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The Machine Gun Corps
The Machine Gun Corps was created on the 14th of October 1915, prior to this each infantry battalion has it's own Machine Gun Section which comprised of one officer and 12 men.
The memorial to the MGC is situated in Hyde Park, London.
- 1st Machine Gun Company
- 2nd Machine Gun Company
- 3rd Machine Gun Company
- 4th Machine Gun Company
- 5th Machine Gun Company
- 6th Machine Gun Company
- 7th Machine Gun Company
- 8th Machine Gun Company
- 9th Machine Gun Company
- 10th Machine Gun Company
- 11th Machine Gun Company
- 12th Machine Gun Company
- 13th Machine Gun Company
- 14th Machine Gun Company
- 15th Machine Gun Company
- 16th Machine Gun Company
- 17th Machine Gun Company
- 18th Machine Gun Company
- 19th Machine Gun Company
- 20th Machine Gun Company
- 21st Machine Gun Company
- 22nd Machine Gun Company
- 23rd Machine Gun Company
- 24th Machine Gun Company
- 25th Machine Gun Company
- 26th Machine Gun Company
- 27th Machine Gun Company
- 28th Machine Gun Company
- 29th Machine Gun Company
- 30th Machine Gun Company
- 31st Machine Gun Company
- 32nd Machine Gun Company
- 33rd Machine Gun Company
- 34th Machine Gun Company
- 35th Machine Gun Company
- 36th Machine Gun Company
- 37th Machine Gun Company
- 38th Machine Gun Company
- 39th Machine Gun Company
- 41st Machine Gun Company
- 42nd Machine Gun Company
- 43rd Machine Gun Company
- 44th Machine Gun Company
- 45th Machine Gun Company
- 46th Machine Gun Company
- 47th Machine Gun Company
- 48th Machine Gun Company
- 49th Machine Gun Company
- 50th Machine Gun Company
- 51st Machine Gun Company
- 52nd Machine Gun Company
- 53rd Machine Gun Company
- 54th Machine Gun Company
- 55th Machine Gun Company
- 56th Machine Gun Company
- 57th Machine Gun Company
- 58th Machine Gun Company
- 59th Machine Gun Company
- 60th Machine Gun Company
- 61st Machine Gun Company
- 62nd Machine Gun Company
- 63rd Machine Gun Company
- 64th Machine Gun Company
- 65th Machine Gun Company
- 66th Machine Gun Company
- 67th Machine Gun Company
- 68th Machine Gun Company
- 69th Machine Gun Company
- 70th Machine Gun Company
- 71st Machine Gun Company
- 72nd Machine Gun Company
- 73rd Machine Gun Company
- 74th Machine Gun Company
- 75th Machine Gun Company
- 76th Machine Gun Company
- 77th Machine Gun Company
- 80th Machine Gun Company
- 81st Machine Gun Company
- 82nd Machine Gun Company
- 83rd Machine Gun Company
- 84th Machine Gun Company
- 85th Machine Gun Company
- 86th Machine Gun Company
- 87th Machine Gun Company
- 88th Machine Gun Company
- 89th Machine Gun Company
- 90th Machine Gun Company
- 91st Machine Gun Company
- 92nd Machine Gun Company
- 93rd Machine Gun Company
- 94th Machine Gun Company
- 95th Machine Gun Company
- 96th Machine Gun Company
- 97th Machine Gun Company
- 98th Machine Gun Company
- 99th Machine Gun Company
- 100th Machine Gun Company
- 101st Machine Gun Company
- 102nd Machine Gun Company
- 103rd Machine Gun Company
- 104th Machine Gun Company
- 105th Machine Gun Company
- 106th Machine Gun Company
- 107th Machine Gun Company
- 108th Machine Gun Company
- 109th Machine Gun Company
- 110th Machine Gun Company
- 111th Machine Gun Company
- 112th Machine Gun Company
- 113th Machine Gun Company
- 114th Machine Gun Company
- 115th Machine Gun Company
- 116th Machine Gun Company
- 117th Machine Gun Company
- 118th Machine Gun Company
- 119th Machine Gun Company
- 120th Machine Gun Company
- 121st Machine Gun Company
- 122nd Machine Gun Company
- 123rd Machine Gun Company
- 124th Machine Gun Company
- 125th Machine Gun Company
- 126th Machine Gun Company
- 127th Machine Gun Company
- 137th Machine Gun Company
- 138th Machine Gun Company
- 139th Machine Gun Company
- 140th Machine Gun Company
- 141st Machine Gun Company
- 142nd Machine Gun Company
- 143rd Machine Gun Company
- 144th Machine Gun Company
- 145th Machine Gun Company
- 146th Machine Gun Company
- 147th Machine Gun Company
- 148th Machine Gun Company
- 149th Machine Gun Company
- 150th Machine Gun Company
- 151st Machine Gun Company
- 152nd Machine Gun Company
- 153rd Machine Gun Company
- 154th Machine Gun Company
- 155th Machine Gun Company
- 156th Machine Gun Company
- 157th Machine Gun Company
- 158th Machine Gun Company
- 159th Machine Gun Company
- 160th Machine Gun Company
- 161st Machine Gun Company
- 162nd Machine Gun Company
- 163rd Machine Gun Company
- 164th Machine Gun Company
- 165th Machine Gun Company
- 166th Machine Gun Company
- 167th Machine Gun Company
- 168th Machine Gun Company
- 169th Machine Gun Company
- 170th Machine Gun Company
- 171st Machine Gun Company
- 172nd Machine Gun Company
- 173rd Machine Gun Company
- 174th Machine Gun Company
- 175th Machine Gun Company
- 176th Machine Gun Company
- 177th Machine Gun Company
- 178th Machine Gun Company
- 179th Machine Gun Company
- 180th Machine Gun Company
- 181st Machine Gun Company
- 182nd Machine Gun Company
- 183rd Machine Gun Company
- 184th Machine Gun Company
- 188th Machine Gun Company
- 189th Machine Gun Company
- 191st Machine Gun Company
- 192nd Machine Gun Company
- 193rd Machine Gun Company
- 194th Machine Gun Company
- 195th Machine Gun Company
- 196th Machine Gun Company
- 197th Machine Gun Company
- 198th Machine Gun Company
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- 200th Machine Gun Company
- 201st Machine Gun Company
- 202nd Machine Gun Company
- 203rd Machine Gun Company
- 204th Machine Gun Company
- 205th Machine Gun Company
- 206th Machine Gun Company
- 208th Machine Gun Company
- 209th Machine Gun Company
- 210th Machine Gun Company
- 211th Machine Gun Company
- 212th Machine Gun Company
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- 214th Machine Gun Company
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- 216th Machine Gun Company
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- 220th Machine Gun Company
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- 223rd Machine Gun Company
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- 225th Machine Gun Company
- 226th Machine Gun Company
- 227th Machine Gun Company
- 228th Machine Gun Company
- 229th Machine Gun Company
- 230th Machine Gun Company
- 231st Machine Gun Company
- 232nd Machine Gun Company
- 233rd Machine Gun Company
- 234th Machine Gun Company
- 235th Machine Gun Company
- 236th Machine Gun Company
- 237th Machine Gun Company
- 238th Machine Gun Company
- 239th Machine Gun Company
- 240th Machine Gun Company
- 241st Machine Gun Company
- 242nd Machine Gun Company
- 243rd Machine Gun Company
- 244th Machine Gun Company
- 245th Machine Gun Company
- 246th Machine Gun Company
- 247th Machine Gun Company
- 248th Machine Gun Company
- 249th Machine Gun Company
- 250th Machine Gun Company
- 251st Machine Gun Company
- 255th Machine Gun Company
- 261st Machine Gun Company
- 262nd Machine Gun Company
- 263rd Machine Gun Company
- 265th Machine Gun Company
- 266th Machine Gun Company
- 267th Machine Gun Company
- 268th Machine Gun Company
- 269th Machine Gun Company
- 270th Machine Gun Company
- 271st Machine Gun Company
- 272nd Machine Gun Company
- 273rd Machine Gun Company
- 277th Machine Gun Company
- 278th Machine Gun Company
- 3rd Machine Gun Battalion
- 4th Machine Gun Battalion
- 5th Machine Gun Battalion
- 7th Machine Gun Battalion
- 8th Machine Gun Battalion
- 12th Machine Gun Battalion
- 14th Machine Gun Battalion
- 15th Machine Gun Battalion
- 16th Machine Gun Battalion
- 17th Machine Gun Battalion
- 18th Machine Gun Battalion
- 19th Machine Gun Battalion
- 20th Machine Gun Battalion
- 21st Machine Gun Battalion
- 23rd Machine Gun Battalion
- 24th Machine Gun Battalion
- 25th Machine Gun Battalion
- 30th Machine Gun Battalion
- 31st Machine Gun Battalion
- 33rd Machine Gun Battalion
- 34th Machine Gun Battalion
- 35th Machine Gun Battalion
- 36th Machine Gun Battalion
- 37th Machine Gun Battalion
- 38th Machine Gun Battalion
- 39th Machine Gun Battalion
- 40th Machine Gun Battalion
- 41st Machine Gun Battalion
- 42nd Machine Gun Battalion
- 46th Machine Gun Battalion
- 47th Machine Gun Battalion
- 48th Machine Gun Battalion
- 49th Machine Gun Battalion
- 50th Machine Gun Battalion
- 51st Machine Gun Battalion
- 52nd Machine Gun Battalion
Can you add to this factual information? Do you know the whereabouts of this unit on a particular day? Which battles they took part in? Or any other interesting snipts?
Those known to have served with The Machine Gun Corps during the Great War.
Select a story link or scroll down to browse those stories hosted on this site.
- Lt. Arthur Hewitt Allen Read their Story.
- Pte. William Allison (d.7th Jun 1917)
- L/Sgt. Ernest William Andrews Read their Story.
- Pte. Arthur Barrell (d.11th Jun 1917)
- Pte Arthur Cyril Bloore Read their Story.
- Lt. Boston Read their Story.
- Pte Joseph William Bower (d.3rd Dec 1917) Read their Story.
- Pte. Thomas Boyle Read their Story.
- Pte. Alfred Bradley MM (d.6th June 1917) Read their Story.
- Pte.. Frank Butterworth
- Pte. Evan Idwal Caine (d.9th Jun 1917)
- Sgt. Daniel Clarence MM.,MID. (d.13th Nov 1916)
- Sjt Fred Clark (d.9th Mar 1918)
- Pte. William James Thomas Clarke Read their Story.
- Pte. N. Coombe (d.1st Jul 1916)
- L/Cpl. Hugh Crawford MM. (d.4th April 1918) Read their Story.
- Pte. George Francis Currie Read their Story.
- L/Cpl. Daniel Davies (d.21st Sep 1918) Read their Story.
- Sgt. M. Davies DCM. Read their Story.
- Pte. George Edward Ebbs (d.1st Jul 1916)
- Pte. Harry Ellis Read their Story.
- Sgt Levi Henry Evans (d.11th Nov 1917) Read their Story.
- Sjt. Thomas Farrell Read their Story.
- Dvr. Walter Joseph Foulkes Read their Story.
- Pte. Frederick William Fowler (d.9th Jun 1917)
- Pte. Willis Hirwen Frith (d.8th Jun 1917) Read their Story.
- Pte. Frederick George Fulbrook (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Sergeant Roland Cavendish "Bob" Gamble Read their Story.
- Pte. Charles Lyall Gardner (d.30th Sep 1918) Read their Story.
- Sgt Peter Gaskin (d.17 Sep 1918) Read their Story.
- Sgt. John Geraghty (d.14th Dec 1919) Read their Story.
- Pte. Robert William Grant (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Pte. John Gray (d.9th Jun 1917)
- Private James Guest
- Walter Halsall (d.1st August 1917)
- Pte. Andrew Chichester Hart (d.1st Jul 1916)
- Pte. Ernest Henry Hartley (d.10th Apr 1917) Read their Story.
- Pte. James Henry Hartley (d.20th Apr 1918) Read their Story.
- 2nd Lt. Leslie William Hawkins Read their Story.
- Henry Ivor Heybyrne Read their Story.
- Cpl. William Higginbottom (d.19th Apr 1917)
- Cpl. Peter Highcock (d.14th Nov 1918) Read their Story.
- Pte. William "Snowy" Hodson Read their Story.
- Pte. James Joesph Holmes (d.12th Oct 1918) Read their Story.
- L/Cpl Francis John Hopkins Read their Story.
- Pte. Richard Houghton Read their Story.
- A.Cpl. Harry Howells Read their Story.
- Joseph Henry Hubbard Read their Story.
- Pte. E. Jebbett (d.19th Oct 1917)
- Sgt. Andrew Smith Kerr (d.19th Apr 1917)
- Pte. Thomas King (d.02 December 1917)
- V G Langford Read their Story.
- Pte. William John Lathlane (d.11th Jan 1917) Read their Story.
- Pte. Mathew Bryce Leitch Read their Story.
- Pte. David Thomas Lewis MM. Read their Story.
- CQMS John Bright "Bright" Lockley (d.5th April 1918) Read their Story.
- Spr. Bertram Maggs Read their Story.
- Sjt. Michael Mallon (d.26th Sep 1917) Read their Story.
- Pte. Harry Mansfield (d.17th Apr 1918) Read their Story.
- Sgt. William John Mark MM. Read their Story.
- Pte. Harvey William "Henry" Marshall (d.11th Dec 1918) Read their Story.
- Pte. John McIlhone Read their Story.
- Pte. Joseph Brunton McNally MM. Read their Story.
- Pte. Thomas Measey (d.20th Jan 1917) Read their Story.
- Pte. Frederick William Mickle (d.14th Jul 1917)
- Pte. Joseph Mingham Read their Story.
- Pte. Joseph Mingham Read their Story.
- Pte Samuel Henry Earnest Mogg (d.3rd July 1917)
- L/Cpl. William Musgrove (d.5th Jul 1918) Read their Story.
- J. Newcombe (d.9th Nov1918) Read their Story.
- Pte. J. Newton (d.8th Jun 1917)
- L/Cpl. Frank Owers (d.5th Apr 1918) Read their Story.
- Pte. Major William Pain (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Sgt. G H Parker Read their Story.
- Pte. Arthur George Pittman (d.13th Oct 1918) Read their Story.
- L/Cpl. John William "Jack" Potts (d.26th September 1917) Read their Story.
- Cpl. George Henry Quincey Read their Story.
- Pte. Harry William Reeve (d.25th Oct 1917)
- L/Cpl John Stephen Roberts Read their Story.
- Pte George Ellis Robinson Read their Story.
- Pte. T. Robinson (d.9th Jun 1917)
- Capt. George Archibald Rosser MID. Read their Story.
- 2nd Lt. Thomas Richmond Rowell Read their Story.
- Pte. George Ruddell
- Pte. Charlie George Melrose Sampson (d.11th Jul 1917) Read their Story.
- Pte. Thomas Bell Shepherd Read their Story.
- L/Cpl. Reginald George Simmonds (d.19th Apr 1917) Read their Story.
- Cpl. Reginald Simpson Read their Story.
- Cpl. William Spear Read their Story.
- Pte. Benjamin Milburn Stafford (d.20th Apr 1917) Read their Story.
- L/Cpl. Harry Stephen Starkey (d.21st Feb 1919)
- Pte. Donald Stewart (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Pte. W. Thomson (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Cpl. J. W. Timms Read their Story.
- Pte. James Trull Read their Story.
- Pte. Hubert Henry Wall (d.22nd October 1917)
- James Watson
- Pte. Albert Weeden Read their Story.
- L/Cpl. George Shaw Williams (d.28th Sept 1916)
- Pte Charles Richard Willis
- John Bertram Willson Read their Story.
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add,, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.
- At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.
- Wanted: Digital copies of Scrapbooks, Autograph books, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to Britain in the Great War. Please get in touch as we are looking for these items for our new "Life on the Home Front" feature.
- Do you have an interest in a specific Battalion, Ship, Squadron or Voluntary Organisation during the Great War? Perhaps your relative served and you would like to find out more? The Wartime Memories Project are looking for volunteers to help with researching the activities of units of the Territorial Force, Regular Army, Pals Battalions, Kitchener's New Armies, Voluntary Organisations and the Ships of the Royal Navy to assist with the development of our Great War Centenary Commemorations, which will center around helping others to learn more about their own families and communities during the war. If you would be interested in helping with some research, please register on our Volunteers Page.
- The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors. If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.If you enjoy this site
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- We are also looking for volunteers to help with the website. We currently have a huge backlog of submissions which need to be edited for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.Wanted: Great War Newspaper clippings
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Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site.
Pte Arthur Cyril BlooreI am trying to find out where my grandfather went and what he did during his service years. I know he joined up 27/04/1915 he had a horse he called Jeanne (Ihave a photo of him on it) and that he was in the middle east. (SERVICE AREA 3)and that he was in the machine gun corps. I would like to know a little more about where he was sent, a bit of a timeline might be a better way to describe what I'm looking for.
Sjt. Thomas FarrellThis is a picture of my grandad, Sgt Thomas Farrell (on the right). He was born in Bootle, Liverpool in 1886, a week after his dad was killed in an accident at the docks. The man in the middle was his wife's uncle, Francis James Wailey, Manchester Reg, who was KIA on 10/11/1917 and is buried at Coxyde Mil Cem. Thomas was a long-standing military man who joined the Loyal North Lancs Regiment around 1904 and went on to the Machine Gun Corps in Feb 1917 and the Tank Corps in 1918. He was a 2nd Lieut from 19th December 1917. He was wounded 3 times (September 1914, June 1915 and October 1918) and was still removing shrapnel from his back in the 1930s.
He spent some time in 'A' Ward at Red House Auxiliary Hospital, this photo was taken in September 1916, Tom is 1st left at the back. I don't know where this hospital was.
In this photo Grandad Thomas Farrell is on the right. Obviously taken when in hospital around 1916. I have no idea where the hospital was or who the other 3 people are.
This picture was found in the papers of Thomas Farrell but he doesn't appear to be one of the soldiers.
Update: It is possible that Red House Auxiliary Hospital was in Leatherhead.
Pte. Thomas Bell ShepherdMy grandfather Thomas Bell Shepherd joined the 3rd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers c 1915, transferring to the 1st Platoon of the Machine Gun Corps where he fought in the Battle of the Somme. At some point he was wounded by shrapnel and spent time recovering at Frodsham Auxiliary Military Hospital, Cheshire, where he met local girl Minnie May Duncalf. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps at the beginning of 1918. He ended the war as a 2nd Lieutenant in the RAF. On February 1st 1919, he married Minnie May, my grandmother, in Aberdeen. He was at that time posted at Longside Airship Station, near Peterhead, Scotland. By 28th February 1919 he was transferred to the unemployed list.
L/Cpl Francis John HopkinsMy father, Francis John Hopkins,was born in Kingston - on - Thames, on 29 December 1887. He enlisted with the Territorials (Berkshire Yeomanry)in 1912 and volunteered for service in August 1914 at the outbreak of WW1. After training he was drafted to Egypt as part of the 2nd Mounted Division and left Avonmouth,Bristol on 8 April 1915 on the SS Menominee arriving in Alexandria on 19 April 1915.Remained in Egypt awaiting orders to go to the Dardenelles.
Although training in the middle east had been as mounted troops, the decision was made in early August that the Yeomanry would fight dismounted. The Regiment (as it was now called) sailed from Alexandria aboard SS Lake Michigan; after transshipment at Mudros, they landed at A-Beach, East Suvla on 18 August. The Regiment were engaged in some bitter fighting against insurmountable odds and in early November 1915 it was decided to 'withdraw' and the Regiment finally embarked for Mudros and Egypt.
In December 1915 the Western Frontier Force was formed, a part of which was the Camel Corps to which my father transferred.
During the summer and autumn of 1916 the Berkshire Yeomanry were employed in patrolling and outpost duties in the Western Desert and Upper Egypt. They later moved east to the Suez Canal where the defences were extended into the Sinai Desert. My father writing in a letter home on 29 February 1916 (from Mersa Matruh) said 'inter alia' "I haven't seen any fighting here yet, although the Brigade has been in action several times, and I assure you I don't want to as I saw warfare with all its horrors on the Peninsular (Gallipoli), as I very often think of the three months I spent there as the most miserable one could possibly imagine..."
In January 1917 saw the British begin their advance towards Jerusalem. My father saw action in both battles for Gaza in March and April and again in the beginning of November following which the Turks were finally beaten off. A greatly reduced 6th Mounted Brigade withdrew from the front line on 30 November and returned to Egypt to re-group.
In January 1918, after being brought up to strength, the Berkshire Yeomanry resumed training and refitting. In April they were amalgamated with other units to form the 101st Machine Gun Corps. In May 1918 the Battalion was ordered to France because fighting on the Western Front had reached a critical stage. Within hours of leaving Alexandria on the night of 26 May the SS Leasowe was torpedoed (with a loss of +/- 199 lives). There was a three week delay whilst equipment was replaced. After re-embarkation on HMT Caledonia the regiment landed at Taranto, southern Italy on 21 June and entrained for France, arriving in time to take part in the final allied offensive which began on 8 August 1918.
The Battalion saw their first action at the Battle of the Scarpe on 29 August. The fighting was in complete contrast to that in Palestine - the dash across the desert on horseback and/or camel was now replaced by slow deliberate assault across muddy fields and shellholes. On 16 September the battalion moved to Belgium and was involved in numerous actions up until the last one on 31 October 1918. At some point about this time my father was made a Lance Corporal and was later posted to the Labour Corps (Reg No. 618560) and was finally discharged from the army on 12 March 1919
Pte. Joseph MinghamI am trying to find info on my granddad, Joe Mingham. He served with the Kings Own and the Machine Gun Corps and was on the Somme at some point and was injured by flying shrapnel in his kidney area. I believe he was also temporarily in action with the Staffords. I always remember him saying one of their officers sent two men to a nearby farm house to shoot some local French woman who was signalling to 'jerry'. I also seem to remember him saying he was in Burma. My granddad died in 1977 in Morecambe, it seems his wounds finally caught up with him.
2nd Lt. Thomas Richmond RowellMy grandfather, Thomas Richmond Rowell, was in the first attack at Thiepval on the 1st of July 1916, aged 19. He was wounded twice by a german machine gun and spent some hours in no-man's land. Fortunately his mother had given him a bottle of iodine which he poured over his wounds. The surgeon later told him this certainly saved his legs and probably his life. He made a full recovery and died in 1974. This information came from my mother and although true I cannot verify all the facts as he would never speak to me about it, although I do have his picture as an officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers.
After the war he joined the colonial civil service in Hong Kong and became Director of Education but was sent on leave shortly before the surrender of Hong Kong and evacuated to Australia. He left there in 1942 in the last rubber boat to leave Malaya before It's surrender. Bound for Britain the ship was torpedoed off Halifax but being full of rubber it took a long time to sink and everyone was picked up. My mother worked as acipher clerk at Bletchley Park. I can follow his life after the war but information on his service record is sketchy. Can anyone help please?
Editors Note: Thomas Richmond Rowell is listed as having served as a Private in the Liverpool Regiment then commissioned into the Machine Gun Corps.
John Bertram WillsonMy relation John Willson was with the KRRC from 1911 to 1914 then he joined the Machine Gun Corps from 1914-1919, he was on the reservist list until 1931.
Pte. Charlie George Melrose Sampson (d.11th Jul 1917)Charlie Sampson died of wounds on the 11th of July 1917 and was buried at Kandahar Farm Cemetery, close to the dressing station. He was 31 years old.
Pte. Willis Hirwen Frith (d.8th Jun 1917)Willis Frith was studying at the University of Nottingham before he enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters in August 1916 and transferred to the 207th Machine Gun Coy when it was founded. He was killed in action at the Battle of Messines and has no known grave, he was 20 years old.
Sjt. Michael Mallon (d.26th Sep 1917)Michael Mallon enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment in Whitehaven and transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, he was killed in action and is remembered on the Tyne Cot memorial.
J. Newcombe (d.9th Nov1918)My grandfather, J Newcombe, was in the 32nd Company, Machine Gun Corps and was killed in Maubeuge on 9th November 1918. I plan to visit his grave, for which I have the details in September, but would love to know what the initial J stood for. My mother was only three months old, and therefore did not mention him by name, and she has since died.
Cpl. J. W. TimmsI am trying to find out what happened to the man names J W Timms, who had engraved his name in the attic in our French Farm House in La Somme. We believe he is from 119th MG Company
Sgt. G H ParkerI am trying to find out what happened to the many men who had engraved names in the attic in our French Farm House in La Somme. We believe Sgt G H Parker is from 119th MG Company.
V G LangfordI am trying to find out what happened to the many men who had engraved names in the attic in our French Farm House in La Somme. We believe V G Langford is from 119th MG Company
Pte. James Henry Hartley (d.20th Apr 1918)The Machine Gun Corps in Kentucky - The Story of James Henry Hartley
Earlier this year, I visited Cave Hill National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, located within the much larger and quite beautiful Cave Hill Cemetery. It is the largest cemetery in Kentucky's largest city. The remains of notables are buried there, including 19th Century baseball great Pete Browning and Colonel Harlan Sanders.
I was there to visit the grave of Great War Medal of Honor Winner, Sergeant Willie Sandlin of Devil's Jump Branch, Hell for Certain Creek, Leslie County, Kentucky. Sergeant Sandlin was buried at the Hurricane Creek Cemetery, Leslie County, upon his death in 1949 but, when his widow moved to Louisville to be near a daughter, she took his body with her. I learned that day that he is not buried there, but in Louisville's other National Cemetery, Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. Zachary Taylor National Cemetery and Camp Taylor, Kentucky were named after Mexican War hero and President of the United States, Kentuckian Zachary Taylor.
Within Cave Hill National Cemetery, there is a headstone which is considerably larger than the headstones which surround it. It's about 4 feet tall and 2½ feet wide, weighs at least 400 pounds, and is made of marble. On both sides at the top corners are carved Union Jacks. It reads: Private James Henry Hartley, Machine Gun Corps, British Military Mission. Died at Camp Zachary Taylor April 20th, 1918 - If I should die think only this of me that there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England. These are the words at the grave on the Island of Skylos, Greece, where the famous English poet, Rupert Brooke, died while preparing for action at Gallipoli. They are from his poem, The Soldier. The reverse reads: Erected by the Officers of the United States Army Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky May 30th 1918. James Henry Hartley's Commonwealth of Kentucky Death Certificate reveals that he died at Camp Taylor Base Hospital, that he was a married, white male, born in September of 1880, and that his occupation was soldier. He was born in England and his wife's maiden name was Elizabeth Ellen Hartley of R.F.D. 11, Box 8, Darwin, England. It states that he died of lobar pneumonia of eight days duration with a secondary contributing cause of emphysema of six months duration. This leads me to believe that he had been exposed to gas on the Western Front. He was buried April 25, 1918. There was no obituary in the Louisville or Camp Taylor papers. There were no obituaries at all in the camp paper.
Private Hartley had been a member of The King's (Liverpool Regiment) No. 31922. He was No. 3389 of the Machine Gun Corps and, since the numbers began at 3000, he was an early member of that Regiment indeed. His brother, Lawrence, formerly of the Prince of Wales' Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) was number 3390. He survived the war. Pictured with this article is Boy David, the Memorial to the Machine Gun Corps in Hyde Park, London. Beneath David are the words "Saul has slain his thousands but David his tens of thousands." This memorial has a commemoration panel which reads: The Machine Gun Corps, which his Majesty King George V was Colonel-Chief, was formed by Royal Warrant dated the 14th day of October, 1915.
The Corps served in France Flanders Russia Egypt Palestine Mesopotamia Salonica India Afghanistan and East Africa.
The last unit of the Corps to be disbanded was the Depot at Shorncliffe on the 15th day of July, 1922. The total number who served in the Corps were some 11,500 officers and 159,000 other ranks, of whom 1,120 officers and 12,671 other ranks were killed, and 2,881 officers and 45,377 other ranks were wounded, missing or prisoners of war.
At the outbreak of war in August 1914, the tactical use of machine guns was unappreciated by the British Military. Consequently, the Army went to war with its infantry battalions and cavalry regiments each having a machine gun section of only two guns each. This was added to in November by the forming of the Motor Machine Gun Service, administered by the Royal Artillery, consisting of motorcycle mounted machine gun batteries. A machine gun school was also opened in France.
A year of warfare on the Western Front proved that to be fully effective, machine guns must be used in larger units and crewed by specially trained men. To fulfil this need, the formation of the Machine Gun Corps was authorized in October 1915 with infantry, cavalry, motor and early 1916 a heavy branch. A depot and training center was established at Belton Park in Grantham, Lincolnshire and a base depot at Camiers in France.
The Infantry Branch was by far the largest and initially formed by the battalion machine gun sections transferring to the M.G.C., and grouping into Brigade Machine Gun Companies. New companies were raised at Grunthal. In 1917 a fourth company was added to each division. A further change in February and March 1918 saw the four companies of each division form battalions. The Cavalry Branch consisted of Brigade Machine Gun Squadrons.
The Motors Branch after absorbing the M.M.G.S. formed several types of units, i.e., motorcycle batteries, light armored motor batteries (LAMB) and light car patrols. As well as motorcycles, other vehicles used included Rolls Royce and Model T Ford cars.
The Heavy Section was formed in March 1916, becoming the heavy branch in November of that year. Men or this branch crewed the first tanks in action at Flers, during the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. In July 1917 the heavy branch separated from the M.G.C. to become the Tank Corps.
In its short history, the M.G.C. gained an enviable record as a front line fighting force, seeing action in all the main theaters of war. At the end of hostilities, the M.G.C. was again reorganized in a smaller form as many of its soldiers returned to civilian life. However, the Corps continued to see active service in the post war campaigns of Russia, India and Afghanistan until being disbanded in 1922 as a cost cutting measure.
Some 170,500 officers and men served in the M.G.C. with 62,049 becoming casualties, including 12,498 being killed. Seven men of the Machine Gun Corps earned the Victoria Cross. Captain Kermit Roosevelt, Military Cross, son of President Theodore Roosevelt, was at one time attached to the 14th Light Armored Motor Battery.
Private Hartley's records were destroyed by World War II German bombing, as were the records of most British Great War soldiers, including his brothers. We do know that he was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal. We know from Soldiers Died in the Great War, that he was born in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, and enlisted at Darwen. He served in France and Flanders. The conditions of award of the British War Medal were that the soldier enter the theater of war on duty as a member of the British, Dominion, Colonial or Indian forces. The Victory Medal was authorized in 1919 to commemorate the victory of the Allies over the Central Powers. It was granted to those who actually served on the establishment of the unit within a theater of war between 1914 and 1919.
Since his records have not survived, we do not know with particularity in what actions Hartley served. We do know however that he was a member of the 46th Machine Gun Company and that company joined the 15th (Scottish) Division February 12, 1916. It was moved to another division March 17, 1918, but we must assume that before then Hartley came to the United States.
In the spring of 1916, the 15th Division suffered a German gas attack near Hulluch, 27-29 April. During the Battle of the Somme, it participated in the Battles of Pozieres and Flers-Courcelette and captured Martinpuich. It participated in the Battle of le Transloy, including the attack on the Butte de Warlencourt, which is owned by the WFA. During the Arras fighting, it participated in the first and second battles of the Scarpe. It participated during third Ypres or Passchendaele, at the very beginning in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge and the battles of Langemark during the second phase of Passchendaele.
Other units composing the 15th Division were the 1/9 Royal Scots, 1/4 Suffolks, 7th King's Own Scottish Borderers, 8th King's Own Scottish Borderers, 10th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), 4/5 Black Watch, 9th Black Watch, 10/11 Highland Light Infantry, 12th Highland Light Infantry, 1/4 Seaforth Highlanders and the 46th Trench Mortar Battery. It is interesting that the Highland Light Infantry was composed largely of Glaswegians, and Glasgow is certainly not in the Highlands!
In my attempt to find our more about Private Hartley, I was given considerable assistance by Andrew Fitton of the Lancashire and Cheshire Branch of the Western Front Association. Andrew has written the following account of his attempt to discover more about Hartley's life.
I first saw Paul's request for information regarding James Hartley in the summer, on the WFA website forum. As he was born in a town not far from me, I volunteered to see if there was any information available. The search has carried on for five months or so and has taken me to several towns in the area.
I will describe where the towns concerned are. Rawtenstall, the town where he was born lies about 15 miles north of Manchester. Darwen is about 8 miles west of Rawtenstall, across the moors which are a common sight in the area, and where he enlisted. Darwen lies a mile south of the City of Blackburn, indeed they are so close they now form one large administrative area. The local government is run from Blackburn. Bacup is about 5 miles east of Rawtenstall. All are in the county of Lancashire and were a large recruiting ground for the Lancashire Regiments during WWI.
Being an amateur historian, not an expert, I thought I would conduct my search for information using the methods I have picked up over the last couple of years. These methods have almost always worked in the past and there was no doubt they would work in the case of Hartley. How wrong can one be!
Taking the information from Soldiers Died and the C.W.G.C. website, the first visit was to the War Memorial at Rawtenstall. Unfortunately were no names on the memorial due to the large number of dead. In such instances, books of remembrance are compiled. A good friend from the area has the same Great War interest as me. He was contacted and recommended a visit to Bacup library as they hold files on local casualties, also a scan through the local paper for 1918 may find an obituary or an article regarding his death. After an evening of reading the paper and talking to members of the local Historical Society, I was informed that Rawtenstall had its own newspaper and filmed copies were held at the library in that town. Off I went.....
The same search was carried out at Rawtenstall with the same result, nothing, not a sausage.
Looking through the Rawtenstall telephone directory, I found one person with the surname Nerney. This was the family name taken by his widow when she remarried after the war. A phone call found me talking to a very nice but confused elderly lady. While I was trying to explain the story of his dying in WWI, she could only remember a relative who died in Africa in WWII. I sent her a letter asking her to contact me if she or her family had any information that would be helpful. No reply to date.
My next course of action was to contact the local paper in Rawtenstall, "The Rossendale Free Press". An interview was arranged with a reporter and an article appeared in the paper the next week. Same negative response, very disappointing.
I then turned my attention to Darwen, the town where he enlisted. What if he moved there after getting married? My wife Wendy was pleasantly surprised one evening when I asked if she would like go out for a meal rather than cooking. When I told her we had a little detour to make to look at a war memorial in Darwen I was rumbled (Lancashire speak for found out! PFG ). We went over to Darwen and found another memorial with no names on it. While we were in the town, I booked myself in at the library to take a look at the local paper, this I had to do a few days later due to work commitments. The meal on the way home was a delight...
An entire afternoon was spent at the Darwen library, again searching the local paper, and also trying to locate the memorial book for the Great War. Nobody in the library knew where it was, or indeed if it still existed. I called at the local town hall which closed in 1974 after local government reorganization and it was empty. A sign told people to contact Blackburn Town Hall for help. A phone call to the local paper did not help as they did not know where the memorial book was held. Just before I left the library, I noticed a book in which a man from Blackburn had compiled all the names of men from the Blackburn area who had died in the Great War and were mentioned in the local press. In the book was a James Hartley! Was this our man?
Blackburn Library was visited a few days later and a search through the papers found that this James Hartley was an officer in the East Lancashire Regiment and his address at the time of death was in Rochdale, the town I live in, 15 miles from Rawtenstall. This is not the man we were looking for. The wasted trip was compensated by a visit to the East Lancashire Regiment's chapel in Blackburn Cathedral. To see the battle honors on the standards was a very humbling experience indeed.
On the way home Rawtenstall library was visited again. After a chat with a man in the library, I was directed to the local cemetery because, as the man told me, "If he's from 'round here, his name will be on the memorial." What memorial? I had to take a look. In the cemetery is indeed a memorial. It is quite unique. It was started in 1915 and was one of England's first. As men became casualties, their names were added. I was pleased but a little annoyed that the library staff, who work only half a mile away, did not know of this stone. A slow search of the names produced the same result, no Hartley.
Along with the search, several friends and a relative helped me with some other details, many of which applied to him after his death. My brother (in Australia) found him on the recently released 1901 census. At this date, he was living on Hope Street, Rawtenstall with his two brothers and mother. His occupation was a quarryman, and his mother's birthplace was Musk, Ireland. Also, the certificate of his 38 year old widow's marriage to James Nerney , 58, (of Prospect View, Rawtenstall) in 1920 was found. When the then Imperial War Graves Commission (as C.W.G.C. was known then) were given his details, his widow was by this time married to Nerney, hence her address in Rawtenstall. The fact he was not on the "unofficial" war memorial, coupled with the fact that he was not mentioned in the local press of 1918, probably means he did not live in that town.
James Nerney was also caught up in the tragedy of the war. James, Jr. died in 1917 while serving with the East Lancashire Regiment and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
As the deadline for completion of this article was nearly upon us, Wendy and I decided on a last chance tour of all the local towns and villages to see if there was any reference to James Hartley on any of the smaller war memorials, lunch in a pub, of course!
We made an early start on a dismal Saturday morning and duly did a tour, starting south of Rawtenstall and working our way through towns with such names as Ramsbottom, Holcombe Brook and Belthorn, all old towns with their own beautifully kept memorials. However, by mid-afternoon it was becoming obvious his name was not going to be found and, with the light fading, we went back to the Darwen Library. This visit found us talking to a different librarian who really knew her stuff. Right next to where I had sat on the previous visits, was a shelf full of information on Darwen's war effort in WWI and WWII. One of the books listed all the Darwen men who died in WWI and were mentioned in the local press. In there was a J. Hartley of Pilkington Street. A quick search in the 1912 electoral register showed this man to be John Hartley who was a shopkeeper, not our man.
I was busy reading when Wendy came over casually with a book compiled by the library listing all the men of Blackburn who died in WWI. There he was! J. H. Hartley!
We found out the original Book of Remembrance was held at Blackburn Town Hall, but we would have to wait a little longer as the town hall only opens Monday to Friday. I made a little detour while at work on Monday, November 18, 2002 and called at the town hall to take a look at the book. His name was there. Paul's fear of his name not being recorded anywhere in England was put to rest . A man who died so far from home was remembered back home.
From the few facts gathered, I will try and put together his story before he went to America.
He was born in 1880. He lived on Hope Street, Rawtenstall in 1901 with his mother and two brothers. He found work in one of the many quarries that littered the hills in this area. His mother's birthplace was in Musk, Ireland and I would take a guess, that as Musk is on the west coast of Ireland, he was probably Catholic. He probably married Elizabeth Ellen Kelshaw before the war. They must have made a home somewhere in the Blackburn area, but Elizabeth moved back to Rawtenstall after his death and married again. This would explain her surname of Nerney and the Rawtenstall address on the C.W.G.C. website. He joined the Liverpool Regiment and trained as a machine gunner before being transferred to the newly formed M.G.C..
It is safe to say though that, after seeing heavy combat, this 38 year old soldier, upon learning he was being assigned to train American soldiers in the United States, believed that he would unquestionably survive the war. He was wrong. I had feared that no one had cared enough to have him memorialized. I was wrong.
It's been quite a pleasant search and I've learned a few new ideas for researching WWI casualties. I'll use some of them on my search into my Grandfather, Harry Wellens, 7/Kings Shopshire Light Infantry, Military Medal and Order of St. George (Russia), died of wounds September 5, 1916, age 34. He is buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery. I started researching him five years ago..... but that's another story.
Capt. George Archibald Rosser MID.George Rosser was commissioned into the Hampshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 18the of Sept 1909, he was promoted to Lieutenant on the 1st of Novemeber 1911, and to Captain on the 13th of April 1915.
At the Gallipoli Landing, Lt Rosser served on board the 'River Clyde' in command of the machine guns. The action that took place on V beach has been well documented, but what is not well know, is that 'only the machine guns in the bow of the River Clyde ably controlled by Lt G.A. Rosser of the 2nd Hants and Commander Josiah Wedwood, M.P,, of the R.N.R, the moral effect of the naval guns, and possibly the barrier of wire prevented the Turks from counter-attacking and annihilation the party at the water's edge' - an Extract from the "History of the 29th Division" by Captain Stan Dillon.
Promoted to Captain and Adjutant, Rosser was present at the Battle of Krithia on the 28th April 1915, the second battle on 8th of May 1915 and the third battle on 4th of June 1915, during which, he was wounded. Captain Rosser later served in command of the 133rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps, serving in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
After the war Captain Rosser transferred to an armoured car unit of the Royal Tank Corps and served in Malabar, in command of No 8 Armoured Car Coy, later transferring to No 9 Armoured Car Unit, then serving in the Waziristan Campaign. Rosser ended his army career as Lt Colonel of the 1st (Light) Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment.
Sergeant Roland Cavendish "Bob" GambleMy Grandfather lived in Leeds and was serving an apprenticeship as a printer when he joined the army. His employer very kindly kept open his job until his return. He died in 1978.
2nd Lt. Leslie William HawkinsLeslie Hawkins was my Grandpa. He enlisted in the Second County of London Yeomanry in December 1915. He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps in August 1917, then Kings Own Royal Lancs. Then after a discharge, he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant of the 6th Battalion in the Sherwood Foresters in March 1918. He saw action at Bellenglise, Sambre-Oise Canal and Cambria. He survived, resigned his commission in 1922.
Apparently he rarely talked about the horrors. He died at 80, but sadly being too young to know, I never got a chance to talk to him, recognise what he had done or really appreciated his experience in his presence. Clearly an extraordinary man but also in my memory, good to be around. Gone but never forgotten.
Pte. Joseph Brunton McNally MM.Joseph McNally was born in the Walker area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne enlisted as No 5/1334 in 1/5th Nortumberland Fusiliers
On the outbreak of War in August 1914 the Regiment consisted of the
1st Battalion at Portsmouth in the 9th Brigade,By November 1918 the Regiment had raised a further 44 Battalions, earned 67 Battle Honours, won five Victoria Crosses and sustained an estimated 16,000 casualties
- 3rd Division,
- the 2nd Battalion at Sabathu, India,
- the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, which mobilised to train recruits, and
- four Territorial Force Battalions,
- The 4th at Hexham,
- 5th at Walker, Newcastle-upon- Tyne,
- 6th at St George’s Drill Hall, Northumberland Road, and
- 7th at Alnwick.
Joseph served in the 1/5th Battalion The Northumberland Fusiliers, on the outbreak of War was at Walker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne part of the Northumberland Brigade, Northumbrian Division, (later called the 149th Brigade, 50th Division) . On Tyne defences until April 1915 and then sent to France.
The 50th (Northumbrian) Division
The Northumbrian Division, a pre-war Territorial Force formation, was drawn from Northumberland, Durham, North Riding and East Riding of Yorkshire. The Divisional HQ was at Richmond Castle. Brigade HQs at Newcastle, Malton and Durham, and titled Northumberland , York & Durham and Yorkshire Brigades. The Infantry came from Alnwick, Newcastle (2), Hexham, Stockton, North-Allerton, Scarborough, Hull, Gateshead, Sunderland, Durham and Bishop Auckland.
The Artillery Brigades, No I Northumberland concentrated at Newcastle,
- No II at Hull,(a battery at Scarborough),
- No III at Seaham Harbour (batteries at Durham and West Hartlepool),
- No IV Howitzer Brigade at South Shields (a battery at Heburn) and the
- Heavy Battery from Middlesborough.
The Field Companies their HQ and No 1 Signal Company were at Newcastle. The Field Ambulances were at Newcastle, Darlington and Hull. The Divisional Transport and Supply Column companies were at Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Hull. On the 3 August, units returned from their annual training camps. On 4 August orders to mobilise were received, the Division became part of the Central Force, Home Defence; it garrisoned the Tyne Defences and trained for war.
Early April 1915 the division was informed it would be sent to France, embarkation orders were issued 5 April. 16 April units began to entrain for the ports of Southampton and Folkestone. After crossing to France the 50th Division completed its concentration in the vicinity of Steenvoorde on 23 April 1915. The next day, units of the division were under fire.
The 50th (Northumbrian) Division was engaged in the following actions in France and Belgium.
Battles of Ypres
4 April/3 May Battle of St Julien (V Corps, Second Army until 28/4 then Plumer’s Force “The St George’s Gazette”, the Regimental Magazine of the Northumberland Fusiliers, reported that Joseph was wounded in action in April 1915. There are no further details recorded. Thus we do not known when (or if) Joseph returned to his Battalion on recovery, or indeed if he was required to leave the Battalion.
11/13 May Battle of Frezenberg Ridge (V Corps, Second Army)
24/25 May Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge (V Corps, Second Army)
16 June Bellewaarde (149 Bde) (V corps, Second Army)
149th Brigade Machine Gun Company formed in the 149th Infantry Brigade from the machine gun sections of the 1/4th, 1/5th, 1/6th and 1/7th Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers on 6 February 1916. Joseph was a founder member of this unit. He transferred, willingly into the Machine Gun Corps and allotted the number 23981. The following incomplete list is of men with similar numbers who therefore transferred at the same time:
23962 Pte Walker J NF 1645 Disch 050918
- 23963 Lcpl Irwin J NF 1751 Kia 031016 149 Co, 50 Division
- 23964 Pte Robinson J NF 1035 Dismb 150119
- 23965 Cpl Gordon FH NF 1744 Dismb 110319
- 23967 Pte Callender G NF 19 Battalion, A Co
- 23968 Pte Simpson S NF 50 Battalion
- 23969 Pte Turnbull J NF 1942 Demob 250219
- 23970 Pte Lowrey W NF 558 Dismb 030219
- 23973 Pte Robson J NF 2733 Dow 190916 150 Co, 50 Division
- 23980 Pte Nesbitt C NF 2616 Dismb ??0119 5 Battalion
- 23981 Pte McNally J MM NF 1334 Dismb 110319
- 23982 Pte Bly J NF 1371 Disch 14??18
- 23983 Pte Fox A NF 1890 Demob 090319
- 23984 Pte Oldham A NF 2357 Demob 100219
- 23985 Sgt Gascoigne J MM NF 2373 Died 030118 218 Co, 18 Division
- 23986 Pte Bell WJ NF 2471 Dismb 190219
- 23987 Lcpl Douglas J MM NF 2988 Dismb 150319 50 Battalion
- 23988 Lcpl Plumb C NF 2994 Dow 271016
- 23989 Pte Young A NF 3172 Dismb 150419 50 Battalion
- 23890 Cpl Wilding JH NF 2495
Battles of The Somme:
15/22 September Battle of Flers-Courcelette (III Corps, Fourth Army)
25/28 September Battle of Morval (III Corps, Fourth Army)
1/3 October Battle of the Transloy Ridges (III Corps, Fourth Army)
In mid May 1917 the 245th Machine Gun Company disembarked in France from Grantham and joined the Division on 30 May 1917.
1917 Battles of Arrass:
11/14 April First Battle of the Scarpe (XVIII Corps until 11/4 - VII Corps, Third Army
13/15 April Capture of Wancourt Ridge (VII corps)
23/24 April Second Battle of the Scarpe (VII Corps, Third Army)
Battles of Ypres:
26 October/9 November Second Battle of Passchendaele (XIV Corps until 29/10 XIX Corps Fifth Army
50th Battalion Machine Gun Corps formed February 1918, with the unification of 149th, 150th, 151st and 245th Machine Gun Companies, which then became “A” to “D” Companies, of the battalion.
Battles of The Somme:
21/23 March Battle of St Quentin (Fifth Army Reserve til 21/3 - XIX Corps, Fifth Army)
23 March Actions at the Somme Crossings (XIX Corps,)
26/27 March Battle of Rosieres (XIX Corps, Fifth Army)
Battles of The Lys
9/11 April Battle of Estaires (XV Corps, First Army)
12 April Battle of Hazebrouck (XV Corps, First Army)
Friday 26 April the Division entrained for the Aisne. 28 April detrained joining IX Corps, under the Sixth French Army. Monday 6 May moved into the line taking over the Beauriex Sector from the French.
27 May/6 June Battle of Aisne (IX Corps, Sixth French Army until 29/5 Fifth French Army)
Between 3 and 5 July the Division returned to the British Zone, by 14 July it was in the Dieppe area, where it reorganised. (Due to the heavy casualties sustained whilst under French command. For example, 21 officers of the 50th Battalion were captured during this action).
The Advance to Victory:
Battle of The Hindenburg Line
1 October Battle of the St Quentin Canal (XIII Corps, Fourth Army)
3/5 October Battle of the Beaurevoir Line (XIII Corps, Fourth Army)
8 October Battle of Cambrai (XIII Corps, Fourth Army
11/12 October Pursuit to the Selle (XIII Corps, Fourth Army)
The Final Advance in Picardy
17/18 October Battle of the Selle (XIII Corps, Fourth Army)
The London Gazette published the award of a Military Medal to 23981 Pte J McNally on 21 October. No citation was published at that time.
4 November Battle of the Sambre (XIII corps, Fourth Army)
After crossing the Sambre the division remained in the line until it was relieved on 10 November. By this date it had fought its way forward to Solre le Chateau. 11 November in billets between Flourcies and Monceau. On 2 December HM the King accompanied by Major General Jackson visited le Catelet where the division had crossed the St Quentin Canal in October. On 3 December His Majesty visited the division in its billeting area. In the middle of the month the division moved back to billets in the le Quesnoy area.
Demobilisation started in December and continued steadily until units were reduced to cadre and ceased to exist in France.
Joseph was transferred to the Army “Z” reserve on 11 March 1919, a veteran of the Corps. A VETERAN OF THE CORPS
Pte. George Francis CurrieMy grandmother told me that my grandfather(above George Currie) had a beautiful set of teeth until he was gassed during WW1, and he lost all his teeth thereafter.
Henry Ivor HeybyrneMy Father, Henry Heybyrne served in WW1 in the 33rd Machine Gun Corps. His brother's also served.
I remember my father showing me a great deep dent in his back. A scar from shrapnel wound. And scar of spent bullet which went through his cheek and out his mouth. He considered himself lucky on both counts. I believe he served in France at some famous battles, but I should dearly love to hear of his and his brothers' service records.
- Harry Heybyrne RAMC. Killed while visiting brother Henry in Hospital by "Drop Short"Edward Ernest Heybyrne RAMC
- Arthur Heybyrne Royal Navy.HMS Talbot
- 'Eddie' Heybyrne RFC
- Francis Heybyrne RfC
L/Cpl. Frank Owers (d.5th Apr 1918)Frank Owers was a great uncle of mine. He joined the East Yorkshire Reigment. Later he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps Infantry and was killed in action 5.4.1918 aged 20. His parents Owen and Ann Awers lived at 1 Wilbeforce Terrace, Campbell St, Anlaby Road, Hull. It is such a shame that he died so young and so close to the end of the war.
Pte. Albert WeedenAlbert Weeden's war records, like many others were were destroyed by enemy action during WWII. He is known to have joined the East Lancashire Regiment and believed did so long before the commencement of WWI. This is based on him receiving service number 6210 and his brother, John b.1889, received the service number 9310 on joining the same regiment on 29-01-1907. A third brother also joined the regiment, he was Thomas b.1886, who received service number 10029.
Albert was not allowed to speak of his service due to a domineering wife but it is known he served at the Somme and in Poona, India. Sometime during his service he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and received a service number 176623.
He was awarded the "1914-1915 Star" "British War Medal 1915-1920" and the "Victory Medal". All three bear his name, his 6210 service number and the name East Lancashire Regiment. His medal role shows the word "Disembodied 24-04-1919" but his Machine Gun Corps service sheet states "Discharged SR 14-08-1920". Does SR mean special reserve ? I could not find out what happened between 24-04-1919 and 14-08-1920.
Have photographs of the man, one is where he is "dressed up" and was wearing a kilt. Another shows him in "whites" with a Naval badge of rank on his arm. First thoughts were of "dressing up" again but the uniform appears to be a perfect fit and as he was a very small man I think it doubtful he would have found another "loaned" uniform to fit.
Pte. Joseph MinghamMy grandad, Joseph Mingham started the war in the Kings Own Lancashire Regiment. Later he transferred to the Manchester Regt which I believe was, or was going to be, converted totally to operate as a machine gun unit. He told me he spent some time attached to the 'Staffords'. I'm sure he also mentioned time served in Burma?
He didn't talk a great deal about his time in the war. A few things I do remember though were that rats were always present and they helped provide 'fresh' rations! The blokes tied string around their trousers at the ankles and thighs to prevent the rats having access to their private parts. They would cover their legs with a tin of dubbin on each leg to help prevent rot/trench foot. You had to be extremely careful if you were going to enter German trenches and shelters. He said that 'jerry' was very good at 'booby-trapping' and at engineering. Their bunkers were much more comfortable and deeper than ours and often had pianos down there. In the photo my grandad is seated at the front. He was the No1 on the Vickers in 'The Suicide Club'.
Pte. James Joesph Holmes (d.12th Oct 1918)Born and enlisted in York, James Holmes also served in the Army Service Corps service number T4/159786. Killed in action on 12th October 1918 with the 33rd Machine Gun Corps, aged 30 at Le Cateau. He is commemorated on Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Panel 10. He is commemorated St Cuthbert's Church War Memorial, Peasholme Green, York. Also on the official North Eastern Railway War Memorial, Station Road York. His name appeared in the Yorkshire Herald on 10th December 1918 in a list of men from St Cuthbert's parish who died during the war.
Pte. James TrullI have been researching the history of my great grandfather's family during WW1. My great grandfather James survived the Great War and spent his working life at R.A.Lister's in Dursley Glos. (my hometown) where he joined the factory fire service and served in the Dursley fire brigade (I'm led to believe this was common practice for ex WW1 servicemen) I know nothing so far about his army service because I have been researching his 4 brothers who also served in WW1 but were all unfortunately killed in France and Flanders. I have heard rumours that James was removed from active service because of the deaths of his brothers. James died in 1968, 5 years before I was born and my Dad says he never talked of his brothers or his time in France and Flanders.
L/Cpl. William Musgrove (d.5th Jul 1918)William Musgrove volunteered in December 1914 and joined Royal Lancashire Regiment in Liverpool. He was a serving police officer in Liverpool Constabulary. He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and died on the 5th of July 1918 at Clipstone Camp, Notts, after contracting influenza and is buried at St Alban's Churchyard, Forest Town, Mansfield, Notts.
Pte. William John Lathlane (d.11th Jan 1917)
This photograph of Esther & William was taken at the Pleasure Gardens Studio possibly when William was home on leave November 1916
A locket owned by the family of Esther Isabell Lathlane showing her late husband William John Lathlane killed in action 11th January 1917.
William has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, he was 27 years old.
Spr. Bertram MaggsMy Grandfather Bert Maggs served with the Royal Engineers, then with the 3rd Glosters and transferred to The Machine Gun Corps in 1917.
Bertram Maggs in the MGC 1917.jpg
My Grandfather is in the back row first right.
Pte. Mathew Bryce LeitchMy Dad, Matthew Leitch served with the Machine Gun Corps
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Available at discounted prices.
History of the 51st (Highland) Division 1914-1918
The Highland Division was one of the pre-war Territorial divisions. Its HQ was in Perth with brigade HQs in Aberdeen, Inverness and Stirling. On mobilization the division moved down to its war station in Bedford where it remained, carrying out training till embarking for France in May 1915. During this period six of its battalions were sent to France, three in November 1914 and three in the following March, replaced by two Highland battalions and a brigade of four Lancashire battalions; it is not clear whether the latter were required to wear kilts. They were transferred to the 55th (West Lancashire) Division when that division reformed in France in January 1916 and were replaced, appropriately, by Scottish battalions. It was in May 1915, just as the division arrived in France, that it was designated 51st and the brigades 152nd, 153rd and 154th; by the end of the war the 51st (Highland) Division had become one of the best known divisions in the BEF.More information on:
History of the 51st (Highland) Division 1914-1918
History of the 9th (Scottish) Division
The division’s record is graphically described in this history - what Field Marshal Lord Plumer in his foreword referred to as “a record of wonderful development of fighting efficiency.” There are useful appendices giving the Order of Battle, command and staff lists with the various changes; a table showing periods spent in the line, with locations; a table of battle casualties and the VC citations. The maps are good with adequate detail for actions to be followed.More information on:
History of the 9th (Scottish) Division
Machine-Guns and the Great War
Paul CornishMore information on:
Machine-Guns and the Great War
Mud, Blood and Bullets: Memoirs of a Machine Gunner on the Western Front.
It is 1915 and the Great War has been raging for a year, when Edward Rowbotham, a coal miner from the Midlands, volunteers for Kitchener's Army. Drafted into the newly-formed Machine Gun Corps, he is sent to fight in places whose names will forever be associated with mud and blood and sacrifice: Ypres, the Somme, and Passchendaele. He is one of the 'lucky' ones, winning the Military Medal for bravery and surviving more than two-and-a-half years of the terrible slaughter that left nearly a million British soldiers dead by 1918 and wiped out all but six of his original company. He wrote these memoirs fifty years later, but found his memories of life in the trenches had not diminished at all. The sights and sounds of battle, the excitement, the terror, the extraordinary comradeship, are all vividly described as if they had happened to him only yesterday. Likely to be one of the last first-hand accounts to come to light, Mud, Blood and Bullets offers a rare perspective of the First World WMore information on:
Mud, Blood and Bullets: Memoirs of a Machine Gunner on the Western Front.
With A Machine Gun To Cambrai
First World War memoir of George Coppard who served as a private soldier from 1914 until he was wounded at the end of 1917.More information on:
With A Machine Gun To Cambrai
Mud, Blood and Bullets: Memoirs of a Machine Gunner on the Western Front
Mud, Blood and Bullets is a useful and still rare addition to the ordinary soldier's experience of the Machine Gun Corps in World War I. --War Books Review Likely to be one of the last first-hand accounts to come to light, this book offers an ordinary soldier's viewpoint of WWI. --Best of British Magazine Product Description It is 1915 and the Great War has been raging for a year, when Edward Rowbotham, a coal miner from the Midlands, volunteers for Kitchener's Army. Drafted into the newly-formed Machine Gun Corps, he is sent to fight in places whose names will forever be associated with mud and blood and sacrifice: Ypres, the Somme, and Passchendaele. He is one of the 'lucky' ones, winning the Military Medal for bravery and surviving more than two-and-a-half years of the terrible slaughter that left nearly a million British soldiers dead by 1918 and wiped out all but six of his original company. He wrote these memoirs fifty years later, but found his memories of life in the trencMore information on:
Mud, Blood and Bullets: Memoirs of a Machine Gunner on the Western Front
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