TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS
b. 04/01/1925 Bombay, India. d. 25/12/2016 Tauranga, New Zealand.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 12/08/1942 Malta.
He was 18 years old and serving in the Merchant Navy when his ship SS Deucalian was attacked by aircraft and torpedoed, being set on fire by the explosion. The flames spread rapidly and orders were given to abandon ship. One of the ship's gunners was, however, pinned under a raft. Gregson immediately went to his assistance and, with help, freed him. The gunner had severe injuries and it was impossible to get him into a boat or onto a raft, so he was dropped overboard, Gregson dived into the sea after him and in the darkness towed his helpless shipmate to a ship 600 yards away, which picked them up. He declined to exchange his Albert Medal for the George Cross. He died on Christmas Day 2016 in hospital in New Zealand aged 91.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WITH RECIPIENT.
BURIAL LOCATION: MOUNT HARBOUR CHAPEL, MOUNT MAUNGANUI, NEW ZEALAND.
John Sedgwick Gregson GC
“The KING has been graciously pleased to make the following award:-
The Albert Medal.
John Sedgwick Gregson, Apprentice.
The ship was set on fire by the explosion of a torpedo during an attack by enemy aircraft. The flames spread rapidly and almost immediately orders were given to abandon ship. One of the ship's gunners, however, was pinned under a raft. Apprentice Gregson immediately went to his assistance and, with help freed him. The gunner had sustained severe injuries and, as it was impossible to get him into a boat or on to a raft, he was dropped overboard. Gregson dived into the sea after him, and, in the darkness, towed his helpless shipmate to a ship which picked them up, a distance of about 600 yards.
But for Apprentice Gregson's gallant and determined action, undertaken with complete disregard of his personal safety, the injured man would have had little chance of survival.”
2nd February 1943
transcribed by Terry Hissey