Machine Gun Corps

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A British Army regiment

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Chronology

  • 1915.10.22. Formed with three branches: Cavalry, Infantry, and Motors which incorporated the Motor Machine Gun Service.
The Motor Machine Gun Service was formed prior to this date, and was in existence at 1 July 1915, when it was part of the R. F. A. [Royal Field Artillery]. It appears to have been formed 1914. Refer Historical books online below.
  • 1916.11.18. Heavy Branch of Motor MG Service formed.
  • 1917.07.27. Heavy Branch withdrawn to form Tank Corps, and Motor MG Service gradually disbanded.
  • 1918.03. MG companies grouped in battalions.
  • 1922. MG Corps disbanded.[1]

First World War

Motor Machine Gun Batteries

The Motors Branch had small motorcycle mounted Motor Machine Gun Batteries, Light Armoured Motor Batteries (LAMB) and Light Car Patrols (LCP), most went to the Tank Corps in 1922.[2]
  • In January 1918, 3rd Battery (along with 14th and 15th Batteries) was sent out to India where it was stationed at Ambala. The unit participated in the Third Afghan War to the extent that it was sent to Kohat (there from 31 May 1919 to 23 June 1919) during the relief of Thal though does not appear to have seen any action. The unit was disbanded in India on 1 December 1919. National Archives catalogue reference WO95/5484 Order of Battle for India may possibly contain some information.[3]
  • Two Motor Machine Gun Batteries, numbers 19 and 22, served during the 3rd Afghan War (1919) and the revolt in Waziristan (1919-1920).[4] 5 Officers and 68 men from M M Gun No. 22 Battery, with equipment embarked on the Ship 'Beltana' for India from Devonport on 26th February 1916.[5] 22 Battery was in Rawalpindi in 1917.[6] 22 Battery was briefly involved in the "suppression of disorder" following the Amritsar massacre of April 1919.[7] There is a detailed account written by Sergeant Macro of 22 Battery, who was Mentioned in Despatches, regarding the Action at Badama Post - 30/31 Jul 1919, during the 3rd Afghan War.[8] It appears likely that both 19 and 22 Batteries had been disbanded by September 1920, as there is no mention of these Batteries in Issues 1-5 of The Machine Gunner, first published September 1920.
  • See 25th Motor Machine Gun Battery (Calcutta Volunteers)

Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry)

Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) units, listed below, all appear to have been formed on the Western Front.
Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) Squadrons The Long, Long Trail advises:

Machine Gun Cavalry Brigade Squadrons
  • 10: Formed after February 1916 in 2nd (Sialkot) Brigade in 1st Indian Cavalry Division. Machine gun sections taken from 17th and 19th Lancers and 6th King Edward's Own Cavalry (the latter being of the Indian Army).
  • 11: Formed 29 February 1916 for 5th (Mhow) Brigade in 1st Indian Cavalry Division. Machine gun sections taken from 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, 2nd Lancers and 38th King George's Own Central Indian Horse (the latter being of the Indian Army). Broken up 14 April 1918.
  • 12: Formed 29 February 1916 for 8th (Lucknow) Brigade in 1st Indian Cavalry Division. Machine gun sections taken from 29th Lancers (Deccan Horse) and 36th Jacob's Horse (of the Indian Army). Broken up 14 April 1918.
  • 13: Formed 29 February 1916 for 13th (Secunderabad) Brigade in 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. Machine gun sections taken from 7th Dragoon Guards, Poona Horse and 20th Deccan Horse (both of the Indian Army).
  • 14: Formed 29 February 1916 for 14th (Ambala) Brigade in 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. Machine gun sections taken from 8th Hussars, 18th Lancers and 9th Hodson's Horse (of the Indian Army).
    • Disbanded 1 April 1918 on the Western Front. [9]
  • 15: Formed 29 February 1916 for 15th (Meerut) Brigade in 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. Machine gun sections taken from 13th Hussars, 14th Lancers and Watson's Horse (of the Indian Army).
    • This information from 1914-1918.net is stated to be incorrect, the correct information is stated to be: 15th Squadron was part of the 6th (Poona) Cavalry Brigade and was formed from (originally) the MG Sections of the 14th Hussars, 21 Cavalry and 22 Cavalry. It went back to India in July 1918, [although there were some men in Mesopotamia in October 1918]. Most of the Indian machine gunners were replaced by men of MGC (Cavalry) sent out from the UK.[10] The same source also advises:
    • 16th Squadron was part of the 7 (Meerut) Cavalry Brigade and was formed from MG Sections from 13th Hussars, Watson's Horse and 14 Lancers.
    • The 15th Machine Gun Squadron took part in the 3rd Afghan War [11]
  • 22, 23 and 24: Formed in 1st Indian Mounted Brigade
  • 25: Formed in 11th Indian Mounted Brigade

Machine Gun Companies

The Companies and Battalions of the Machine Gun Corps The Long, Long Trail

The following Machine Gun Companies are known to have been in India

  • 222 Machine Gun Company. It was at Campbellpur at least for the period 1 March 1917 to 22 October 1917. The company then moved to Rawalpindi, where it remained past 18 April 1918. It was still in existence in June 1919.
  • 263 Machine Gun Company. Formed in India, December 1917. There is a War Diary available for the period May-September 1919, for service during the 3rd Afghan War
  • 282 Machine Gun Company. It was at Mhow, at least for the period 17 January 1919 to 5 June 1919
  • 283 Machine Gun Company. It appears to have been In India In 1916 and was at Mhow, Christmas Day 1918
  • 285 Machine Gun Company. There is a War Diary available for the period May-July 1919, for service during the 3rd Afghan War
  • 287 Machine Gun Company was part of the Kohat-Kurram Force May – August 1919. A War Diary is available.

Records

National Archives, Kew

War Diaries

Catalogue entries include

  • WO 95/5391 Includes 1 Cavalry Brigade: 15 Squadron Machine Gun Company (1919 May - Aug) and 10 Cavalry Brigade: 24 Squadron Machine Gun Corps (1919 May - June).
  • WO 95/5392 Includes Kohat-Kurram Force: Force Troops: 287 Machine Gun Company (1919 May - Aug).
  • WO 95/5405 Includes 263 Company Machine Gun Corps 1919 May - Sept and 285 Company Machine Gun Corps (1919 May - July).
  • WO 95/5409 Includes Divisional Troops: 222 Company Machine Gun Corps (1919 May - July).

Medal Rolls

India General Service Medal Rolls for the Machine Gun Corps may be found at WO 100/480, WO 100/485, WO 100/492 These are stated to be for the period 1920-1935, but also include the 1919 awards for the 3rd Afghan War. See Medal Rolls for more details of the subdivisions of these records. There may be additional references. All may be downloaded for free. This data is also available on the pay website Ancestry.

Regimental histories

  • Machine Guns, their History and Tactical Employment (being also a History of the Machine Gun Corps, 1916-1922) by Graham Seton Hutchison; published Macmillan, London in 1938.
  • War Cars: British Armoured Cars in the First World War by David Fletcher, published by HMSO in 1987. The book contains an Annex by Charles Messenger describing the various units of Motor Machine Gun Service, Lt Armoured Batteries et al.[12] The book also has a lot of good photographs of armoured cars all over India and Persia in locations like Kohat. "The backgrounds are very interesting because they show forts, uniforms etc. Fletcher also describes very well and briefly the campaigns in the area from 1914 to about 1925."[13]

Regimental Journals

  • The Machine Gun Corps Magazine. [Nottingham], [1916]-1918. Available at the British Library, however exact holding is not stated. Imperial War Museums also hold editons from Volume 1, No 1 November 1916 to December 1918.
  • The Machine Gunner, The British Library hold issues Volume 1 No.1 September 1920 to Volume 1, No.5 February 1921. These journals are available on the subscription website database ProQuest "Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War", which is available at the British Library and elsewhere - see Subscription websites-online newspapers, journals and directories for access through some libraries.

Regimental flashes

  • A LAMB [Light Armoured Motor Battery] soldier in Mesopotamia wore a sun helmet with a flash/badge showing a lamb.[14]
  • Refer Edwin Cross photographs below.

External links

"Mesopotamia 1920-21: The Machine Gun Corps during the Arab Insurrection" by Harry Fecitt. Harry's Sideshows. kaiserscross.com. The book by Haldane mentioned within is available online, see below.
  • Imperial War Museums Their online collection contains many items on the Machine Gun Corps in India. Try the search terms "machine gun corps india". The following interviews may be listened to online:
    • 1976 interview with Walter Cousins, British private served with 1/5th Battalion, East Surrey Regt in India, 1914-1916; NCO served with 222nd Coy, Machine Gun Corps in India and Afghanistan, 1916-1920.
    • 1977 interview with Charles Douglas Armstrong, British officer served with 7th Bn Machine Gun Corps in India, 1920- 1921; served with 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regt in India, 1926-1929; served as staff officer with Manzai Bde on North West Frontier in India, 1929-1933; served as adjutant with 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regt in India, 1933-1938

Historical books online

References

  1. Regiments.org, see External links above.
  2. Machine Gun Corps Pack compiled by Jim Parker, see above
  3. CanadianJane. soldiers and civilians in India Great War Forum 24 March 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  4. Description of online photograph NAM. 1982-02-31-174, refer above.
  5. pjwmacro. 22nd Battery Machine Gun Corps (Motors) Great War Forum 22 April 2017. Information from TNA WO 25/3544. Retrieved 22 May 2018
  6. [India] - Rawalpindi 22 Battery Motor Machine Guns. Retrieved 24 March 2015
  7. mcassell. 22nd Battery Machine Gun Corps (Motors), post #626, Great War Forum 23 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  8. pjwmacro. 22nd Battery Machine Gun Corps (Motors) post #199, Great War Forum 22 June 2017. The Action at Badama Post - 30/31 Jul 1919. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  9. parbo 14 Machine Gun Squadron (Cavalry) Great War Forum 25 March 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  10. mcassell. 6th Indian Cavalry Brigade - 15th Squadron Machine Gun Corps? Great War Forum 17 February 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  11. Hone, Mark et al. Photos of Afghan Campaign 1919 Great War Forum 26 June 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  12. pjwmacro. Armoured Car Units, Navy, Army, MGC, confused? Great War Forum 8 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  13. nickbalmer. Re 114th Marathas Rootsweb India Mailing List 17 February 2001. Scroll down. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  14. Murdoch, David 22nd Battery Machine Gun Corps (Motors), post #28, Great War Forum 11 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2018..
  15. The London Gazette Publication date: 5 March 1920. Supplement date: 8 March 1920, Supplement: 31813 Page: 2882. Despatch commences page 2877.
  16. mcassell. 22nd Battery Machine Gun Corps (Motors), post #44, Great War Forum 25 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2018.