Obituary: Linde McGregor, 93

Linde McGregor rode horses south to flee Russians. Picture: comp
Linde McGregor rode horses south to flee Russians. Picture: comp
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Linde McGregor, a horsewoman and charity supporter who was jailed for denouncing Hitler and rode with the Queen, has died, aged 93.

Born in Mecklenburg, Germany, in October, 1920, the daughter of a German army colonel, she was sent to the notorious boarding school Landfrauenschule, near Malchow in Mecklenburg, in 1938.

When the Second World War broke out, Linde, aged, 19, was thrown into the war effort and charged with breaking in horses for German cavalry officers, freeing up male troops for frontline duty.

During her service, she was jailed for denouncing Hitler and it was only after the intervention of her father that she was released, and sent to live with her aunt.

She returned to her duties and at the end of the war was part of a group of women ordered to ride as many horses as possible to the south of Germany, to keep them out of the hands of the approaching Russians.

After the war, Linde returned to the family home at Schleswig Holstein, near the Danish border, to look after her widowed mother. It was there that she met her future husband Neill McGregor, an airman stationed at the barracks in Schleswig.

The couple moved to Edinburgh and were married in 1947. Neil would go on to become an accountant with Chiene and Tait, and the couple lived initially in Leith before moving to Dean Terrace

They had a son, John, and a daughter, Alexandra, and the family would return to Schleswig every summer, and shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 Linde and her two sisters returned to their birthplace, only to find it in a very dilapidated state.

Linde continued her love of horses in Edinburgh, teaching riding at Lasswade stables, and in the early 1950s she rode with the Queen to Balmoral from the Spittal of Glenshee.

During her life in the city she was an active member of the German church, organising collections to make advent wreaths and starting a tradition of having a candle-lit Christmas tree in the church.

A member of the hospitality list at the German consulate, she often invited officers and cadets from German ships docked in Leith home for lunch before giving them a tour of the city, and was also an active member of the University International Club.

After the death of her husband in 1976 she continued her work in the community and became close friends with widower Harry Borthwick, later to become Lord Borthwick, with whom she exported Highland cattle to Germany and travelled extensively.

In her later years she was reluctantly moved to a care home although continued to make regular escapes.

Mrs McGregor is survived by her son John, daughter Alexandra and four grandchildren.