Dambuster of the Day No. 13: George Gregory

Gregory photo

Plt Off G H F G Gregory DFM
Front gunner
Lancaster serial number: ED925/G
Call sign: AJ-M
First wave. Second aircraft to attack Möhne Dam. Aircraft hit by flak. Mine dropped late and bounced over dam. Aircraft crashed on far side of dam.

George Henry Ford Goodwin Gregory was born in Govan, Glasgow on 24 June 1917, one of the seven children of Edwin and Agnes Gregory. He worked as a printer before joining the RAF at the outset of the war. He had completed a full tour of operations as a gunner in 44 Squadron by the autumn of 1942, and received the DFM. He then moved on to a training unit and was commissioned. He went back onto operations in March 1943, and was posted to 617 Squadron where he joined John Hopgood’s crew.

Gregory was married, but his wife Margaret had remained in Scotland. In the run up to the Dams Raid he was living at RAF Scampton, and sharing quarters with squadron adjutant Harry Humphries.In his memoirs, Humphries recalled the night before the raid:

Old Greg was a tough proposition, tall, handsome and like most Scots, very independent. If he liked you, all well and good, If he disliked you, well at least you knew… [His] wife had been in Lincoln a few days previously and I really think he needed her in his strung up state. He did not know what he wanted to do. First he wanted to go out in his car and find a drink, then he wanted to play snooker, and then he would talk about bed… I said ‘Come on old lad, let’s go for a walk around the mess. It’s getting damned hot in here.’ … Just as we were leaving the anteroom John Hopgood, Gregory’s pilot, spotted us and aimed an almost playful kick at his rear gunner’s backside, which I am sure would have crippled him if it had landed. When I eventually separated them, with Greg, needless to say, on top by sheer brute force, Hopgood or ‘Hoppy’ as we knew him, dragged himself painfully to his feet. ‘Just as I said,’ he complained loudly, ‘air gunners are all bloody brawn and no brains.’

They then walked back to their quarters, and had a cup of tea with their batman in his kitchen.

Greg was the first to move. ‘I think I will go to bed,’ he said, ‘may be working tomorrow.’ With that he had gone and little did I know that for Greg it was probably his last cup of tea in that kitchen. In fact it was his last night on earth. (Harry Humphries, Living with Heroes, 2003, pp. 1-3)

From Tony Burcher’s account, we now know that it is likely that Gregory was severely wounded some twenty minutes before Hopgood’s aircraft reached the Möhne Dam, as he wasn’t answering his intercom. In the same flak attack Hopgood, Minchin and Brennan himself were also wounded. However they pressed on, the mine was dropped, and moments afterwards Hopgood told the crew to bale out. According to John Fraser’s post-war debriefing after his release from PoW camp, it would seem that Gregory attempted to get back to the rest area to retrieve his parachute but never escaped.

Hopgood, Brennan, Earnshaw, Minchin and Gregory are buried together in Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

More about Gregory online:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission listing

KIA 17 May 1943
Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Sources: Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002
The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.

Further information about George Gregory and the other 132 men who flew on the Dams Raid can be found in my book The Complete Dambusters, published by History Press in 2018.