The Courier

100-year-old Canadian Armed Forces veteran William McGregor shares a laugh with members from 4 Wing at his birthday party on March 23rd at the Bonnyville Seniors Drop-In Centre in Bonnyville, Alberta – All photos by Mike Marshall / The Courier News

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Public members and some members of 4 Wing recently joined forces to celebrate a local World War Two veteran’s 100th birthday. William McGregor lives in Bonnyville and served in the Canadian Army in Europe as a member of the 11th Field Ambulance working with the Essex Scottish Regiment, serving as a medic.

“He was one of the first Canadian troops to reach Ostende when they traveled ahead of the rest of the tanks transporting a mother and daughter injured by landmines,” described granddaughter Shelly Bryant at McGregor’s birthday party, hosted at the Bonnyville Seniors Drop-in Centre on March 23rd. “During most of his time in the army, my grandpa worked to help people. Whether it was dressing wounds and providing first aid in the field, administering morphine to those in pain or dying, or transporting those in need to places they could get the surgery they needed, he was a person that could be counted on.”

A number of guests attended the party, including members of the Town of Bonnyville, the M.D. of Bonnyville, and some active members from 4 Wing.

McGregor was discharged from the CAF in 1945 and returned to his farm in the Sandy Rapids area of the M.D. of Bonnyville, where he lived with his wife Lorane and four children. A recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal and Diamond Jubilee Medal of Queen Elizabeth II, he was also made a Knight of the Legion of Honor of the French National Order in 2015.

“My grandfather continues to beat me in our games of crib, makes himself bread pudding desserts, and visits with friends at the legion. He has taught me to be open to life’s experiences and to embrace change. I also continue to be amazed and humbled by the stories of the people he has known, the places he has gone, and the things he has done. I can only hope I can live a life as full as his,” added Bryant.

McGregor’s family photos from years past are displayed on a memory wall

Mr. William McGregor poses with Canadian Armed Forces members at his birthday party

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