates Bradshaw, Humpston and McGregor, were the first to reach the rifle pits, and drove the Russians out, killing some, whilst some escaped. Bradshaw and Humpston would also receive the VC for this action.

McGregor was also mentioned for his action in July 1855, when he was employed as a sharpshooter in the advanced trenches before Sebastopol. A rifle pit was occupied by two Russians, who were picking off British soldiers with accurate fire. Private McGregor rushed across the open ground under heavy fire, and then taking cover by a rock, managed to hit and kill the two Russians, and thereby take the rifle pit.

McGregor was decorated by Queen Victoria at the first investiture on 26th June 1857 at Hyde Park, London. He also served in the Indian Mutiny, receiving the Indian Mutiny Medal which then went with his VC, Turkish Medal, Crimean Medal with three clasps and French War Medal, which he had received from the Crimea. He returned to Scotland following his army service and died on 10th August 1888 at his home, “Lots”, Bunloit, near Urquhart, Inverness. He was buried in Old Kilmore Cemetery, Drumnadrochit a few days later. His medals were sold in 1910 at Sotheby’s for £70, and are now held in the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester.