CWG: Deck Hand Alexander MacGregor

Deck Hand Alexander MacGregor

Alexander MacGregor was born on 1st January 1890 in the Scottish village of Acharacle. The oldest of eleven children, his parents were Dugald and Mary MacGregor.

There is little concrete information about Alexander’s early life, but, by the outbreak of war, he had moved to London. He married a woman called Bridget in around 1916: the couple settled in Battersea, and went on to have a son, Peter, who was born in December 1916.

Alexander had, by this point, signed up to play his part in the European conflict. He joined the Royal Naval Reserve as a Deck Hand on 1st December 1915. His service records confirm that he was 5ft 7.5ins (1.71m) tall, had grey eyes and a medium complexion. The section of the Royal Navy that he joined suggests that he had had previous sea-faring experience (given the proximity of his home village to the Argyll coast, this is not surprising).

Deck Hand MacGregor’s was assigned to HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. Details of his military service are unclear, but he spent just under two years at the dockyard. By the summer of 1917, the base was a busy and cramped place, and Alexander found himself billeted in temporary accommodation set up in the barracks’ Drill Hall.

On the night of the 3rd September, the German Air Force conducted the first night time raid on England. Chatham came in the firing line, and the Drill Hall received a direct hit. Deck Hand MacGregor was among those to be killed. He was just 27 years of age.

Alexander MacGregor was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in nearby Gillingham, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid.

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