Gunner and wireless operator with Bomber Command

Born: December 6, 1924;

Died: June 4, 2019

MICHAEL McGrory, who has died aged 94, was the last man standing from a crew of RAF Squadron 178 Bomber Command in the Second World War.

Mr McGrory saw active service as a gunner and wireless operator flying dangerous missions in Germany and the Middle East after travelling from his home in Glasgow to join the RAF in London as a teenager in June, 1943.

In recent years he was a special guest at the opening ceremony of the London Green Park Bomber Command memorial, the VE Day celebrations, and the RAF centenary celebrations which was the proudest day of his life, attending, with his wife Anne, the service at Westminster Abbey in the presence of The Queen.

He told his family that it meant so much to him to pay his final respects to fallen comrades, particularly his close friend, Nobby Clark who was killed on operational duty.

In December, 1946 Mr McGrory was selected to be navigator on an extraordinary flight which took a brand new Dakota C47 to the Far East. Leaving from Abingdon on December 13 they flew to France, Malta, Cairo, Iraq, Bahrain, Karachi, Delhi, Calcutta, Burma, Saigon and Hong Kong arriving in Okinawa, Japan on December 29. His memoirs are now at RAF Hendon Air Force Museum.

Michael McGrory was born in Glasgow city centre in December, 1924, the only son of Annie and Patrick who earned extra money for the family by building dolls' houses and forts with soldiers.

As a boy, Michael travelled by bike around Glasgow and went as far as Largs, never thinking he would eventually live there.

Inspired by his father, who played accordion, he became a talented musician on the clarinet and saxaphone.

Although he was a painter to trade with A F Crichton, he worked part-time at the Plaza Cinema in Bridgeton and he became a night fire watchman on the roof of the Empire Theatre during the early years of the Second World War. He combined this work with a role of deputy stage manager, a highlight being a musical jamming session with the Joe Loss Dance Band.

As a keen dancer he met Isobel McInnes who was teaching tap, highland and ballet to two of his cousins. They were married on July 28, 1950 with a honeymoon in Scarborough and would have celebrated a rare platinum anniversary next year. They had son Alan and daughter Anne who now lives in London.

As an inspiration to his then teenage son he joined him in studies at night school, Michael earning more O Levels than Alan did.

Michael and Isobel retired to Largs where they ran the Opportunities In Retirement Dance Class for seven years and in his latter years he continued to cycle and attended keep fit sessions.

He died peacefully at home on June 4 and a service was conducted by the Rev. Jonathan Fleming at Greenock Crematorium on Tuesday, June 18 where his son Alan recounted his life. A collection was taken for the Royal British Legion. He is survived by Isobel.