Lt. Col. John MacGregorJohn MacGregor is a beloved character in Powell River's history. Officially listed in military records as Lt. Col. John MacGregor, V.C., M.C. and Bar, D.C.M., E.D, he is Canada's most decorated soldier for valour. When W.W.I struck in 1914, MacGregor was trapping in Nass Valley and snowshoed 100 miles into Prince Rupert to enlist.
Ironically he failed his physical examination as he was exhausted from his trek. Undaunted, he travelled to Vancouver and applied again. He joined the 16th Battalion Canadian Scottish, Second Canadian Mounted Rifles and was sent to France in 1915. His feats while in France are truly amazing. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal after leading the Canadian attack on Vimy Ridge, in 1917. In 1918, he captured several of the enemy on Hill 70 and was awarded the Military Cross and Bar (the Bar signifying a second awarding of the M.C.).
His highest award, The Victoria Cross, was won for extreme bravery at Cambrai, France, when he captured a machine gun nest single-handedly, killing four of the enemy and taking eight others prisoner.
After the war, MacGregor moved to Powell River working at the mill and later in his own concrete plant until his death in 1952. A very humble man, he never talked of his wartime achievements and he was most proud not of medals, but of his efficiency decoration (for serving in both wars and twenty years of dedication to the military), and his Canadian Citizenship papers. His son, Don MacGregor, recalls how his father was so excited about receiving his Citizenship papers, that he claimed, “These are the greatest award Canada has ever given me.”