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Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 4100 24y5m 14 May 1917 15 Nov 1919 3

Private Robin Roy McGregor (1893 – 1961)

McGregor Brothers Booklet

Family background

Parents, Captain Daniel McGregor and Mrs Alice (née Biggerstaff) McGregor, have two of their four sons listed on the honour boards in the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel.  Possibly a third son’s name, Albert William is also listed. Their other son was Ernest, eldest of the brothers, who became an engineer and who died in 1970 at the age of 90.

Captain Dan McGregor, master mariner and shipping inspector, his wife and family of four sons and two daughters lived at West End, Kangaroo Point and later Meeandah and Mordant Street, Whinstanes, places on or near the Brisbane River.   (The McGregor family home which was built at Kangaroo Point was a large Victorian residence known as 'Rockfield'.  The home still stands today and is listed on the Brisbane City Council's 'Local Heritage Places'.)

In the 1880s Captain McGregor commanded the ship Arakoon and the ketch Victor, vessels used for carrying timber logs and other goods as well as a few passengers on runs along the Queensland and northern New South Wales coast. Captain Dan McGregor was proud of his Scottish heritage. He was a foundation member of the Highland Society; the Queensland Scottish Association tendered a benefit concert and dance in honour of Daniel McGregor, one of their members in 1895.  (Mrs Alice McGregor died in 1936 and Captain McGregor, two years later.)

Early life

Robin Roy, the fourth son and youngest child in the McGregor family, was born on 8 February 1893. His sisters Alice Christina (later Mrs Waddell) and Annie who didn’t marry were older by ten and five years respectively. When his older brother Dan enlisted in the AIF, Robin Roy was a commercial traveller, still living at home at Meeandah on the Pinkenba Line with his parents, sister Annie and older brother Albert William, a seaman.


Robin Roy McGregor enlisted in the AIF at Brisbane on 14 May 1917.  On his attestation paper he stated his age as 23 years but his correct age then was 24 years 3 months.

He was without previous military experience, having been rejected previously because he was under standard height.  Rob McGregor was only 5 feet I inch (155cm) tall and weighed 130 lbs (58.9kg). His mother was next-of-kin and his religious denomination, Presbyterian.  

Departs for overseas 

Private R. R. McGregor was assigned to reinforcements for the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Rifle Range, Enoggera before embarking from Sydney on 1 August on HMAT1 Medic for active service abroad. The ship sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia where the troops were transferred to SS Orissa for the voyage to Liverpool, England.

Unhappy times

On disembarkation, Private Rob McGregor’s unit commenced training immediately with the Pioneer Training Battalion at Sutton Veny, Wiltshire.  It would appear he disliked army life.  While in training Private McGregor was awarded six days field punishment No 22 for absence without leave from 22 February to 2 March 1918.

On 6 March, his unit crossed the channel to France for duties with 4th Pioneer Battalion.  He was absent without leave again from 18 July until apprehended by military police on 20 July.  Field Punishment was again imposed, this time for a period of 14 days.

In September Rob McGregor was declared illegally absent from 7 August by a Court of Enquiry.  He was arrested in Rouen and returned to his unit under escort on 9 September.  For this crime he was sentenced by court martial to two years imprisonment with hard labour. In October 1918, Rob McGregor was admitted to the 41st Stationary Hospital in France with a serious disease. On discharge from hospital he was sent to No 1 Military Prison at Rouen to undergo his sentence of two years IHL3 which had been awarded on 17 October, prior to his illness.


On 13 June 1919 he was sent to England per SS Lydia, disembarking at Southampton from France and proceeding to His Majesty’s Prison at Wormwood Scrubs.  On 21 July 1919 he entered Details Camp at Tidworth on release from Parkhurst Prison, the unexpired portion of his prison sentence being suspended.

Return home

He embarked per Euripides for return to Australia on 7 September, disembarked at Sydney on 24 October and was discharged, medically unfit, from the AIF at Brisbane on 15 November 1919.  His disability was described as ‘numbness of the left hand’.

Thus ended Robin Roy McGregor’s unhappy wartime service. One might imagine the challenges he faced as he adjusted to civilian life in Brisbane.  He resumed his occupation as a commercial traveller.


He married May Isabella Dark on 26 July 1924.  According to Electoral Rolls their address for the next 25 years was Mein Street, Hendra.  Rob lived at 43 Union Street, Toombul during the 1950s.  In 1958 he was listed with no occupation.


He died on 8 March 1961, aged 68 years. Mrs May Isabella McGregor died in 1966. 

1. His Majesty’s Australian Transport
2. Field punishment could be awarded by a court martial or a commanding officer for any offence committed on active service. There were two categories field punishment. Field punishment No. 1 consisted of heavy labouring duties, possibly being restrained in handcuffs or fetters, and being tied to a post or wheel. Field punishment No. 2 differed, in that the offender was not liable to be attached to a fixed object.
3. Imprisonment with hard labour

• National Archives of Australia, military records, World War 1
• National War Memorial, unit histories and embarkation rolls
• Ancestry on line
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1905 – 1958
• New South Wales Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages
• Queensland Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages
• Brisbane City Council, Cemetery Records
• New South Wales Registers of Seamen, 1859 – 1936
• Register of Examinations, masters and mates (foreign), 1886 – 1921
The Week, 14 May 1881, page 18
• Maryborough Chronicle, 21 June 1883, page 2; 28 March 1884, page 2
The Brisbane Courier, 13 August 1881, page 4; 4 April 1885, page 1; 6 April 1895, page 4; 22 August 1927, page 18
Cairns Post, 29 August 1927, page 12
The Courier-Mail, 13 January 1936, page 1; 10 January 1938, page 1; 22 February 1938, page 24; 10 March 1951, page 14
Brisbane Telegraph, 5 January 1954, page 8

Compiled by Noel Edward Adsett, Brisbane, March 2017. Edits and additions by Miriam King, March 2023. ©



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