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Machine Gun Corps

Want to know more about Machine Gun Corps?

There are:593 articles tagged Machine Gun Corps available in our Library

Those known to have served with

Machine Gun Corps

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Alderton John Henry. Pte. (d.18th September 1918)
  • Alexander David. Pte.
  • Alexander James. Pte.
  • Allen Arthur Hewitt. Lt.
  • Allen Wellington L. Pte. (d.22nd Aug 1917)
  • Allison William. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Almond John. Pte. (d.19th Aug 1916)
  • Anderson Henry McDonnell. Lt. (d.30th May 1918)
  • Andrews Ernest William. L/Sgt.
  • Avison Arthur Thomas. Pte. (d.15th Nov 1917)
  • Bailey Francis Samuel. Cpl.
  • Baker William Ingram. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Balls Daniel Methuen French. Pte.
  • Barker John. Lt.
  • Barnett Harry. Pte.
  • Barrell Arthur. Pte. (d.11th Jun 1917)
  • Barrell Reginald Percy. Rflmn. (d.26th March 1918)
  • Baston William Edwell. Pte. (d.1st Jan 1918)
  • Beamer Ellis. Pte. (d.18th Nov 1917)
  • Beamer Ellis. Pte. (d.18th Nov 1917)
  • Beard Lewis Digby Mansell. 2nd Lt. (d.19th Oct 1916)
  • Beaton William James. 2nd Lt. (d.24th Sept 1917)
  • Bethune Douglas. Pte. (d.1st July 1916 )
  • Bethune Thomas.
  • Bible Geoffrey Roskell. 2nd Lt. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Bicker Claude Thomas. Pte. (d.1st June 1917)
  • Bird Alfred Allan. Pte
  • Bloore Arthur Cyril. Pte
  • Blows E. J.. Pte.
  • Bollands Walter. Pte.
  • Bond Frederick Alexander. Pte.
  • Boss John William. Sgt.
  • Boston . Lt.
  • Botto Frank. Pte. (d.14th Oct 1916)
  • Bottoms Thomas. Pte. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Bower Joseph William. Pte (d.3rd Dec 1917)
  • Bowler Edward. Pte.
  • Boyle Edward. Pte. (d.28th June 1917)
  • Boyle Thomas. Pte.
  • Bradley Alfred. Pte. (d.6th June 1917)
  • Bradshaw Harry Eccles William. Cpl. (d.17th July 1919)
  • Bradshaw William. Pte. (d.3rd Dec 1917)
  • Brennan John. Pte. (d.9th Apr1917)
  • Brewer Herbert Noton. Cpl.
  • Brian Reginald. Pte. (d.16th April 1917)
  • Brighton George. Pte. (d.3rd Nov 1918)
  • Brophy Daniel. Pte. (d.4th Nov 1918)
  • Brown Wilfred. Gem
  • Brown William. L/Cpl. (d.22nd Aug 1918)
  • Buckley Reginald. 2nd Lt.
  • Butterworth Frank. Pte..
  • Buxton Jocelyn Murray Victor. 2nd Lt. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Cable Charles Ernest. Rfmn. (d.22nd Apr 1917)
  • Caine Evan Idwal. Pte. (d.9th Jun 1917)
  • Campbell H.. Pte.
  • Cardwell John. Pte. (d.25th April 1918)
  • Caulfield Frederick A.. Pte. (d.29th Aug 1916)
  • Cavin Thomas. Pte. (d.28th June 1917)
  • Chaisty Lawrence. Pte.
  • Chatfield Albert Edward. Sjt.
  • Chatt J. W.. Pte.
  • Chatter John Howard. Pte. (d.1st May 1916)
  • Chilman Richard Henry. Pte. (d.8th June 1917)
  • Churchill Alfred Henry.
  • Clark Archibald Ernest. Sgt.
  • Clark Charles Alexander.
  • Clark Fred. Sjt (d.9th Mar 1918)
  • Clarke Charles St Aubyn. 2nd Lt. (d.30th July 1918)
  • Clarke William James Thomas. Pte.
  • Clarke William A. St. Aubyn. Sub-Lt. (d.30th Dec 1917)
  • Cleveland Sydney. Pte.
  • Cockbill Harry Vernon. Qtr.Mstr.Sgt. (d.10th April 1918)
  • Collins Joseph. Pte. (d.18th Sep 1918)
  • Columbine Herbert George. Pte. (d.22nd March 1918)
  • Constable Thomas. Pte.
  • Coombe N.. Pte. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Craike-Pickering Maurice Stanley. Lt. (d.14th April 1918)
  • Crawford Hugh. L/Cpl. (d.4th April 1918)
  • Crawford William John. Pte.
  • Crumbley Philip. Pte. (d.18th Jul 1917)
  • Currie George Francis. Pte.
  • Davies Daniel. L/Cpl. (d.21st Sep 1918)
  • Davies M.. Sgt.
  • Davies Thomas Ivor. Pte.
  • Davy Percy Raymond. Pte. (d.31st August 1918)
  • Deane Robert L.. Cpt.
  • Dennison Albert Christopher. Pte. (d.1st July 1916)
  • Dillon J.. Sgt.
  • Dixon Allan. Pte.
  • Dobson Bramley. Pte. (d.5th Apr 1918)
  • Dockery William. Pte. (d.5th Oct 1917)
  • Dockrey William. Pte. (d.5th Oct 1917)
  • Donald George Moir. Pte.
  • Donald George Moir. Pte.
  • Dossett Walter. Pte. (d.25th June 1918)
  • Duke John. Sgt. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Ebbs George Edward. Pte. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Edmondson Charles Edward. Pte. (d.2nd June 1918)
  • Edwards Thomas. Pte.
  • Eggleton Henry. Lt.
  • Ellis Gordon Gerald. Private
  • Ellis Harry. Pte.
  • Ellis Trevor Edgar. 2nd Lt. (d.10th Apr 1918)
  • Evans Levi Henry. Sgt (d.11th Nov 1917)
  • Farrell Mark Vincent. Pte (d.2nd Jul 1917)
  • Farrell Thomas. Sjt.
  • Featherstone George Maurice. Pte.
  • Ferguson Ernest Victor. Pte. (d.20th Feb 1917)
  • Flanagan Robert. Pte. (d.7th Oct 1916)
  • Foulkes Walter Joseph. Dvr.
  • Fowler Frederick William. Pte. (d.9th Jun 1917)
  • Frith Willis Hirwen. Pte. (d.8th Jun 1917)
  • Fulbrook Frederick George. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Gable Reuben Harry. Pte.
  • Gamble Roland Cavendish. Sergeant
  • Gardner Charles Lyall. Pte. (d.30th Sep 1918)
  • Gaskin Peter. Sgt (d.17 Sep 1918)
  • Gaule John. Pte. (d.4th July 1918)
  • Gawthorpe William. Pte. (d.21st Mar 1918)
  • Gaze George.
  • Geraghty John. Sgt. (d.14th Dec 1919)
  • Gogarty Christopher. Pte. (d.30th March 1918)
  • Goldney A. L.Y..
  • Gomes Alvaro Druce. Lt.
  • Goodman Arthur. Sgt.
  • Gourlay Benjamin. Sgt. (d.18th May 1917)
  • Graham Benjamin. Able Sea.
  • Grant Robert William. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Gray John. Pte. (d.9th Jun 1917)
  • Green Alfred. Pte. (d.13th Dec 1917)
  • Green Henry Alfred.
  • Griffiths George. Pte. (d.25th Oct1918)
  • Griffiths George. Pte. (d.6th Nov 1918)
  • Guest James. Private
  • Hallums Cecil Albert. Pte.
  • Halsall Walter. (d.1st August 1917)
  • Hands Henry. Sgt
  • Harbridge James Thomas. L/Cpl. (d.3rd Dec 1917)
  • Harmer Charles. Pte.
  • Hart Andrew Chichester. Pte. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Hartley Ernest Henry. Pte. (d.10th Apr 1917)
  • Hartley James Henry. Pte. (d.20th Apr 1918)
  • Hartshorn Cornelius John. Pte. (d.26th August 1916)
  • Harvey William Henry. Sgt.
  • Harvey William Henry. Sgt.
  • Hawkins Leslie William. 2nd Lt.
  • Heanes Arthur. Sgt.
  • Heybyrne Henry Ivor.
  • Highcock Peter. Cpl. (d.14th Nov 1918)
  • Hills Leslie Clarence. Cpl.
  • Hilton Ernest. Pte.
  • Hitchen Richard James. (d.16th May 1917)
  • Hodson William. Pte.
  • Holmes James Joesph. Pte. (d.12th Oct 1918)
  • Holmes Sydney John. Pte. (d.13th April 1918)
  • Hopkins Francis John. L/Cpl
  • Houghton Richard. Pte.
  • Howells Harry. A.Cpl.
  • Hubbard Joseph Henry.
  • Hughes Robert Ellis. Pte.
  • Hullah Joseph Llewellyn. L/Cpl. (d.20th Oct 1917)
  • Hutting William. Pte.
  • Jebbett E.. Pte. (d.19th Oct 1917)
  • Jones David Tudor. Lt/Capt.
  • Jones W.. Pte.
  • Kay F.. L/Cpl.
  • Kay John Brayshaw. Pte.
  • Kenny Daniel. Cpl. (d.11th Apr 1918)
  • Kent John Walter. Pte.
  • Kerr Andrew Smith. Sgt. (d.19th Apr 1917)
  • King Thomas. Pte. (d.02 December 1917)
  • Knowles Amos. Pte. (d.21st October 1916)
  • Lancaster Thomas. Sgt.
  • Langford V G.
  • Large Frank. Private
  • Lathlan William John. Pte. (d.11th Jan 1917)
  • Lathlane William John. Pte. (d.11th Jan 1917)
  • Lee Patrick. Pte.
  • Leitch Mathew Bryce. Pte.
  • Lewis David Thomas. Pte.
  • Lewis Sydney G.. Ptr.
  • Light Earl Eustace. Pte.
  • Lockley John Bright. CQMS (d.5th April 1918)
  • Mackay Angus. Cpl. (d.5th May 1917)
  • Mackay Angus. Cpl. (d.5th May 1917)
  • Maggs Bertram. Spr.
  • Mallon Michael. Sjt. (d.26th Sep 1917)
  • Mansfield Harry. Pte. (d.17th Apr 1918)
  • Mark William John. Sgt.
  • Marshall Harvey William. Pte. (d.11th Dec 1918)
  • Martin William. Pte. (d.12th Sep 1918)
  • McCarthy Laurence. Pte. (d.16th Oct 1918)
  • McDermott Thomas. L/Cpl. (d.1st Dec 1917)
  • McDonald James Francis. Sgt. (d.9th Sep 1919)
  • McDougall William. Sgt.
  • McGregor David Stuart. Lt. (d.22nd Oct 1918)
  • McGurk Bernard. Pte. (d.6th Sep 1917)
  • McIlhone John. Pte.
  • McKenzie Hugh McDonald. Lt. (d.30th Oct 1917)
  • McKenzie James. L/Cpl.
  • McLauchlan James Smith. Pte. (d.18th Aug 1916)
  • McNally Joseph Brunton. Pte.
  • McQueen Samuel Brown. 2nd Lt.
  • McQuillin Stephen Alfred. Sgt.
  • Measey Thomas. Pte. (d.20th Jan 1917)
  • Mickle Frederick William. Pte. (d.14th Jul 1917)
  • Millett William H.. Cpl. (d.29th Nov 1917)
  • Milton Edwin. Pte.
  • Mingham Joseph. Pte.
  • Mingham Joseph. Pte.
  • Mogg Samuel Henry Earnest. Pte (d.3rd July 1917)
  • Money John William. Sgt. (d.31st July 1916)
  • Moritz Oscar Frank. 2nd Lt. (d.27th July 1916)
  • Muirhead Thomas Barrie. L/Cpl. (d.16th March 1917)
  • Murphy Patrick. Pte. (d.12th Sep 1918)
  • Musgrove William. L/Cpl. (d.5th Jul 1918)
  • Neal Josiah. Pte.
  • Nesbitt David. Pte.
  • Newcombe J.. (d.9th Nov1918)
  • Newton J.. Pte. (d.8th Jun 1917)
  • Nicholson Cyril Howard. Pte. (d.12th Oct 1918)
  • Oakley Frank. L/Cpl. (d.2nd Aug 1917)
  • Orvis Henry William. Sgt. (d.15th May 1918)
  • Osborne William. Pte. (d.3rd July 1917)
  • Owen James. Pte.
  • Owers Frank. L/Cpl. (d.5th Apr 1918)
  • Packham Edward. Pte. (d.25th October 1917)
  • Pain Major William. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Parker G H. Sgt.
  • Parr Harry William Charles. Pte.
  • Petchell Arthur. Pte. (d.10th Mar 1915)
  • Pittman Arthur George. Pte. (d.13th Oct 1918)
  • Pitts William Henry. L/Sgt. (d.22nd June 1917)
  • Plested Tom. Pte. (d.5th July 1916)
  • Potts John William. L/Cpl. (d.26th September 1917)
  • Prince Henry George. Pte.
  • Quincey George Henry. Cpl.
  • Reece Thomas. Pte.
  • Reeve Harry William. Pte. (d.25th Oct 1917)
  • Richmond Harold Thomas. Pte.
  • Rickard Reginald. Pte. (d.1st July 1916)
  • Roberts Charles. Sgt.
  • Roberts Harry. L/Cpl.
  • Roberts John Stephen. L/Cpl
  • Robinson George Ellis. Pte
  • Robinson T.. Pte. (d.9th Jun 1917)
  • Robson John. Pte. (d.19th Sep 1916)
  • Rosser George Archibald. Capt.
  • Rowell Thomas Richmond. 2nd Lt.
  • Ruddell George. Pte.
  • Rymer Robert. Sjt. (d.10th Apr 1918)
  • Sampson Charlie George Melrose. Pte. (d.11th Jul 1917)
  • Sheehan P.. Pte.
  • Shepherd George Edward. Pte. (d.12th Oct 1916)
  • Shepherd Thomas Bell. Pte.
  • Simpson Reginald. Cpl.
  • Slack Albert Edward. Sgt. (d.19th Jul 1916)
  • Sparling John. Pte
  • Spear William. Cpl.
  • Springer Walter Burnett. Sgt.
  • Stafford Benjamin Milburn. Pte. (d.20th Apr 1917)
  • Starkey Harry Stephen. L/Cpl. (d.21st Feb 1919)
  • Stenson Thomas. Pte.
  • Stevenson John Henry. Pte. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Stewart Donald. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Stones Walter. Pte.
  • Swales George Frederick. L/Cpl. (d.23rd Sep 1917 )
  • Sword David Stevenson. Pte. (d.14th July 1917)
  • Symes George William. 2nd Lt.
  • Taylor Harold Richard. Lt. (d.17th March 1917)
  • Taylor James. Pte (d.8th Oct 1918)
  • Thomson W.. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Timms J. W.. Cpl.
  • Toomath David. Pte.
  • Trim Samuel. Pte. (d.24th Dec 1916)
  • Trivett Walter Thomas. Pte. (d.Oct. 27, 1918)
  • Trull James. Pte.
  • Unsworth John William. Pte.
  • Vollans Stanley Arthur James. L/Cpl.
  • Walker John. Pte. (d.10th Jun 1917)
  • Walker John. Pte. (d.20th June 1917)
  • Wall Hubert Henry. Pte. (d.22nd October 1917)
  • Wallace John. Cpl.
  • Waring Samuel. CSM.
  • Watson James.
  • Weaver Henry. Pte. (d.21st Nov 1917)
  • Weeden Albert. Pte.
  • Westall William Herbert. Sgt. (d.23rd March 1918)
  • Whalley Ralph. (d.4th Apr 1918)
  • Wheadon Charles. Pte.
  • Whitley Thomas David. Pte. (d.17th Dec 1918)
  • Wilkes C.. Pte.
  • Williams George Shaw. L/Cpl. (d.28th Sept 1916)
  • Williams Nathan. Pte. (d.21st March 1918)
  • Willis Charles Richard. Pte
  • Willison Harry Cooper. Pte.
  • Willson John Bertram.
  • Wilson Charles Robert. (d.24th May 1917)
  • Wilson James. Pte. (d.4th Sept 1916)
  • Winter George. Pte. (d.4th Nov 1918)
  • Wood Ernest. Pte. (d.21st March 1918)
  • Wood Richard Thomas . 2nd Lt. (d.25th April 1918)
  • Wright Harold. Pte. (d.17th Nov 1917)
  • Yallop Ronald Robert. Pte. (d.12th April 1917)
  • Yearwood William Armel. Lt.
  • Yewdall David. Sgt.
  • Young W. B..

All 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 Add a Name to this List

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Cpt. Robert L. Deane MID 28th Brigade Machine Gun Corps

Captain Robert L. Deane 28th Brigade Machine Gun Company, Mentioned in the Despatches, in March 1918 and later awarded the MBE I'm trying to establish my great uncle's WW1 service record. He served as a Captain with the Machine Gun Corps. He had the final rank of Lt Col. Died in SA around 1969.

Peter Deane


Pte. Charles Edward Edmondson 42nd Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.2nd June 1918)

Charles Edmondson was killed in action 2th Jun 1918, aged 21 and buried in the Couin New British Cemetery, France. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Edmondson, 95 Leyland Rd., Burnley. Formerly 50 Milton Street, Burnley. A weaver at Emmott's, Burnley Lane

s flynn


Pte. John Howard Chatter 140th Bde Machine Gun Corps (d.1st May 1916)

My Great Uncle, John Howard Chatter, enlisted into the South Wales Borderer's in approximately August 1915 at the age of 17 years along with his brother and my Great uncle Charles E. Chatter aged 19 years. They both went on the end up in the Machine Gun Corps.

On 1st of May 1916 John Howard was killed at the age of 18 years and his grave stands in Caberet-Rouge British Cemetery in Souchez. Great Uncle Charles survived WW1 and returned to his family and friends back in Shifnal, Shropshire where he finally passed away and is buried in St Andrews church yard. I know John Howard was in 140th Bde., Machine Gun Corps. If anyone might have a picture or knows of any pictures of my Great Uncles during WW1 please could you get in touch with me.

Rob Chatter


Pte. William Hutting 2nd Btn. East Yorkshire Regiment

Private William Hutting served as N°9849, 2nd East Yorkshire Regiment, 83rd Brigade in 28th Division He changed units at the end of 1915 and went to the Machine Gun Corps with the n°176806. After he changed another time the unit for going to the South Lancashire with the n°8855.

It's the only information have find about this solder. I found his toothbrush near Arras Thanks if you have any another information about this soldier.



Cpl. John Wallace DCM MID 148 Company Machine Gun Corps

Sheffield newspaper article reporting Cpl. J Wallace DCM award

My grandfather,John Wallace, served throughout the Great War. He was in 1/4 Battalion The Hallamshires of the Territorial Army before the war and was mobilised at the outbreak of war.

He sailed, with his battalion, for France on 13th April 1915 and served with his battalion (he was 2251 Pte J Wallace, York and Lancaster Regiment) as a machine gunner until transferred to 148 Company of the newly formed Machine Gun Corps on 31st January 1916. On 7th July 1917, during the Battle of The Somme, he was in a particularly fierce action near the small village of Thiepval, which was on, or near, the extreme left of the line, during which he remained in captured German positions to give covering fire to his retreating comrades during a German counter attack. During this action his cousin, who was part of his gun team, was killed and this left him to operate the gun alone for as long as he could. Eventually, he had to destroy the gun, which had become inoperable, with a grenade and make his way back after his comrades. The war diary for 148 Company records his action in its entry for 17th August 1916.

For his brave conduct throughout this particular action he was awarded the DCM. He had, previously, been Mentioned in Despatches at least twice. Strangely, his entry in the London Gazette, recording his DCM award, incorrectly identifies him as still belonging to York and Lancs Regiment and with his old number. He was eventually transferred to "Z" class reserve on 28th February 1919.

After the war, he married and had two children - a son and a daughter - and he died in 1947.

Cpl. J Wallace medal card

Lndon Gazette entry for  DCM Award for Pte J Wallace

Nigel Drake


Pte. John Henry Alderton 38th Btn. Machine Gun Corps. (Infantry) (d.18th September 1918)

John Alderton died on 18th September 1918, aged 19 and is buried inthe St Sever Cemetery extension in France. He was the only son of Charles & Edith Annie Alderton (Nee Chittock) of Ilford, Essex, UK.

s flynn


Pte. Herbert George Columbine VC 9th Sqdn Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) (d.22nd March 1918)

Herbert Columbine died on 22nd March 1918, aged 24 and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial in the Pozieres British Cemetery in France. He was the son of Mrs. Emma Columbine

s flynn


Pte. Walter Thomas Trivett 9th Sqdn Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) (d.Oct. 27, 1918)

Walter Thomas Trivett is laid to rest in Saint Sever Cemetery Extension in Rouen, France. He was born in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire on 1st September 1894, which made him 24 years old when he died on the 27th October 1918.

Ian Spencer


Pte. Ronald Robert Yallop B Coy Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch) (d.12th April 1917)

On the 6th of April Ronald Yallop wrote to his uncle who was serving in Egypt. He commented that his winter quarters had been good and he had had a good rest with "beaucoup cafes etc". He then commented that they were having their share now and he had only had about 10 hours sleep in the past 72 hours.

This letter was probably never sent by Ron as we now have it in an envelope with a black border and a picture of his grave stuck to it. He died on 12th April 1917 of his wounds and is now buried in Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport. According to evidence I have sourced his Battalion was based in Pierremont, France at this time and the tanks he was training to use did not enter the action until after his death.

Clare Hensman


Lt. John Barker MC. 107th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Lieutenant John Barker with his father Rev Thomas Barker probably taken before his departure for France in 1916.

My Dad, John Barker was born in 1895 at Barrowby, he grew up the youngest son of a country vicar and served 1 year each in the Officer Training Corps first at Brighton College and then Worksop College. Dad enlisted in the Territorial Force (no 2860) on 5th Feb 1915. I am not sure but think it was established he had been in the OTC so, on 23rd Feb 1915, he was appointed 2nd Lt in Worcestershire Regiment. Sometime later he was transferred to 107 MGC (he got in a bit of trouble during his initial training and am not sure if his reward was a transfer to the suicide club!).

He arrived in France in late June 1916 just missing the first days of the Somme. I have some information that he was awarded his MC from action on 3 March 1917 and have the citation from the London Gazette of 11 May 1917. Apart from that I know little about the circumstances that lead to his MC. The War Diary of 107th MGC for that day says it is quiet. I have also read that was the day a German Camouflet exploded at Spanbroekmolen near the 107th MGC. Was this the rescuing referred to in his citation?

Dad was taken prisoner on the 1st day of the German Spring Offensive. He never said much about his experiences but one day he told me that as POWs they were so hungry two of his fellow prisoners fought over a dead sparrow!

Dad also served as an Auxiliary Cadet with the infamous K Company in 1921-2 but was invalided out with a gun shot wound (barrack room incident). Like many families a great tragedy for Dad was that his eldest son (my half-brother) Thomas Roy lost his life over Belgium on 12 May 1940 trying to stop the German advance (Sgt Observer of 150 Sqn). Any additional info on Dad would be appreciated.

Extract from London Gazette 11 May 1917

John Barker


Pte. Joseph Collins 56th Btn. Machine Gun Corps. (d.18th Sep 1918)

Joseph Collins was killed in action on the 18th of September 1918, aged 25 and is buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension in France. He was the son of Albert and Ada Collins of Bloxham, Oxfordshire, husband of Kathleen Collins and father of Rosina and Ada of Coventry

s flynn


Sgt. Arthur Heanes Machine Gun Corps

My great uncle, Sgt Arthur Heanes, ex Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry, is the goal keeper in this MGC Football team - location unknown - only clue, is the picture was produced in Grantham.

Clive Hardy


Pte. George Maurice Featherstone 18th Btn. Durham Light Infantry

George Featherstone, was born in West Hartlepool in 1898. He enlisted on 27th August 1914 aged 16 in the 18th Battalion DLI (Durham Pals). He later transferred 3rd Battalion DLI (Tyneside Garrison). He was posted to France in Dec 1915 with the 10th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. He saw action at Delville Wood, the battle of Flers-Courcelette, Battle of Arras, Battle of Ypres & Menin Road. George suffered gunshot wounds to his left thigh in August 1917. He returned to France in Jan 1918 & joined the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. He was wounded again late in March 1918 with gunshot wounds to the buttocks. He returned home 30th March. He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corp in 1918 and was discharged on the 26th August 1920, He served a full 6 years.

In 1933 he rejoined the army, the Royal Engineers and went to France with the BEF on the 9th of September 1939. He was evacuated and returned home on the 2nd June 1940, two days before Dunkirk fell. In 1941 he was posted to Iceland for 5 months. In October 1942 he was posted to North Africa with the 1st Army for Operation Torch and served in Tunisia & Algeria.


Sgt. John Duke 18th Btn. Durham Light Infantry (d.1st Jul 1916)

John Duke was born in 1892 in New Herrington, he had 5 brothers and 2 sisters. His father was a Waggonwright. John went to Northern Skelton Colliery School until he was 14 in 1906 he was admitted to the Durham Johnston School. He was on the school football team. He was a pupil teacher at age 18, then studied at Bede College and became a school teacher at Dubmire County School, Houghton-le-Spring. John Duke enlisted with the 18th Battalion DLI, Regimental Number No 2510 He trained at Cocken Hall, became a machine gunner and was promoted to Sergeant. He went with the 18th Battalion to Eqypt in Dec 1915 where the Battalion were engaged in much construction work. As a machine gunner, John was transferred to 93rd Coy, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) Regtl No (22764). He died on the 1st July 1916, aged 24 - on first day of the First Battle of the Somme. He has no known grave, and is named on Thiepval Memorial and remembered on the Durham Johnston School War Memorial.


Pte. John Gaule Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) (d.4th July 1918)

Private Gaule was the son of Richard Gaule, of Haggard, Glenmore.

He was 21 when he died and is buried on the south east boundary of the Glenmore (St. James) Catholic Churchyard, Glenmore, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

S Flynn


Pte. P. Sheehan Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Private Sheehan was 24 when he died on 17th November 1919 and is buried the south west part of the Fenor Catholic Churchyard, Co. Waterford, Ireland,

s flynn


Pte. Reginald Rickard 103rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.1st July 1916)

Reginald Rickard served with the Devonshire Regiment, number 20551 then transferred to 103rd Coy Machine Gun Corps, new number 13502. He was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme

Reginald has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing. He was aged 26 when he died and was the son of Rhoda Rickard of 7 Pym Street, Morice Town, Plymouth and the late John Rickard.

Mark Collins


Sgt. Walter Burnett Springer 2nd/6th Btn. Sherwood Foresters

Walter Springer served with the 2nd/6th Btn. Sherwood Foresters and the Machine Gun Corps.

Helen Springer


Pte. Claude Thomas Bicker Kings Liverpool Regiment (d.1st June 1917)

Claude Bicker was born in Carlisle, Cumbria in 1895. He initially enlisted in the Kings Liverpool Regiment on 11th of January 1915 aged 20. His battalion left Formby in July 1916 for France. Sometime around August 1916 he was transferred to the 8th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment under the new service number 29979. On 1st of July 1917, Claude was killed whilst attached to the Machine Gun Corps aged 22. I believe he was attached to the 7th Coy. Machine Gun Corps when he died. Their War Diary confirmed that they were in the Wolverghem sector and that three men were killed and two were wounded at North Midland Farm.


Leanne Roberts


Pte. Lawrence Chaisty Machine Gun Corps

Lawrence Chaisty served with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and the Machine Gun Corps.

Lynne Fornieles


Pte. Ernest Victor Ferguson 29th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.20th Feb 1917)

Ernest Ferguson served with the 29th Coy. Machine Gun Corps. He died of wounds on 20th February 1917 and is buried in Struma Military Cemetery, Greece.


Pte. Percy Raymond Davy 3rd Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.31st August 1918)

Percy Davy was a private in the 3rd Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps. He served in France and died on 31st August 1918. Percy is buried in Bac-du-Sud British Cemetery, Bailleuval, France. He was 19 years old.


Sub-Lt. William A. St. Aubyn Clarke 223rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.30th Dec 1917)

William Clarke served in the 63rd Royal Naval Division, 190th Brigade, 223 Coy, Machine Gun Corps. He was killed on 30th December 1917. He was laid to rest in Flesquieres Hill British Cemetery.


2nd Lt. Charles St Aubyn Clarke 74th Btn. Punjabis (d.30th July 1918)

Second Lt. Clarke served in France with the Machine Gun Corps and then transferred to the Indian Army. He died on 30th July 1918 and is buried at Agra Cantonment Cemetery in India. He was 20 years old.


Pte. Thomas Ivor Davies 101st Company Machine Gun Corps

Thomas Davies also served in the Cheshire Regiment from 1921 to 1927 at the rank of Corporal.


Pte. Sydney John Holmes 147th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.13th April 1918)

Sydney Holmes from Acomb York, served in Army Service Corps initially then was chosen to serve in MGC from 1st Jan 1917. He was killed in action on the 13th of April 1918. His letters from the front line trenches have been kept and I am currently producing them into a book.

J Mackfall


L/Sgt. William Henry Pitts 23rd Company Machine Gun Corps (d.22nd June 1917)

William Pitts was the son of Edward and Mary Ann Pitts. In 1901 his parents had moved to Duckaller Cottage, Port Road, Dawlish and William Henry, 13, Leah L, 11 had been joined by Albany J, 7, born in Dawlish. The other children had moved away and one of their number had died, as recorded in the 1911 census when the parents with Albany John Pitts were living at Westwood, Cofton, Starcross. William was born St Thomas district, surrounding Exeter and including Kenton Oct-Dec 1887. He joined the Devonshire Regiment with a service no. 7882 and was stationed in Malta with the 2nd Battalion at the time of the 1911 census. It is possible that he was discharged before the outbreak of war and then re-enlisted with the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). At the time of his death he held the rank of Lance Sergeant with service number 17565. The Army Registers of Soldiers Effects show that William was serving with the 23rd Company of the Machine Gun Corps at the time of his death on 22nd June 1917. His name is inscribed on the Main Gate at Ypres.

In early 1914 William had married Ethel Beatrice Westcott (Born in Lambeth, in 1890,) in Exeter. After William's death Ethel married Alfred Bowles in Oct-Dec 1920 at Dartford and the CWGC website records her address as 8 Battle Road, Erith, Kent.

Robert Vickery


Pte. William Dockrey Machine Gun Corps (d.5th Oct 1917)

William Dockrey formerly served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers. he is buried in the Balla Old Catholic Cemetery, (although his actual grave cannot be identified) in Balla, Co. Mayo, Ireland.

S Flynn


Cpl. Leslie Clarence Hills 57th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Leslie Hills signed his Attestation on the 5th of September 1916, he was sent to France on the 13th of February 1917. He was wounded on the 17th of October 1917, discharged as unfit on the 14th of August 1918. He appears to have served with 19th (Western) Division, 57th Brigade before being moved to the 14th Machine Gun Battalion in February 1918.


Gem Wilfred Brown Machine Gun Corps

My Grandfather, Wilfred Brown, fought at Saint-Quentin and was captured in the German Spring Offensive, date of capture 21/3/1918. Detained in Standal POW camp. Moved to Merseburg camp, repatriated at the end of the War, via Hull.

All above information supplied by ICRC.

Russell Evans


Cpl. Harry Eccles William Bradshaw Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) (d.17th July 1919)

Corporal Bradshaw was 36 when he died and is buried in the Mount Abu Cemetery in India,Plot E. Grave 387.

s flynn


L/Cpl. James McKenzie MM. 9th Btn. Machine Gun Corps

Jim McKenzie enlisted in the Royal Highlanders most likely in the 8th Battalion of the Black Watch. He married in Co Durham in 1922 and died in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1965.


Pte. George Edward Shepherd 89th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.12th Oct 1916)

George Shepherd was born in Hightown, Lancashire on 16th of August 1896, was the son of James Francis Shepherd and his wife Lilian May Shepherd (nee Herring), and was a pupil at King William's College, Isle of Man from January 1910 to December 1912. He was a private in the 89th Coy Machine Gun Corps, and was killed in action on 12th of October 1916. George is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Alison Schreiber


Sgt. Stephen Alfred McQuillin 23rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Sgt McQuillan was a regular with 2nd Btn Scottish Rifles (Cameronians) based in Mtarfa Barracks, Malta in 1914 and on notice to move to Alexandria. When hostilities started to escalate, the move to Egypt was cancelled and the battalion moved back to UK on Indiamen ship along with other two battalions in Malta.

They arrived in Southampton in September and marched to Baddersley Common before moving to Hursley Park to form part of 23rd Brigade in the 8th Division.

They moved to France on the SS Cornishman in early November 1914. Stephen must have been SNCO in charge of 2 Scottish Rifles machine guns as he was moved to MGC on its formation. He remained with the corps for the rest of war, but returned to the Cameronians after the war.

His step brother, Private Alfred Holman, was killed three months after arriving in France as a private in the Royal Field Artillery in May 1916 (he is buried at Dud's Corner). Alfred's son Alfred was born eight days before his father's death. Stephen married his step-brother's widow, the family moved to India (Quetta) with the Regiment and had three further children, in addition to Alfred and his elder sister Phyllis, in India and a sixth child (my father) when back in England. Stephen spent a period of the war convalescing in England after shooting off one of his knuckles in what was supposedly an accident with a recovered German Luger pistol.

Keith McQuillin


Lt. Maurice Stanley Craike-Pickering MC. 25th Machine Gun Battalion Machine Gun Corp (d.14th April 1918)

My Great Great Uncle, Lieutenant Maurice Stanley Craike-Pickering MC. was son of Seth Pickering and his wife Mary Craike of Beverley East Yorkshire. He was born at Beverley in 1886 and educated at Beverley Grammar School. In 1901 he began work as an apprentice Cabinet Maker to his father who was a cabinet maker and shopkeeper in Beverley. He was Initiated into Constitutional Lodge No 294 Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings and was a Joining Member of Maguncor Lodge. Later he became a Rubber Planter in Dutch Borneo.

Commissioned and Gazetted as 2nd Lieutenant 13th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry 7th April 1915; transferred to the Machine Gun Corps 26th November 1915; served with the Expeditionary force in France and Flanders from March 1916. He was awarded the Military Cross (London Gazette 14th November 1916) "For conspicuous gallantry in action. with his machine gun with great courage and determination, repulsing an enemy counter-attack at a critical time".

The husband of Jean Craike-Pickering of 29 Braidburn Court, Edinburgh, he was wounded at the First Battle of the Somme on the 15th September 1916. He died of his wounds in the Herbert Samuelson Hospital Brighton on the 14th April 1918 aged 32. Remembered with Honour in Brighton and Preston Cemetery. Sussex.

Sarah-Louise Pegden


Sgt. John William "Jock" Boss MM. 42nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps

With the outbreak of the WWI, John Boss enlisted in the Royal Scots on the 16th of December 1914, and was assigned to B Company of the 1/8th Battalion. B company was located at Tranent, and had their drill station at Ormiston. His battalion initially took up position on the Scottish coastal defences. John received his six week gunnery training at the Training Centre at Belton Park, Grantham, Lincolnshire, and served in the Machine Gun section of the 1/8th Battalion. He was then sent to France around early to mid 1915 to join up with the battalion.

On the 24th of July 1916 John was compulsorily transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and was based temporarily for further training at the MGC base in Camiers on the northern coast of France. In early 1917, he was transferred to the 126th Brigade Machine Gun Company. On the 23rd of Feb 1918, the 126th Brigade Machine Gun Company, along with the 125th, 127th and 268th Brigade MG companies combined to form the 42nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps, attached to the 42nd Division of the British Army. Combining the machine gun companies took place to more efficiently utilise the Vickers guns and men. This allowed them to be moved quickly and placed where they were most needed, instead of remaining attached to specific brigades. It also allowed the division to develop and use sophisticated MG tactics, which became the hallmark of the MGC in 1918.

At this point the 42nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps was about 800 strong with 64 Vickers guns. The Battalion was divided into 4 Companies (A, B C and D), with each Company consisting of several Platoons. Each Platoon contained 8 sergeants, and each sergeant led a Section. By now a Sergeant John was in D Company, which was affiliated with the 126th Infantry Brigade, and he had charge of four Vickers machine guns and 24 men.

During 1918, Sergeant Boss with his 42nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps was heavily engaged in the battles along the Western Front. And it was near Solesmes, during the Battle of The Selle in October 1918, that She was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. His citation read:

No. 44491 Sgt. J.W. Boss, 42nd Machine Gun Corps Awarded the Military Medal: For great gallantry and devotion to duty near Solesmes on 20th of October 1918. During the advance of his unit, one of his guns came under heavy fire with some of the team wounded. He personally mounted the gun and continued to fire until the "spare numbers came up". His magnificent conduct and gallantry during the operations have been a fine example to the men under him. Signed: A. Solly-Flood, Major General, Commanding 42nd Division.

With shells, both explosive and gas, accompanied by strafing machine gun fire from the German 25th Division. The decision had been made for a surprise night attack by the Third Army, at 2am on the morning of the 20th of October. However, before it could make the all-important thrust forward, the 42nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps and 42nd Division were tasked with the operation to push the allied line to the west, beyond the River Selle. It was during this action that his bravery won him the Military Medal.

The section of the Selle that the Third Army had to contend with was more difficult terrain than that further north and south, and heavily defended. The river was about 30feet wide and 6-8feet deep and all bridges had been destroyed, making advance of the Third Army impossible. Along the eastern side of the Selle was a railway embankment with branch lines forming an elongated triangular plateau, an ideal defensive position where numerous German machine gun posts had dug in. Above that was a very steep ridge providing the German 25th Division with the high ground covering the north, south and west.

On the evening of the 19th of October, D Company along with the 126th Infantry Brigade, moved into assembly positions west of the Selle River. The situation of the front during the day was relatively normal, with hostile artillery and machine gun activity. At 2am on the 20th of October, the offensive resumed. Conditions were dark with heavy rain and the slopes on the eastern side of the river muddy and slippery. The 42nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps was crucial in providing a barrage for the assault, as well as moving forward with the 42nd Division across the Selle. C company along with the Auckland NZ MG company provided the machine gun barrage cover for the 126th Infantry Brigade who, along with A and D companies of the 42nd Battalion MGC, pushed across the Selle River. Intense fire from enemy machine guns could be seen raining down onto the river while John in D company and A company carried their Vickers across with pack animals. Once the plateau was taken, both companies set up their HQs in the railway cutting. A and D companies proceeded to attack the ridge. During this operation they encountered hostile patrols, dug-in infantry and machine gun posts. Once the ridge and high ground to the east had been secured, A and D companies dug in to defend their position. From their positions, during the morning in very dull conditions with fine rain, they provided the barrage cover for the 127th Infantry Brigade, who pushed forward and leapfrogged the 126th Infantry Brigade. During this assault they fired 57,000 rounds fired from their Vickers. At around 13.00hrs, D company consolidated their position and A company took up fresh positions to protect the right flank, owing to the neighboring Division to the right of the 42nd Division not having been able to take the high ground. Later that afternoon, A and D companies provided barrage cover when the neighboring division re-attacked with the assistance of the 127th Infantry Brigade to gain and secure the high ground on the right flank.

The official war diaries of the 42nd Battalion MGC states "Throughout the day hostile artillery and MGs displayed great activity. The whole area was consistently shelled". The assault by the 42nd Division on the 20th of October paved the way for heavy artillery to be brought forward ready for the final assault on the 23rd October, through the town of Solesmes and onto Maubeuge.

John Boss survived the war, and soon afterwards immigrated to Mildura in Victoria, Australia. With the outbreak of WWII he enlisted in the Australian Army, served as a machine gun trainer and attained the rank of Warrant Officer II. He died in Mildura in 1975.

Sergeants of the 42nd Batallion MGC. John William Boss is second from the right, back row.

Wal Collins


Sgt. William McDougall MM. 32nd Btn. Machine Gun Corps

William McDougall was originally with the 6th Btn Seaforth Highlanders before transferring to the M.G.C. on the 12th of October 1916. He won the Military Medal in France but I can not find the citation. He was Gazetted March 17 1919 and also qualified for the British War Medal (which I have) and the Victory Medal. If anyone can add more information it would be appreciated.


L/Cpl. Stanley Arthur James Vollans 8th Battalion Machine Gun Corps

Stanley Vollans was called up on the 6th of October 1916. Originally he served with the 218th Machine Gun Company, which amalgamated into the 8th Battalion MGC on the 20th of January 1918. He was wounded and captured on the 24th of April 1918 at the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux and was repatriated to London on the 4th of December 1918.

Robert David Herbert


Pte. Harold Wright 148th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.17th Nov 1917)

In 1911 Harold Wright was living at 3 Canal Street in Openshaw with his mother and was a machine brush-maker for a velvet dyers firm - J and J.M Worral Ltd. He married Mary Milne in 1911.

He was wounded while fighting in a machine gun company. He died of wounds and may have been wounded during the Battle of Poelkapelle on 9th of October. The War Diary for the 148th MG Company records that during November 1917 they, 148th MG Company, were in the line just to the north of Polygon Wood. They were using three sections for barrage fire and and one section for anti-aircraft. There was considerable aircraft activity during the mornings and subsequent heavy accurate shelling at night. This resulted in loss of four guns and many men and may have been when Harold was wounded. He is buried in Menin Road South Military Cemetery near Ypres.

Paul Taylor


Pte. William Osborne 51st Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.3rd July 1917)

There is not much known about William Osborne, but he's my great uncle.

Andrew Osborne


Pte. William Edwell Baston 1st Btn. Dorsetshire Regiment (d.1st Jan 1918)

William Baston was with the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment but was attached to the 14th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps. He was servant to Lt J W Griffin.

'Your husband was killed only a few yards from me, and was hit by a small piece of shell in the throat, lost all consciousness almost immediately, and died in my arms only a few seconds afterwards, at about 7.45am' Lieutenant J W Griffin MG.



Pte. Josiah Neal Machine Gun Corps (Heavy)

I believe my grandfather, Josiah Neal, was taken prisoner of war in the 2nd Battle of Gaza and held at Afion in Turkey.

Teresa Murphy


Pte. Samuel Trim 68th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.24th Dec 1916)

Samuel Trim enlisted voluntarily at Taunton between 10th and 12th January 1915, joining the 8th Somerset Light Infantry. He was then transferred to the MGC training school at Belton Park near Grantham on 1st January 1916 and on completion was attached to the 68th Company MGC, in 68th Brigade, 23rd Division. The 68th MGC landed in France on the S.S. La Marguerite on 25th February 1916.

The war diary describes how the Company moved into the trenches after a period of rest, on 6th December 1916. The guns took up positions in the Armagh Wood - Vince Street sector of line, which is south east of Zillebeke near Ypres. It was a relatively quiet tour.

Over the next days, German artillery was active and the Company positions were shelled. The diary is rather matter-of-fact about it all and mentions no casualties. On 22nd December the Company was relieved and began to move out of the trenches for rest at Erie Camp, west of Ypres. As it moved through the ruins of Zillebeke around 6pm, heavy shellfire fell.

It is reasonable to assume that Samuel was a victim of this shelling, and that he may have been hit in Zillebeke. He was evacuated, making it as far as the medical facilities at Remy Farm (No 3 Canadian CCS) in the hamlet of Lijssenthoek, west of Poperinge. He succumbed to gunshot wounds to the Shoulder, thigh, elbow and side (shrapnel) on 24th December 1916 and is buried in Lijssenthoek military cemetery.

His brother L/Cpl Ernest Frank Trim 12156 8th Bn Somerset Light Infantry was killed on 28th April 1917 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the missing.

Shane Russell


Henry Alfred Green Attchd 5th Btn. Machine Gun Corps King's Royal Rifle Corps

Henry Green is my great grandfather. On 27th June 1917 he was called up to join the King's Royal Rifles. However, because he was over 30 years old (born in 1886), he was attached to the Machine Gun Corps, 5th Battalion. He was discharged from the MGC on 20th August 1919, but Henry remained as battalion cook until 18th November 1919. He recieved his official Army discharge on 20th December 1919. Henry died on 30th March 1960 and is buried in Eltham Cemetery in London.

Michelle Bowen


Cpl. Francis Samuel Bailey South Staffordshire Regiment

My grandfather Sam Bailey enlisted on the 11th March 1914, with the South Staffordshire Regiment. He was a Lewis machine gunner and later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. On 29th June 1917 he took control of his unit due to his DCO being wounded. He overran the enemy and held the position whilst reinforcements were brought in. He was awarded a medal for Bravery In The Field. His demob was in Feb 1919. I have all his medals, enlistment form, active service pay book and demob notice. Along with this there are photographs, notice from his CO of his award and a newspaper notice.

Iain Bailey


L/Cpl. Thomas Barrie Muirhead 1st Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.16th March 1917)

Thomas Muirhead was born at Lochmaben and lived at High Creoch, Gatehouse of Fleet. On the 1891 Maybole Census, he is recorded at Cutroy Bridge: Thomas Muirhead aged 6, born Lochmaben with father Alexander (46, unemployed shepherd), mother Jane (44) and 3 sisters. In 1901 on the Kirkcudbright Census, he is recorded at Greatcross Bothy, Thomas Muirhead aged 16, assistant gamekeeper, born Lochmaben with gamekeeper William Stitt. On the 1911 Girthon Census, at Laghead, Thomas Muirhead aged 26, gamekeeper, born Lochmaben was a boarder with the Caig family.

He enlisted at Dumfries in September 1914, joining the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. He served on the Western Front (Loos, Neuve Chapelle, Somme) and was killed on the Somme on 16th March 1917. He is remembered on the Anwoth and Girthon War Memorial, at Gatehouse and on the Girthon Church Memorial. He is buried in Hem Farm Military Cemetery, Hem-Monacu, Somme, France.

He was awarded the Victory, British and 15 Star medals which were applied for by his brother on the 27th March 1923 and sent to Mr J. Muirhead, Dungarg Cottage, Castle Douglas.

The Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser reported on the 30th of March 1917 "Thomas Muirhead (previously gamekeeper at Cally when he lived at High Creoch) was killed on 16/03/1917. A letter to his sister in Kirkmahoe says that he was struck by a shell and killed instantly. He said that the whole company mourned the loss of one of their gallant comrades and that he would be missed as a brother. He had enlisted on 28/08/1914 in the Argyll & Southern Highlanders but later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. He was one of the first men from Gatehouse to enlist. He was 31 years old. In more than 2 years at the Front he had never been ill. He was a very popular man."

Sue Colville


Pte. David Nesbitt DSM. 16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles

David Nesbitt served with the 16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles and 4th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps.

Linda Alwert


Pte. John Almond 2nd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.19th Aug 1916)

On the 31st May 1915, when the first Zeppelin bombs were dropped in London only half a mile from his home, John Almond, aged 17 and his brother Alfred aged 20, travelled to Holborn, London and enlisted as volunteers with the Hampshire Regiment. The brothers were given consecutive service numbers 18143 & 18144.

John was clever, good at mathematics, and quickly selected for training for the regiment's machine gun team. The Machine Gun Corps (MGC) was created by Royal Warrant on14th October 1915, by Army Order. Later that same year, John was informed he was to be compulsorily transferred to the new unit, thus separated from his elder brother.

On 26th January 1916, he joined his new Regiment at the highly secretive MGC Training Centre in Belton Park, Grantham, where he was issued with a new service number MGC 26764. Here, he undertook 6 months of specialist training on Maxim and the newly introduced Vickers Machine Guns.

After leaving Folkestone on 13th July, John crossed the Channel to Boulogne, France and joined 2nd Company MGC, in the field, on 18th July. On 14th August, the 2nd Company War Diary records the following: They were in front at Mametz Wood, Somme and on 18th August, the 2nd Coy moved up to the Intermediate Trench to the west edge of High Wood in support of 2nd Infantry Brigade. During a series of attacks on the afternoon of 18th August by The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, The Kings 4th Liverpool and 4th Suffolk, John was in a forward machine gun position. With increasing casualties and orders to retire, the machine-gun section was also ordered to pull back to the support line, which was done under fire, their guns mounted to cover the edge of the wood so as to give some protection to the retreating wounded. John was seriously wounded sometime during the actions of that day at the west edge of High Wood, and was reported dead on 19th August 1916, aged 18.

John Almond was listed as missing and would have remained, as such, except that when his remains were, eventually, found he had on him a spoon, a shaving brush and razor that were engraved with his Hampshire service number, HTS 18144. These items, together with his MGC cap badge and buttons, were enough to identify him. John's remains are buried in a named grave at the High Wood Cemetery, London Extension, Longueval, Somme, France.

Tony Almond


Pte James Taylor 57th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.8th Oct 1918)

Jim joined up first with the Northumberland Fusiliers, but at some point ended up in 57th MGC. He was married, a father of a son James born October 1916. Before the war he was employed at Cookson's in North Shields.

Jim was one of 6 sons of James and Elizabeth (Duffy) Taylor. The eldest, John Francis (Frank), died at the Somme on July 1 1916. The youngest, Ben, died at home 3 days after Frank. The remaining 3 sons all emigrated to Canada after the war, 2 dying within about a decade of the war's end. Jim was my great uncle. Given the common last name I have not yet confirmed war records of 2 of his brothers, but it is possible at least one (Thomas William) was also in a MGC.

At the time of Jim's death, his widowed mom had remarried Mr Michael Thomas. From the Tynemouth World War One project:

Shields Daily News, 22 May 1917, p4, c3. Private J. Taylor, wounded in action and in hospital in France. Serving with Machine Gun Corps. Son of Mrs Taylor, 86 Hudson Street, North Shields. Previously employed at Cooksons.

Shields Daily News, 28 October 1918: Deaths. Taylor - Killed in action in France on October 8th 1918 Private J. Taylor, Machine Gun Corps, dearly beloved husband of Mary Taylor nee Davidson. Though death divides still memory clings. Deeply mourned by his sorrowing wife, father and mother, sisters and brothers. R.I.P.

Shields Daily News 28 October 1918: Taylor - James. Killed in action 8th inst, husband of Mary (nee Davidson), 38 Hudson Street, 4th son of Mrs. Thomas Taylor of 7 Walker Place, North Shields.

Shields Daily News 28 October 1918. James Taylor of North Shields, killed in action October 18th 1918, aged 25. Husband of Mrs. Taylor, 38 Hudson Street, North Shields.

Shields Daily News 28 October 1918: News of Local Men. Pte. Jas. Taylor Killed. Mrs Taylor, 38 Hudson Street, has received word that her husband, Private James Taylor, M.G.C., was killed in action on October 18th. He was 25 years of age, and was 4th son of Mrs Thomas, 7 Walker Place, who lost a son in the war two years ago.

Shields Daily News, 29 October 1918, Taylor, James Killed in action in France, October 8th, beloved pal of Thomas Kennedy.

Sharon Taylor


2nd Lt. Jocelyn Murray Victor Buxton 6th Btn. Rifle Brigade (d.1st Jul 1916)

Jocelyn Buxton served with the 6th Btn Rifle Brigade attd 25th Coy Machine Gun Corps. He was the son of the late Sir T. F. Victor Buxton, 4th Bart. and Lady Buxton, of Warlies, Waltham Abbey, Essex. He was educated at Broadstairs and Marlborough and gained a History Exhibition at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Eric Henderson


Pte. Henry Weaver 60th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.21st Nov 1917)

My Grandfather, Frederick Weaver, saw his brother Henry, loose his life when he was hit by a shell, which decapitated him. He was buried at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt.

Keith Jones


Pte Mark Vincent Farrell 11th Squadron Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) (d.2nd Jul 1917)

Mark Farrell is my relative, he is buried in Templeux-Le-Guerard British Cemetary, St. Quentin in France.

Paul Bauress


Pte John Sparling MID 168th Coy Machine Gun Corps

John Sparling served with 168th Coy. Machine Gun Corps and was Mentioned in Despatches on the 17th of November 1917.

Alan Sparling


Lt. William Armel Yearwood 122nd Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Armel Yearwood left Barbados for England in order to enlist with the British Army in 1915. I have found his enlistment dated 29th July 1915. He was first sent to the Army Ordinance Corps as he had had experience in handling mules. He grew up on a sugar plantation in Barbados. He transferred to the 122nd Machine Gun Corps and made a Temp Lieutenant 1st November 1916.

He was invalided out on 21st July 1917 with Trench Fever. He only rejoined the regiment a year later on 4th July 1918. He was wounded in action on 24th September 1918. On this occasion a shell landed near him. He regained consciousness and thought he had lost his leg. Fortunately, only his boot was blown off by the blast. The gentlemen riding next to him died, as did both horses.

Victoria Brennan


Pte. Frederick Alexander Bond 50th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Frederick Alexander Bond, Private, Machine Gun Corps; Regimental No. 26085, listed on 11th December 1915 and was discharged on 29th March 1918. After his enlistment he was drafted to the Western Front in the following July. Whilst in this theatre of war he took part in the heavy fighting on the Somme and at Ypres, and in various other engagements. He was blown up and buried by a shell, but was fortunately rescued. Later, he was seriously wounded on the Somme and invalided home, and in March 1918 was discharged as unfit for further military duties. He holds the General Service and Victory Medals.

Machine Gun Corps Record Office: 26085 Pte, Bond F.A. 50/MCG late 3 E Surr. Trench Feet Sev Adm 10 Gen Hos Rouen 27th December 1916.

Frederick Alexander Bond died on 16th May 1970 at Hither Green Hospital.



L/Cpl. Harry Roberts MID 41st Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Harry Roberts was my grandfather. He joined up in August 1914, when he had just turned 18 and was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps from the 7th Rifle Brigade on 18th February 1916 where he remained until his discharge in April 1919. He was Mentioned in Dispatches on 24th December 1917 after Passchendaele. Immensely proud of him, although he passed away before my brother or I were born. His memory will live on.

Helen Roberts


Rflmn. Reginald Percy Barrell 21st Btn. att. 41st Machine Gun Corps. King's Royal Rifle Corps (d.26th March 1918)

Rifleman R P Barrell with his niece Hilda Clara

My great uncle, Reggie Barrell, was the youngest brother of my grandfather (my mother's father). He was a farm labourer and had 13 siblings. His mother Annie Elizabeth couldn't write so signed the birth certificate with an X. The family worked the land and lived in a hamlet in Baylham, then Nettlestead, in Suffolk. My grandfather eventually came to London and became a master butcher owning his own shop and Uncle Reggie came to visit and probably stayed with his brother in Camberwell when he joined the army, possibly going on to Aldershot, as my grandfather owned property near there.

Uncle Reggie and his regiment was posted to Italy and then sent back to France where he was killed at the Somme aged 22 years. He is laid to rest in the CWG St Hilaire Cemetery, Frevent, France. RIP dear uncle Reggie.

Rifleman R P Barrell in Platoon

CWG St Hilaire, Frevent

Carole Evans


Sgt. William Herbert Westall 61st Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.23rd March 1918)

William Westall was the son of William Thomas and Emma Westall of Keeper's Lodge, Selsdon Park, Croydon.

Pam Heath


L/Cpl. George Frederick Swales 217th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.23rd Sep 1917 )

George F Swales was my Grandfather. Sadly, he was killed before my mother was 3 years old, so she nor I, never knew him. He married my Grandmother in Sept 1914, and a few months later she gave birth to my mother in early December 1914, a few days before her own 18th birthday. Obviously this was a scandalous event in 1914, made worse by the fact that she was a washerwomen's daughter and he was the son of a cabinet maker and undertaker in a well established family undertakers business in Hull. Some class differences may have been at work but I do not know. I was always aware that my real Grandfather was killed in the war and my mother never knew him, but I was never aware of any of his family visiting us, perhaps strange considering that, although their son had been killed, he had left a child, their grandchild, my mother. I believe that they maybe did visit at first but perhaps became estranged when my Grandmother remarried in about 1922.

I feel strongly that his descendants, especially me as one of his grandsons, should make an effort to remember the ultimate sacrifice he made for King and Country. I am saddened that he has no grave and I cannot find out more about his death, which I know is listed as 23rd of Sept 1917. I believe he must therefore have been killed during the Battle of the Menin Road, called the Third Battle of Ypres, because that is where the 217th Coy of the MGC was at that time. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, I will remember him.

Graham Cook


Lt/Capt. David Tudor Jones MC 49th Btn. Machine Gun Corps

David Tudor Jones was born in Liverpool in 1889. He enlisted in August 1914 and served in the ranks of the Shropshire Yeomanry in Palestine in 1916-17. He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and was commissioned in 1917. He was awarded the MC whilst serving in the Ypres Salient in April 1918 with "C" Company, 49th Battalion and was later appointed 2 i/c of "B" Company. David served with this MGC battalion until 1919 when it was finally disbanded at Douai.

Between the wars (and after WW2) he worked for Courtaulds in Flint. In WW2 he was recalled and commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. David served on UK defences and then to RAF for work guarding airfields in South Wales and as draft conducting officer at sea. He died in 1961 in Flint.

Peter Duckers


Pte. Cecil Albert Hallums Machine Gun Corps

In July 1917 Private Cecil Albert Hallums was injured whilst taking part in an organised football match. He appears to have suffered from a gas attack on 27th May 1918 - during which he received gunshot wounds to his hands and left thigh - the place is illegible on his records. He suffered from Pulmonary TB which led to his life being considerably shortened.

David Hallums


Pte. C. Wilkes 24th (Tyneside Irish) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

C Wilks served with the Tyneside Irish and transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.



Pte. J. W. Chatt 24th (Tyneside Irish) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

J Chatt was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps



Pte. Thomas Reece MSM. 33rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather, Tommy Reece, was injured during WW1 and sent to Clifden for convalescence. He met my grandmother, Ida Clarke, who was working at the hospital at the time and they married in 1919. He earned the Meritorious Service Medal.

David Reece


Lt. Alvaro Druce Gomes 3rd Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

Alvaro Druce Gomes was commissioned into the 3rd Royal Berkshire Regiment on 6th May 1915 and was subsequently seconded to the 39th Machine Gun Corps in Grantham on 14th March 1916. While training at Grantham, he learned that there was an urgent requirement for a detachment to travel to Baghdad as part of a force being assembled to go to the immediate relief of General Townsend at Kut-al-Amarah. He later related:

"The 13th Division had been moved to Mesopotamia to strengthen the force being assembled for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Amara. The troops readied to fight their way up both banks of the river Tigris consisted of Royal Engineers, Gloucesters, Worcesters, Warwicks, South Staffords and the Machine Gun Unit, plus Artillery Units and Indian Cavalry and Infantry.

On the right bank of the river we advanced towards the enemy in open line formation, in slightly undulating country of sand, with the river on our right and flooded marshes about a mile away on our left. On the left bank we were entrenched with the original force, but no advance could be made as the enemy was far superior in numbers and guns. The relief force therefore decided to attack on the right bank so as to relieve the left bank and then a final attack would be made simultaneously by both forces.

Suddenly, as we were going over from one cover to another in sections, the enemy opened fire. They were entrenched about three to four hundred yards away. We were ordered to dig in and continued throughout the night in spite of flares. Our main body dug in too and we finally had a nest of trenches connected up. We next started digging out towards the enemy and it did not take us very long before we were within striking distance as it was easy digging in the sandy soil. Of course, we suffered fairly heavy casualties during this operation but we had gained valuable ground and realised that we could no longer advance in the open. We were eager to engage the enemy as General Townsend was invested since December 1915 and it was now about the end of March 1916.

In the meantime, our divisional heavy artillery was engaging the enemy’s German heavy guns and especially two long range guns which gave us a great deal of trouble. Our light artillery only came into play when we were about to attack. With the light artillery in position, and with our machine guns firing overhead, we provided good cover for our advancing troops.

The enemy attacked us as we were completing our advanced trenches and that night, after we had repulsed the enemy’s attack and with great loss to them, we were walking over the dead bodies of our comrades, about three deep in the front trench. We evacuated the dead and wounded as quickly as possible in case of another attack.

After a couple of days, we attacked but unfortunately our artillery had not destroyed the enemy’s machine guns. Our men were caught by their machine gun cross fire but we rallied, got into their trenches and captured most of the machine guns. Backed by the overhead fire from our own artillery and machine guns, our infantry inflicted very heavy loss on the enemy and gained a good deal of ground. We advanced fairly rapidly on the right bank of the river Tigris and captured the enemy’s position not far from Kut-al-Amarah; several counter attacks by the enemy were repulsed. However, luck was against us as floods impeded any further advance and the garrison capitulated on 29th April 1916, after all their supplies had finished.

In February 1917, we eventually captured Kut-al-Amarah after very intense fighting, with the Turks who were assisted by German troops. After we forced the Turks from the right bank of the river to the left bank at Kut-al-Amarah, they blew up their bridges. While we were making a pontoon bridge across the river, they repeatedly sent their planes over to bomb it, in order to cover their retreat. Their infantry made a very orderly retreat in spite of the terrific shelling and machine gun fire we were pouring into their ranks from across the river.

After we crossed the river, the Turks left a strong force to fight a rear guard action. The Turks sent General Townsend to Turkey for safe custody. The Turks are exceptionally good fighters, especially at close quarters, and were supported by very accurate German artillery.” During these operations, we had to wear our spine pads and helmets at all the times otherwise one went down with sunstroke. The temperature in the shade reached 120 degrees, and there was no ice until after the capture of Baghdad."

Mike Watkinson


Pte. Ernest Hilton 95th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Ernest Hilton was transferred into the Machine Gun Corps from the 5th Battalion, City of London Rifles, a Territorial regiment. He enlisted into the 5th battalion on 1st March 1915, agreeing at the same time to serve outside the United Kingdom. He transferred into the Machine Gun Corps on 26th July 1916, being posted to the BEF in France on 13th August that year. He joined the 95th Company, MGC on 21st August 1916 and remained in France until 11th October 1916, during which period the company saw action on the Somme as part of 95th Brigade, 5th Division. After a period at home, he was posted to the 224th Company MGC, BEF, France on 25th April 1917, remaining out there until 17th September 1917, during which period the company saw action around Arras as part of the 63rd (Naval) Division.

He spent the remainder of the war in Britain, being posted to 15th Company, MGC on 14th March 1918 and posted Category Bii on 29th August 1918. A short attachment to 421 Agricultural Company, Labour Corps, Warrington then followed (26th September to 27th November 1918) before he was posted to 6th Reserve Battalion, MGC on 22nd February 1919. After transfer to the Army Z Reserve on 5th April 1919, he was discharged from the MGC on 20th April 1921, under paragraph 392 (xvia) of King's Regulations "being surplus to military requirements having suffered impairment since entry into the service." He was later awarded a pension, backdated to 5th April 1919, for Neurasthenia (a common diagnosis for "shell shock"), attributable to his war service, with the "degree of disablement" being given as 50%. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Anthony Jordan


L/Cpl. James Thomas Harbridge MM. 183rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.3rd Dec 1917)

James Harbridge was born in Great Barrow, Cheshire, 1894, and died in 1917, aged 23. His military enlistment records were destroyed and the only surviving records found to date are his Military Medal award roll and record card, his soldier military effects record and the Commonwealth War Graves records. The information on these records vary in so much as some show he was a private and on others a lance corporal.

He was killed missing in action, serving with 183rd Machine Gun Corps in December 1917. His death is recorded on the Cambrai Memorial, Louveral, and the Great Barrow, Village War Memorial.

James was not married and the census records do not tell us what his occupation was prior to his enlistment. His parents and grandparents worked in the farming industry and perhaps James followed in their footsteps.

George Hall


Pte. Robert Ellis Hughes Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather, Robert Hughes, served from 28th November 1914 to 23rd July 1919. He saw action in the Gallipoli campaign and afterwards in the Palestinian Campaign. There is very little known about him as his war records were destroyed during the blitz WW2.

He was in the Machine Gun Corps during this time. My grandfather survived the war, but it has always been known or thought that he was gassed, he died on the 10th April 1927 age 33yrs.

William Jones


Pte. John Brayshaw Kay 15th (Civil Service Rifles) Btn. London Regiment

My grandfather, John Kay, was recruited into the Civil Service Rifles in 1916; he had been employed as a clerk in the Civil Service from 1915, aged 18.

He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, and was captured in March 1918. From the date given on the Red Cross POW record card - 22nd of March, it seems likey that he was captured during a gas attack in the St Quentin area. He awoke on board a train having been stripped of his ID. Two days later he arrived at Crossen-an-der-Oder POW camp in Eastern Germany (now Poland). He remained a POW until the end of the conflict.

When he returned home, he brought with him a small painting done by a fellow prisoner, a Frenchman named Etienne St Paul, showing the watchtower at Crossen camp. The painting remains in our family to the present day.

Crossen POW Camp Watchtower

Prisoners at Crossen POW Camp

Cathy Shepherd


Pte. Edward Boyle 97th Company Machine Gun Corps (d.28th June 1917)

My grandfather, Edward Boyle was born in Newcastle in 1897 and, at some time, moved to Richmond in Yorkshire. He worked on a farm. He was in France about two weeks after the war started. I don't know how as, even if he had been in the Territorial Army, he would have needed military training. For about the first year of the war he was in the Remounts Division of the Army Service Corps, acquiring and training horses. Perhaps, as it wasn't a combat role, he didn't need any army training. He may have been sent to France so early because of a need for men trained in handling horses. He was killed in action when his son, my father, was a few months old. His grave is in the Ramscappelle Road Military Cemetery near Nieuwpoort in Belgium.

Martin Boyle


Pte. William Dockery Machine Gun Corps (d.5th Oct 1917)

Private William Dockery is buried in the Balla Old Catholic Cemetery, Balla, Co. Mayo. His grave cannot be located and he is mentioned on a special memorial. He was formerly with the Royal Munster Fusiliers

s flynn


Sgt. John William Money MM. 64th Company Machine Gun Corps (d.31st July 1916)

John William Money was born in Burton-on-Trent in 1885. He was a professional soldier serving in the 2nd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers before transferring to the Machine Gun Corps. His wife and child were living in Corby, Northamptonshire during the First World War. He was wounded on 17th July 1916. He was transferred back to England but died in Regents Park Hospital, Southampton on 31st July 1916. The London Gazette no. 29719 (23rd August 1916) indicates he was awarded the Military Medal.

Paul Goult


Rfmn. Charles Ernest Cable 17th (Poplar and Stepney Rifles) Battalion London Regiment (d.22nd Apr 1917)

Ernest Charles Cable was one of four siblings who left Limehouse to fight in Flanders at the Somme, Ypres etc. He lived at 3 Eastfield Street. He was attached in 1916 to the 9th Company Machine Gun Corps and died in action at the 2nd Battle of the Scarp. He was the only one who died in the family, the others being unscathed in the Navy, one captured in 1918 and one wounded by Shrapnel.


L/Cpl. Thomas McDermott 11 Sqdn. Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) (d.1st Dec 1917)

Tommy McDermott served with the Machine Gun Corps Cavalry having transferred from the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. He died on 1st of December 1917 at the Battle of Cambrai, France. His body was never recovered, but he is mentioned on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval.

As part of the British Third Army, 11 Squadron fought with the Mhow Brigade of the 1st Indian Cavalry. An attack on 1st December 1917 by 11 Squadron to repel attacking German forces resulted in a total loss - 2 officers, 53 other ranks, 84 horses, and 4 guns (Vickers Machine Guns) were all lost.

Timothy Beer


Pte. Walter Stones Machine Gun Corps

Walter Stones signed up, following the death of his brother William Eccleston who was wounded at Gallipoli and later died aboard the Hospital Ship Devanha and was buried at sea. Walter was not called into service until 1918, he joined the Machine Gun Corps and was wounded within three days of going to the front, he was brought back to England aboard the Hospital ship St. Andrew.

Jacqueline Freegard


Pte. Albert Christopher Dennison Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers (d.1st July 1916)

Albert Dennison was my great grand uncle, his father Carson and brother Tom were both killed by the Black and Tans in 1921. Carson was a shopkeeper in Drunkerren, and it was here that both men were shot. Albert's mother died in 1919, and his younger sister Gladice also passed away at the age of four.

K Parkes


L/Cpl. William Brown 30th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.22nd Aug 1918)

William Brown is commemorated as a member of St Austell Baptist Church who died in WW1

Peter Bishop


Pte. Harold Thomas Richmond 57th Btn. Machine Gun Corps

Tom Richmond served with the 57th and 33th Battalions, Machine Gun Corps

Alan Cook


Sgt. Arthur Goodman Machine Gun Corps

Arthur Goodman, my grandfather, was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire on 2 Aug 1892 to his parents William Goodman and Alice (nee Lea). He had two older brothers, Fred and Frank and two younger sisters Alma and Gladys. Presumably life was quiet for him and his family and he worked as an assistant boot salesman while the family lived at 16 Clifford Street. As far as I understand it at the outbreak of war he joined the King's Shropshire Light Infantry but them went on to join the Machine Gun Corps.

My father (William Edward Goodman) wrote of him: "Dad was a native of Shrewsbury, where he had commenced work as an assistant in that branch of boot and shoe retailers, G & W Morton, for whom he worked throughout the whole of his working life, except for Army service during the First World War. My father's army service was with the Machine Gun Corps, rising to the rank of Sergeant Major. The M.G.C. appears to have been something of a suicide squad in that they were to the fore in major actions, or bearing the brunt of spirited offensives against our lines. Whilst a Sergeant he received the congratulations of Major General C.E. Pereira, CB,CMG, Commanding 2nd Division on his "Splendid leadership and example to those under him.""

After the war he married my grandmother, Lavinia Barfoot, and had two boys my father and his younger brother, Ronald Clive. He died in Maidstone on in 1958.

Gill Chesney-Green


L/Cpl. Joseph Llewellyn Hullah Machine Gun Corps (d.20th Oct 1917)

Joe Hullah was my great Grandmother's brother so I guess he would be my great great uncle. I understand he was initially with the DLI then joined the Machine Gun Corps. Joe was killed together with two pals who, I believe, were also from Consett on 20/10/1917 while setting up their machine gun prior to an advance. His body was never recovered and still remains over seas covered in mud. He is remembered on the Tyne cot memorial and Consett's memorial. I only know these limited facts due to reading letters sent home by his CO after his death.

In 1979 I left school and started work as an apprentice HGV fitter. A long time friend was also serving his time with me. One day during conversation I mentioned Uncle Joe and my mate realised he too was the same relation to Joe. What were the chances of that? Very big families in those days.

I do not have any photographs of Joe. As a result of my investigations I have found out that he too was a mechanic before the war and was married shortly before his death. My great grandmother often talked about him when I was a child. RIP Joe.

Arran Field


Pte. George Moir Donald Machine Gun Corps

George Donald was my grandfather who served in WW1 in the Machine Guns Corps. In 1918 he was badly injured in action, and as a result he was put in an Iron Lung Machine, but he was not expected to live. But with the care of his wife over a long period of time, he survived. He was a jute overseer for most of his working life, he died in 1965.

M. Donald


George Gaze Machine Gun Corps

George Gaze served with the MGC in 89th Brigade.

Michael Gaze


W. B. Young 119th Btn. Machine Gun Corps

My parents' house in Northern France has a chimney place in the attic with lots of different names of people engraved into it. Several of the engravings come from men serving in the 119th Machine Gun Corp. It would be really good to find the relatives of these men.

Heidi Ward


2nd Lt. William James Beaton 174th Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.24th Sept 1917)

William Beaton was the Assistant Librarian of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was killed in action during 3rd Battle of Ypres on 24th of September 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the memorial at Tyne Cot, and also on the Roll Of Honour at the British Library.

Syd Maclain


Sgt. Benjamin Gourlay 142nd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.18th May 1917)

Sargent Gourlay originally of the Seaforth Highlanders joined up in 1908. He died at Messines, killed by shell fire during a raid prior to the main action.

Gordon Gourlay


Pte. David Toomath North Irish Horse

David Toomath was born on 13 Apr 1898 in Belfast Ireland. He served with the British Forces during WWI, at first with the North Irish Horse and later in the Machine Gun Company. His regimental number was 2315, then 105374.

David married his sweetheart from Ireland, Ethel Maud Lyons on 13th of Dec 1923 in a Presbyterian Church located on Cowan Avenue in Toronto. The Church is now used by another denomination. The bride's parents were James and Margaret (nee Fitzsimons) Lyons. David and Ethel had one child together, a daughter, Margaret whom they called Marjorie. On records from the period, David gave his occupation as a jockey and horse trainer. David later accepted a position with U.S.L. Battery where he played an important roll in the development of the dry cell battery. He stayed with the firm for thirty-five years after which he retired and moved with his wife Ethel to California to live with their daughter Marjorie. David was a family favorite. Just about everyone in the family went to visit him at one time or another and all of them remember him fondly. David had brown hair and blue eyes. He died in California on 10 May 1980.

David Toomath



Charles Robert Wilson MC 88th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.24th May 1917)

Charles Wilson was born 10th June 1886 and was killed in action on the 24th of May 1917. He was the son of William Henry and Emily Charlotte Wilson, of Carrickmines House, Carrickmines, Co. Dublin. His brothers George and Arthur also fell.

s flynn


Pte. James Smith McLauchlan 44th MGC Machine Gun Corps (d.18th Aug 1916)

James McLauchlan served with the 10th Gordon Highlanders and 44th MGC. He was killed in action at the Battle of Pozieres in 1916, age 24. He was formerly a coal miner at Logan's Pit in Motherwell. He left all his worldly goods to his nephew and namesake, James Smith McLauchlan Blunn age 6. He was remembered in the Motherwell Times, on the 15th of September 1916 by his sister, Mrs Sophia Blunn and also remembered with honour on the Thiepval Memorial.

Janice Baird


Sgt. J. Dillon 21st Btn. Machine Gun Corps

I am not aware of this gentleman's story, however, I have been handed down his Victory Medal. I will continue to investigate his story.

Al McGrath


Pte. George Moir Donald Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather George Moir Donald fought with the machine gun corps in WW1. He left his wife and two young sons on 11th december 1915 to go and fight for his country. He was badly injured by an exploding gun/shell which lodged in his chest, he was put in an iron lung machine and was not expected to live. His wife travelled abroad on her own, to bring him home.

He was very ill for a long time, but my grandmother nursed him back to health. George was discharged from the machine gun corps due to his wounds on 1st October 1918. He suffered all his life with his wounds and the metal that was still inside his chest. He worked as a jute mill overseer in Dundee and died in 1965, aged 74 years.


Pte. Thomas Stenson Machine Gun Corps

Tom Stenson served in the military after enlisting in 1915 when he was 23 years old. He enlisted on 11th December 1915 in Buxton, Derbyshire into the 'Sherwood Foresters' Pte 33807. This followed the death of his older brother John who was killed at the Battle of Loos on 29th September 1915. Tom later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps as Pte 159633.

Due to the difficulty of researching the MGC, apart from knowing that Tom served abroad which is stated on the SWB list we do not know as yet where he served. Tom suffered from 'Sickness' his war possibly over on 10th Aug 1917 and was finally discharged on 22nd March 1919, this information is from the SWB list and Tom's badge number was 271506.

Tom went onto marry after the war in 1923 having a son in 1931. He was employed by the Co-operative Society as a Bread delivery man. Tragically he ended his own life in 1962 just after his 70th Birthday. We will never know the suffering he went through during the war or how much this affected his life afterwards.

Medal Card

Val Stenson


Pte. Earl Eustace Light 3rd Btn. Kings Liverpool Regiment

My father, Earl Light, was born in Liverpool in 1896. He joined the Liverpool Regiment in 1914 in the 3rd Battalion and his number was 3/31924. We believe that the 3rd Battalion was a reserve battalion that never left the UK.

Sometime later he was in the Machine Gun Corps and his number was 3407. We don't know how or when he was transferred to the MGC, but as his service number was 3407, which was one of the earlier numbers of the MGC, we think he may have joined the MGC in late 1916 when the MGC was formed.

He was wounded twice and was sent to Alnwick Camp and is noted in the Liverpool Echo wounded list on 7th September 1917 and when fit again he was returned to the Front. It is thought that he was wounded in the 3rd Battle for Ypres between 30th July and 3rd August 1917.

He was discharged on 5th March 1919 with the report that he was fit and could be called up again if required. He died in February 1972

Pte.Earl Light on his1st Birthday. the photo has the message somewhere in France

Pte.Earl Light front right on stewards duty at Rugeley Camp

Philip Light


2nd Lt. Trevor Edgar Ellis MID 40th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.10th Apr 1918)

Trevor Ellis was born in Bethesda, Caernarfonshire on 19th November 1897, the third son of solicitor William Twigge and Jane Ellis (née Evans) of 15 Ogwen Terrace, Bethesda, Caernarfonshire. His mother came from Talysarn, Caernarfonshire. In 1896, his father dissolved his partnership in Bethesda and later opened a new practice in Trefriw in the Conwy valley and the family had moved to live at Mill Bank, Trefriw by 1911. Trevor’s siblings were: David Ithel (b. Bethesda, 1894), William Tudor (b. Bethesda, 1896), Harri Glyn (b. Bethesda, 1903), Keith Vaughan (b. Bethesda, 1904), Ilid Mary (b. Bethesda, 1907) and Arthur Cecil (b. Bethesda, 1909).

Educated at the County School, Llanrwst, Trevor was employed by the London City & Midland Bank Ltd in High Street, Wrexham and lodged at Heath House, 77 Ruabon Road.

Aged 18 years and 1 month, he registered for military service under the Derby Scheme on 7th of December 1915 and transferred to the Reserve before being mobilised on 12 May 1916 and posted the 21st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (No. 43596) at Kinmel Bay two days later. In his December medical he was assessed as being only 5 feet 1 1/2 inches tall, but by May he was 5 feet 3 inches, weighing 105 lbs, he only qualified for military service under the revised regulations which accepted men who were under 5 feet 3 inches in height. Despite this his physical development was described as ‘Good’. On 1st September he transferred to B Company, 64th Training Reserve Battalion (No. 28531) at Kinmel Camp and was deemed suitable for a commission. On his application for a commission, he expressed a preference for the Machine Gun Corps, stating that he was able to ride both a horse and a motorcycle. He was sent to the MGC Officers’ Cadet Battalion at Bisley on 26th September (interestingly, his medical form at this time shows him as being 5 feet 41/2 inches tall and weighing 120 lbs) from where he was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant and posted to the MGC Infantry Training Group at Clipstone Camp, Mansfield on 26 January 1917 (London Gazette, 10 February 1917, p1440).

He embarked at Folkestone on 31st of March 1917 and joined 121st Company MGC (serving in the 121st Brigade, 40th Division) in France two weeks later. He was admitted to hospital three days later and remained there until the end of the month when he returned to duty. His service papers show that he was sent home on a 14-day leave in September. He appears to have taken part in all the actions of his unit during the summer of 1917 including the advance after the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. On 24th of November he was wounded in the fierce fighting at Bourlon Wood but was able to remain on duty.

In January 1918 he attended a one week course with the Royal Flying Corps somewhere in France and had a three-week home leave in February/March, rejoining his company which had been renamed C Company and merged with the 119th, 120th and 244th Companies to form the 40th Battalion, MGC at Enniskillen Camp, Ervillers. In early March the battalion was undergoing training and a rest period at Blaireville (including a rugby match against the 13th E Surreys, which they won 32–0, and 18th Welsh which they drew 3–3).

On 21st of March, the Germans opened a heavy bombardment on the whole of the front, the opening round of the ‘Kaiser’s Battle’ and 40MGC were heavily involved in the action from the start and sustained heavy casualties – four guns holding the sunken road west of Croiselles ‘fought to the last man and the last round but were finally destroyed’.

By 1st of April the battalion had been relieved and was in reserve at Sailly-sur-Lys and the following day moved to Croix du Bac where they were placed under orders to be ready to move at 30 minutes' notice. On 9th April 40MGC was located in the area east of the River Lys when, at 0415 hours, the Germans opened with a short but heavy bombardment and attacked a Portuguese division and a British brigade. The Portuguese gave way, but the British units held their forward positions until 0730 hours when they began to withdraw from the right flank. Two hours later, the Germans broke through the front line. Three machine gun posts on the right flank of the forward British position were surrounded and only one was able to withdraw, rescued by Corporal Wallace of the 40MGC. Fighting continued throughout the morning and by noon the Germans had penetrated as far as just south of Croix Blanche and were advancing in strength towards Barlette Farm. Lieutenant Bain and 2nd Lieutenant Trevor Ellis, with the Vickers gun rescued by Corporal Wallace and fifty infantry, ‘put up a most determined stand but finally fresh parties of the enemy came into action against them with Light Machine Guns from the rear’ and orders were received from brigade for them to fall back to York Post.

That evening, the Germans managed to cross the River Lys near Bac St Maur (G18) and pushed the British back beyond Croix du Bac (G6) and the troops concentrated at Le Petit Mortier (G4). Early the following morning the Germans bombarded the Vickers and Lewis gun positions that were guarding the Sailly Bridge (G16) and, under heavy supporting machine-gun fire, managed to get across the bridge at 1000 hours. The battalion war diary records that the gun crews holding this position were destroyed in this attack. Among those who died at the river crossing was Trevor Ellis. As the Germans advanced and drove back the defending British forces is body was not recovered. The CO of 40MGC noted in his report of this action:

`All ranks displayed great courage and endurance under particularly difficuly conditions. The losses of men and guns are heavy. Heavy casualties were however inflicted on the enemy. … I desire to bring to notice the names of … 2nd Lieut. T.E. Ellis whose gallantry and leadership were beyond all praise.'

As Trevor Ellis had been killed in the action, no gallantry award could be awarded to him (other than the Victoria Cross) and consequently he was given a posthumous Mention in Dispatches.

The telegram informing his family of Trevor’s death was sent to his father. It would have come immediately after his receipt of another informing him that his eldest son, Major David Ithel Ellis, MC, 285th Brigade, RFA, had been killed on 9th April in the same battle. Trevor Ellis is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing in Belgium (his brother’s name is on the same memorial). He is also remembered on the Trefriw War Memorial and the North Wales Heroes Memorial. He was awarded the British War Medal, the Allied Victory Medal and a Mentioned in Dispatches oak leaf cluster.

The citation for his brother’s Military Cross reads: `For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when under an intense and accurate hostile bombardment of his battery. He worked incessantly throughout the night in order to keep his guns in action, by his splendid personal example and devotion keeping up the spirits of his men under circumstances of an exceptionally trying nature. On several occasions he has been the life and soul of his battery under the heaviest shell fire, restoring confidence and cheerfulness at a time when they were most difficult to maintain.

Their younger brother, 2nd Lt William Tudor Ellis, 17th (Service) Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (2nd North Wales Pals), lost an arm during the war. Their father was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 5th (Flintshire) Battalion, RWF in 1915 and ended the war as a captain in the 324th Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps at Dyffryn Aled, Llansannan.

W Alister Williams


Pte. George Griffiths 286th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.6th Nov 1918)

George Griffiths died of influenza, aged 25. Son of William and Mary Griffiths; husband of Elizabeth Griffiths, of Burnley, Lancashire. He is commemorated on the Karachi 1914-1918 Memorial in Karachi, Pakistan.

S Flynn


Cpl. Herbert Noton Brewer 43rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Herbert Brewer is the eldest brother of 9 yrs of my father. He was born in Hull in 1892 I knew he had been gassed and that he was a baker pre-war in Ferryhill, Durham and a chauffeur post war probably in Hull. He died in Hull in the spring of 1946 aged 56, when I was 12, I cant remember him but met his son Christopher I have a photo of him pre-war with his horse and van working for Rudd & Co.

Delphine McDonnell


2nd Lt. Samuel Brown McQueen Machine Gun Corps

Sam McQueen was my grandfather. He joined the Inns of Court Officer Training Corp, then in 1916, on commissioning went to the Machine Gun School at Belton Park to complete his phase 2 training.

In 1917 he was posted to France where he served to the end of the War. After the armistice he followed his unit to the cavalry barracks at Duren, in Germany, from there he was discharged. Sam was a noted athlete, playing rugby, hockey and cricket for the army. After the war he became Waterlo's first rugby international playing for Scotland.

Chris Hallam


2nd Lt. George William Symes MC. 69th Company Machine Gun Corps

George Symes was awarded the Military Cross and later the bar. Citation details: "69th Machine Gun Company - 2nd Lieut. George William Symes. During the attack on Le Sars on 7th of October 1916 this officer advanced along a communication trench and single-handed captured 20(twenty) Germans. After taking off the equipment of the prisoners he sent them back to our lines, while himself remaining alone to guard the trench. This officer also handled the guns with marked ability and has frequently made bold and valuable reconnaissances. Throughout the operation at Le Sars this officer has done work which only his great powers of physical endurance could have sustained. His coolness, judgement and courage have been of the utmost value to the Brigade." Lt Colonel, A A & 0 M G 23rd Division 69th Company, Machine Gun Corps.

"2nd Lieut. (temp. Lieut) George William Symes, M.C. Has carried out his duties with unfailing courage, ability and cheerfulness since February 1916, showing great gallantry at all the actions in which the Brigade had taken part. Throughout one battle he commanded his section with conspicuous ability. Meeting suddenly a hostile party when alone with his servant, he went straight at them, killing two with his revolver, and wounding and scattering the remainder who were afterwards captured. He again commanded his section with conspicuous success and gallantry in a subsequent Battle. Awarded the Bar to Military Cross, January 1918." March 1918, Brigadier General, Commanding 69th Infantry Brigade.

Anne Young


Pte. James Owen MM. 12th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

On the first of July 1916 Private James Owen of the 12th machine gun company, 4th division was awarded a military medal for his actions that day it was awarded for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on 1st July 1916 between Beaumont Hamel and Serre.

Andrew Bond


Pte. Cyril Howard Nicholson CdG. 25th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.12th Oct 1918)

Cyril H. Nicholson is buried in Terlincthun Cemetery, Wimille, France. He died in hospital at Charleville after being taken prisoner on 9th April 1918. We only have a couple of letters from friends to his family, his tiny diary of imprisonment and a framed piece of Croix de Guerre ribbon (Belgian). There is a story that he met his brother Reginald Willam Nicholson on the battlefield. This must have been very emotional as Reginald had emigrated to Australia in 1905/6. He enlisted at St. Kilda on 17th August 1914, Number 940, Australian Imperial Force, 2FAB. I do not know what his progress to France/Belgium was, except that he sailed on HMS Shropshire. Reginald survived to return to his parents' home in Tarbock Road, Huyton, and remained single, dying at his cousin's house in October 1960, age 73. He was a very lovely man, a great uncle and I'm sure Cyril was the same, if only we had had the chance to know him.

Carolyn Jones


2nd Lt. Reginald Buckley 217th Company Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather, Reginald Buckley enlisted in the 21st Service Battalion, Royal Fusilers as a private on 13th July 1915, until being granted a commission in the Machine Gun Corps on 25th September 1916. On the 27th of May 1916 he joined No. 10 Officer Cadet Battalion at Gailes He was posted to the MGC on the 13th of October 1916. On the 1st of July 1917 he was wounded in action, but on the 8th of July 1917 he rejoined his Company. On the 17th of August 1917 he was again wounded in action, this time more seriously as he was taken to hospital and on the 27th of September 1917 arrived in England for further treatment. On the 3rd of November 1917 he was retired as permanently unfit for further military service.

Peter Buckley


Lt. Harold Richard Taylor attd. 77th Coy. Machine Gun Corps Surrey Yeomanry (Queen Mary's Regiment) (d.17th March 1917)

Harold Taylor died on the 17th of March 1917, aged 27 and is buried in the Sarigol Military Cemetery in Kriston, Greece. He was the son of Elizabeth Alice and the late Theophilus Taylor of Roslin Villa, Richmond Rd., Taunton

s flynn


Pte. Ellis Beamer 229th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.18th Nov 1917)

Ellis Beamer died of wounds on 18th November 1917, aged 22. He is buried in the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt. He was the son of James Ellis Beamer of 14 Roebuck Street, Burnley.

s flynn


Pte. Laurence McCarthy 49th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.16th Oct 1918)

Laurence McCarthy died in hospital in France from wounds received in battle on the 16th October 1918. His brother died from illness in a German prisoner of war camp on the 25 of August 1918.

John Hornibrook


Pte. John William Unsworth Machine Gun Corps

I know very little about my grandfather, John Unsworth. As far as I know he died from gas poisoning. He died after the war age 26 on the 29th April 1920. He is buried in Plumpstead Cemeter. I now live in Australia and have only discovered these details since my mother died and information from CWGC I have been back to the UK many times but have never visited the grave as I was unaware of its location. Now I know I hope to visit the grave this year 2015.

If anyone has any more information I can be contacted by below.

Nick Beard


Pte. David Stevenson Sword 50th Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.14th July 1917)

I have just started to research my Great Uncle, David S Sword killed 14/07/1917 as a member of the 50th Bn Machine Gun Corps. I am a little confused as you have listed the 50th Bn being formed in March 1918, yet David S Sword was killed in July 1917 as a member of the 50th Bn. I am unsure what GRU'd means in the Graves Report.

Editor's Note: David Sword was serving with 50th Company MGC at the time of his death, the CWGC register is incorrectly transcribed. His colleague Pte F Meager is correctly identified as 50th Coy MGC, both are listed as 50/MGC on the Grave Registration Report. The abbreviation GRU'd indicates that his grave was located by a Graves Registration Unit, he does not show as being reburied, so it is likely the original grave marker from his burial had been destroyed.

Mike Sword


Pte. David Alexander 2nd Btn. King's Own Scottish Borderers

My Grandfather, David Alexander, was born in Camelon, Falkirk in 1895, he joined the KOSB in September 1914 and was sent to France on January 15th 1915. David was joined by his best mate from Camelon called Robert Baird. They fought together right up to the Battle of Falfemont Farm where sadly Robert was hit by a shell and killed. David was wounded but made it back to the starting off trench the 2nd KOSB lost 114 men that day.

David went back into the Battalion after his wound was healed and continued to see action right through to the 3rd Battle of Ypres where he was wounded again. On his return to fitness David was moved into the MGC around 1918 where he stayed until he came out in 1920.

David got married after leaving the army and he and his wife Annie had 4 sons. He found a job as a boilerman in the Tar works in Camelon and lived into his mid seventies.

David Alexander


Pte. H. Campbell 118th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather, H.Campbell no 22367 118th Machine Gun Corps was given a certificate which reads: "Records his appreciation of your devotion to duty in handling your gun's under heavy shellfire during the operation of 25th Sept 1917 near cheluvelt. Dated 12/10/17, signed. E Feeltham"

Bob Pitkethly


Pte. Nathan Williams 58 Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.21st March 1918)

I have a photo of Nathan Williams in civies, with what appears to be the Wiltshire Regimental Badge on his lapel. Is it possible that he was attached to the regiment? From his records 1914 he was a gunner MGC. In 1918 he was with 206th MGC and on the Pozieres Memorial he was with the 58th coy MGC.

Was it normal for men in civies to wear a badge to show he was in the Army?

Editor's Note: The Machine Gun Corps was not formed until 1916 so it is likley he was previously a Machine Gunner in the Wiltshire Regiment. If he was on leave he may well have worn his cap badge on his civies to avoid being mistaken for a civilian and being hassled to join up or been given the dreaded white feather. Though most men would wear uniform even when on leave.

Aubrey Williams


Charles Alexander Clark 278 Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Charles Alexander Clark was originally in the Dockers Battalion, but served with the 278th Coy Machine Gun Corps in 1918.

Susan Clark Lanson


Sgt Henry Hands Royal Warwickshire Regiment Machine Gun Corps

Henry Hands was born 1893 enlisted in the army at age 15 in 1908, he was serving in Malta when the Great War broke out. He fought with the regiment until he was wounded at the battle of the Somme 1916 - shrapnel wound to the mouth and jaw. He recuperated supplied with false teeth (they lasted him until his death 1985). He joined the MGC as a Sgt in 8 Battery. He spoke of the retreat to the Marne as fighting in a different direction. On over the top his best friend was wounded with a bullet in the foot, it was sticking out and if it was removed he could of walked, but they weren't allowed to stop to help the wounded, he never saw his friend again. He said the regiment lost 400 men in 20 minutes.

Wife, 1st born and family

Frank Hands


Cpl. Angus Mackay 1st/5th Btn. (Queens Edinburgh Rifles) Royal Scots (Lothian) Regiment (d.5th May 1917)

Angus Mackay died as a POW on 5th May 1917, aged 21. Buried in the Niederzwehren Cemetery in Germany, he was the son of Alexander and Isabella Mackay, of Scullomie, Tongue, Lairg, Sutherland.

This soldier’s diary is published in the book Somewhere in Blood Soaked France by Alasdair Sutherland. Six Mackay brothers fought in WW1. The family came from Scullomie, Scotland. George Mackay was awarded a DCM for valour. Sadly his brothers Angus (21 years), Donald (32 years) and Magnus Mackay (18 years) all died in WW1. Angus Mackay fought at Gallipoli, Ypres Salient and Le Somme. Out of the 5th Royal Scots Battalion of 800 fighting at Gallipoli, 100 survived. Angus was mortally wounded at Battle of Arras. Lest We Forget.

s flynn


Pte. Thomas Constable 25th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather Thomas Constable served in the 25th Coy MGC No 6899 and the Northamptonshire Regiment no 22205 for 4 years 4 months being discharged on 26th of Feb 1919. His overseas service is recorded as France. Records seem a little scarce.


Pte. Henry George Prince 24th Btn. London Regiment

According to his youngest brother, Frederick, Harry Prince joined the Territorial Force prior to World War One. Frederick describes seeing him wearing his red tunic, white piping and epaulets, blue trousers, pill box hat and highly polished buttons. As a volunteer with the TF Henry was one of the first to be called upon to go to France.

It is understood Henry was subjected to a gas attack at some time during the conflict and also served with the Machine Gun Corps. He survived the war.

Geoff Prince


Pte. William John Lathlan 34th Machine Gun Corps (d.11th Jan 1917)

My mum is the great niece of Private William John Lathane. She learned his story and that of her great aunt, his wife, from his sister-in-law, but her family were reluctant to talk about the war, understandably. All she has handed down to her was his dog tag, but she has always been interested in the family history, and we have found some information, any more would be great.

Marion Parry


Pte. Harry William Charles Parr 101st Coy Machine Gun Corps

Having looked through my Nans, Harry Parrs's daughters old papers I have tried to piece together his story. So far this is what I know from birth certificates, war office letters to his mum, and discharge papers.

Harry Parr was born 18th Feb 1899 at Edgeware road London to parents Henry Parr and Adelaide Parr formerly Gilbert.

He enlisted on the 19th Feb 1916 aged 17. He was a private in the Machine Gun Corps 1st Batallion Hamshire Regiment. I have a letter from his mother to the war office requesting him to be sent home due to being under age, dated 13th March 1917, a year after he had enlisted. There are several correspondence from the war office to say it's being dealt with but I have no evidence to say he returned.

On 24th April 1917 there is a letter to say that he has been admitted to 22 General Hospital at 'Gamuirs' (can't work out where this is due to incorrect spelling). He is suffering with trench foot. The next letter on 8th May 1918 from the war office writes that he has been admitted to 47 General Hospital in Le Tréport suffering from a Gun Shot wound to his thigh fracturing bone on the 27th April 1918. His discharge papers record 28th March 1919 a year later.

I have pictures of him and three others taken around that time. I also have a picture of a Chalet in Le Tréport. Last night I found a similar picture in someone's elses archives which show this to be a Y M C A Hostel for friends of the injured. Maybe someone in his family visited and sent this home. Harry thankfully must have returned, as he later fathered two girls, one being my Nan Patricia Parr.

If anyone has any bits of information to where Harry may have fought, or if anyone you knew were with him at the same time please get in touch.

Editor's Note:- Private Harry Parr's medal card shows that he was initially 24625 in the Hampshire Regiment and then Private 133204 in the Machine Gun Corps, 101st Company. The hospital (number 22 General Hospital) mentioned above was at Camiers. With reference to the injury received in April 1918, his Company were part of the 34th Division which was heavily engaged in the Battle of Lys, suffering heavy losses.

Steven Dolan


Pte. William Gawthorpe 34th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.21st Mar 1918)

William Gawthorpe

William Gawthorpe worked at Messrs. Archer, Ritchie and Co.'s Millfield Mill at Horbury Junction, and lived with his parents Paul and Ada at 2 New Street, Ossett. He enlisted in 1915, served with the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as Private 25613, then transferred to the 103rd Company (later part of 34th Battalion) of the Machine Gun Corps attached to 34th Division. His service record has not survived. His older brother George was reported missing at Poelcapelle during Passchendaele on 9th Oct 1917, and his brother Guy served and survived the war.

William was aged 23 when he was reported missing on 21st March 1918. The machine gunners were posted in strongpoints or "keeps" around the trenches, supporting 103rd Brigade (Tyneside Irish), beside the River Sensee at Croisilles. The great German spring offensive on that day used new so-called "stormtrooper" tactics. This broke through British lines and pushed back the British Army for many miles, resulting in large numbers of casualties and prisoners. He is commemorated on Bay 10 of the Arras Memorial, Calais.

Adrian Clayton


Pte. John Walker 33rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.20th June 1917)

John Walker served with the 6th Border Regiment. He was wounded in the lower legs on the 14th of August 1915 whilst in the Dardanelles He was wounded on the 17th of August 1915 with a shoulder wound, he was sent to Gallipoli. On the 31st of October he returned to Sulva Bay, John was appointed paid Lc/Cpl. at Sidi Bishr on the 4th of February 1916 and transferred to 33rd Machine Gun Coy on the 11th of March 1916 at Ballah He departed from Alexandria on H.T. Minnewaska on 28th of June 1916, arriving at Marseilles on the 8th of July. He was promoted to Corporal on the 29th of October 1916 and promoted to Lance Sergent in the field on the 2nd of December 1916. On the 27th of January 1917 he was appointed Acting Sergent and then returned to being a Lance Sergent on completion of estblishment on the 31st of March 1917. John was on a course at the Dist Gas School from the 1st to 4th of April 1917. he was reduced to the ranks on the 12th. He died on the 10th of June 1917 during the Battle of Messines and is remembered on the Menin Gate memorial.



Pte. John Robson 150th Company Machine Gun Corps (d.19th Sep 1916)

John Robson was born in 1882 at Sunnyside Farm, Great Whittington (later known as the Whiggs) the son of John Robson and Isabella (nee Jackson) the innkeeper of the Queen’s Head, Great Whittington, Northumberland. In 1911 John had been working on a farm for Elizabeth Blackburn at Dukesfield Hall near Hexham and was a farm worker when he had enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers. He later became a member of the 150th Company of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).

The Hexham Courant carried news of his death in hospital from wounds – mentioning his sister Mrs Elizabeth Burn of the Square in Humshaugh, Northumberland. This was Elizabeth Robson who had married Thomas Burn on New Year’s Eve at Corbridge 1903. Private John Robson, aged 35, was wounded and later died in hospital in France on September 19th 1916 and is buried in the St Sever Cemetery near Rouen. His name is recorded on the commemorative wooden plaque recently discovered in the Wesleyan Chapel at Great Whittington.

Phil Taylor


Pte. Tom Plested 56th Company Machine Gun Corps (d.5th July 1916)

Tom Plested was killed in action on 5th July 1916, 5 days after start of Somme offensive. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme France

Keith Wright


Pte. James Wilson 59th Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.4th Sept 1916)

My great-grandad, James Wilson, was killed at the Battle of Guillemont on the 4th of September 1916.

Stuart Wilson


Pte. George Winter 4th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.4th Nov 1918)

George Winter was killed in action, and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial in Calais.

S Flynn


CSM. Samuel Waring DCM. Machine Gun Corps

Samuel Waring was my grandfather's older brother. He joined the 11th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles on 3rd November 1915 as a Sergeant, then joined the Machine Gun Corps.

Richard Waring


Pte. William Martin 62nd Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.12th Sep 1918)

William Martin was the son of the late Thomas Martin and husband of Gertrude Fanny Martin, of 17 Crabtree Road, Hockley, Birmingham. He was killed in action aged 32, leaving behind his wife and 3 year old son, also named William. William Martin is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial in France.

S Flynn


Pte. Arthur Petchell 2nd Btn. Lincolnshire Regiment (d.10th Mar 1915)

Arthur Petchell served with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and the Machine Gun Corps. He was the son of Luke & Elizabeth Ann Petchell of Fen Road Holdbeach Lincs. Remembered with Honour at the Vis-En-Artois Memorial

Gill Cunnington


Pte. E. J. Blows MID. 11th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Private E J Blows 25422 was awarded the Croix De Guerre for gallant conduct on the 24th September 1917 where by his knowledge of the ground considerably assisted his company (11th Machine Gun Corps) in tactical operations by his knowledge of Shrewsbury Forest.

He was mentioned in despatches by the Major General Commanding the 39th Division

Robert Blows


Pte. Daniel Methuen French Balls 10th Battalion East Kent Regiment

Daniel Balls enlisted at Tottenham in 1915 at the age of 15 in the 10th Battalion, West Kent Regiment at Maidstone. On the 01/01/1916 he was transferred to The Machine Gun Corps at Grantham until 15/02/1917 when he was transferred to The Army Cyclist Corps at Chiseldon. On the 14/09/1917 he was transferred to The 2nd/12th Mt. Brigade at Chiseldon. By 02/01/1918 he was with The Leicestershire Cyclist Regiment at Tonbridge and by the 04/03/1918 was with The 67th Division Cyclist at Sutton. On the 25/05/1918 he was transferred to 3rd Battalion East Kent Regiment in Palestine.

He was then sent to France to join the 10th Battalion, East Kent Regiment as part of the 74th Yeomanry Division which took part in the Flanders Advance, 2nd Battle of The Somme, Battle of the Hindenberg Line, Battle of Ephey and The Advance to Artois although I have no knowledge if he took part in any of these actions.

He was gassed on the 03/11/1918 but survived his injuries. On the 30/12/1918 he was transferred to No.86 Labour Coy number, 5 Infantry Section with a new number 419356. He was demobilised at Nottingham on the 23/02/1919 where he was transferred to Section "B" Army Reserve.

Cliff Goodman


Able Sea. Benjamin Graham MiiD. Howe Btn. Royal Naval Division

Benjamin Graham was my grandfather. He served with the Royal Naval Division and died in 1969 when I was twelve without talking about the war. All I knew was three pictures of sailors on the wall.

Ben Graham, who was originally from Carlisle returned to England from working in Renfrew, Scotland, to join the Northumberland Fusiliers on 31st Aug 1914 but transferred a week later to RNVR Howe Battalion. Ben’s older brothers Robert and Thomas also joined Howe Battalion over the next six months and although I am not sure if Ben saw service on the western front beforehand, all the three brothers fought at Gallipoli where my Grandfather was “Mentioned in Despatches”. Both he and his brother Robert were invalided back to Blandford with dysentry but the third brother, Thomas was not so lucky as he was killed on the 6th June in the Dardanelles. Ben and Robert were both later sent to France but Robert died, I think, at Gravelle and was buried in Aubigny.

Ben saw out the war from May 1916 with Anson Battalion and the 188, 189 and 190 Machine gun corps. After the war he returned to Scotland to marry my Grandmother. They also survived the depression and later Ben was an ARP in WW2. I remember he stood up every night for the National Anthem when the TV finished for the night. This research has shown me what a remarkable life the quiet little man led.

Kenny Graham


L/Cpl. Frank Oakley MM. 58th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.2nd Aug 1917)

Frank Oakley was born in December 1880. He was a private in the West Yorkshire Regiment and was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps in or around February 1916. He is buried at Locre Hospice Cemetery, Belgium. He was awarded the MM before his death, but as yet, I can find no record of why he won this award. He died from gas poisoning either by Phosgene or Mustard gas? He was married and had eight children at the time of his death

Phil Oakley


Sgt. Albert Edward Slack 28th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.19th Jul 1916)

Albert Slack signed up in 1914 and at the time was engaged to be married to my gran, Jean McNair. He served with the Highland Light Infantry and the 28th Machine Gun Corps. Little is known of his unit's movements until July 1916 when during the Battle of Delville Wood, he is recorded as dying from wounds on 19th July but has no grave. His name exists only on the Thiepval Monument. My gran eventually married Albert's younger brother David, after the war.

John Slack


Sgt. Archibald Ernest Clark MM. 90th Coy. Machine Gun Corps

Archibald Clark was my grandfather who served with the Machine Gun Corps 90th Company. He was captured in March 1918 in battle and we have a wonderful hand written letter in pencil from his officer, describing how he was 'sorry to lose him as he was one in a thousand'. He hoped that he had been captured as a prisoner and it was indeed the case. We also have a letter from the King to my grandmother and the official missing telegram from the War Office, Grandad's Demobilisation account dated 19th March 1919 when he collected pay due of £81, 14s and 9d.

Penelope Roberts


Thomas Bethune Machine Gun Corps

Thomas Bethune was the twin brother of Pte. Douglas Bethune.


Ralph Whalley Machine Gun Corps (d.4th Apr 1918)

Ralph Whalley served with the Machine Gun Corps and was killed on 4th April 1918. I am keen to hear any information or see any photographs from this battle, his records show he was shot in the head, his name is on a memorial in Pozeiers cemetery any other information would be greatly appreciated .

Vena Shaw


Pte. Edward Bowler 1st Btn. Royal West Kent Regiment

My Grandfather Edward Bowler was a regular soldier before WW1 started. He was mobilised and fought at Mons, Hill 60, Vimy Ridge, Arras, etc He also went to Ireland after he was bayoneted in a trench in France, to fight the IRA. He met Mary his future wife in a hospital in the London area, when he had the bayonet wound. They had Frank & Rene Bowler after the war

From information on his Medal Card Private Edward Bowler served with the following units: 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment, Machine Gun Corps, Labour Corps, Lancashire Fusiliers. He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

Kevin Bowler


Sgt. Thomas Lancaster Machine Gun Corps

My Grandad Sgt Thomas Lancaster enlisted at Dover on 10th January 1911 and was first appointed to the 5th Dragoon Guards before serving with the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry). We believe he served throughout WW1 with the Machine Gun Corps and his discharged papers are dated 9th January 1923 and these state that he was discharged from 1st Kings Dragoon Guards. The discharge papers were signed by the officer i/c Cavalry records at Canterbury.

We are trying to trace his actual service record including where in France/Belgium he served and with which unit. Any assistance anyone could afford us would be most gratefully received.

My Grandfather went onto serve with the British Army during WW2 and although we cannot find out exactly where he served during this time (we believe Dover) he was involved in some form of weapons testing and bomb disposal. He lost the tops of his fingers on one hand as a result. Again any information you might be able to offer would be welcome.

Pauline Danson


A. L.Y. Goldney 6th London Coy. Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather A L Y Goldney joined the 6th London Machine Gun Corps in 1915 thats all I know, he survived the war and went on to serve in Mesopotamia (Iraq).

D M Yorke-Goldney


Pte. John Walker 33rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.10th Jun 1917)

John Walker enlisted with the 6th Battalion, Border Regiment on the 27th of August 1914 at Hennington. He embarked from Liverpool on 1st July 1915 for Gallipoli and landed at Suvla Bay. He was wounded in lower extremities in the Dandelles on the 14th August 1915. On the 17th August 1915 he was reported as having suffered a gun shot wound right shoulder and was transferred for rehab at Citadel, Cairo, Egypt. John was appointed Lance Corporal 3rd March 1916 at Sidi Bashr and transferred to 33rd Coy Machine Gun Corps, 33rd Brigade, 11th Division at Ballah, his new Service Number being 39238.

He departed to join the BEF onboard HMT Minnewaska from Alexandria on the 28th of June 1916 and disembarked at Marseilles on 8th of July 1916. He was promoted to Corporal on 28th October 1916 and paid Lance Sergeant from 2nd December 1916. He was promoted to Acting Sergeant on 27th January 1917 in the field. From the 1st to 4th of April 1917 he attended the Divisional Gas School Course. John was demoted to Private on 12th April 1917 due to drunkenness in the billet at 0845 hrs. He was killed in action on the 10th of June 1917.



Pte. John Henry Stevenson 70th Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.1st Jul 1916)

My Grandfather John Stevenson was lost at the Somme on the first day. His memorial is at Thiepval. He left behind a wife, Ethel and a daughter, Evelyn, my Mother, who was only 3.

Yvonne Sellers


Pte. Alfred Green 57th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.13th Dec 1917)

My great grandfather, Alfred Green, was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1886. He married Florrie White at age 19 and had two children, Alfred and Madge. The latter one, Madge, being my grand-mother. She was born in 1910. Her last memory of her father was when watching him putting on his puttees before leaving and being drafted to the Western front. The family had moved from Boston, Lincolnshire, to Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, during the first stages of the war. At that time my great grand-father was a railway employee.

He was enlisted in 1916 in Carrington and probably received training in Grantham Camp in machine gun drills. He was then drafted to France. He fought at the Battle of Messines. He survived the Belgium battles and was eventually withdrawn with the whole company from this part of the front in December 1917 and sent to France in the Cambrai area to relieve the 18th Machine Gun Company. He died of his wounds on the 13/12/1917 around Etricourt, Manancourt probably in a Casualty Clearing Station in Ytres and is buried at the Rocquigny-Equancourt War Cemetery. He was 28.

May his soul rest in peace.

Christophe Pourcines


Lt. David Stuart McGregor VC. 6th Btn. Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) (d.22nd Oct 1918)

Lieutenant David McGregor served with the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Regiment during WW1. When attached to the 29th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps he was killed in action on the 22nd October 1918, aged 23 and is buried in the Stasegem Communal Cemetery in Belgium. He was the son of David and Annie McGregor, of Ferragon, Craigs Rd., Corstorphine, Edinburgh.

An extract from The London Gazette, dated 13th December, 1918, records the following:-

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Hoogmolen on 22nd of October, 1918, when in command of a section of machine guns attached to the right flank platoon of the assaulting battalion. Immediately the troops advanced they were subjected to intense enfilade machine-gun fire from Hill 66 on the right flank. Lt. McGregor fearlessly went forward and located the enemy guns, and realised that it was impossible to get his guns carried forward either by pack or by hand without great delay, as the ground was absolutely bare and fire swept. Ordering his men to follow by a more covered route, he mounted the limber and galloped forward under intense fire for about 600 yards to cover. The driver, horses and limber were all hit, but Lt. McGregor succeeded in getting the guns into action, effectively engaging the enemy, subduing their fire, and enabling the advance to be resumed. With the utmost gallantry he continued to expose himself in order to direct and control the fire of his guns, until, about an hour later, he was killed. His great gallantry and supreme devotion to duty were the admiration of all ranks.

S Flynn


Lt. Hugh McDonald McKenzie VC, DCM, CdeG. Canadian Machine Gun Corps (d.30th Oct 1917)

Lieutenant Hugh McKenzie served with the Machine Gun Corps, Canadian Army during WW1. He died on the 30th October 1917, Age: 30 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre (France). Son of the late Mrs. Jane McDonald McKenzie, of 23, James St., Dundee, Scotland.

An extract from The London Gazette, No. 30523, dated 12th Feb., 1918, records the following:-

For most conspicuous bravery and leading when in charge of a section of four machine guns accompanying the infantry in an attack. Seeing that all the officers and most of the non-commissioned officers of an infantry company had become casualties, and that the men were hesitating before a nest of enemy machine guns, which were on commanding ground and causing them severe casualties, he handed over command of his guns to an N.C.O., rallied the infantry, organised an attack, and captured the strong point. Finding that the position was swept by machine-gun fire from a ' pill-box ' which dominated all the ground over which the troops were advancing, Lt. McKenzie made a reconnaissance and detailed flanking and frontal attacking parties which captured the 'pill-box', he himself being killed while leading the frontal attack. By his valour and leadership this gallant officer ensured the capture of these strong points and so saved the lives of many men and enabled the objectives to be attained.

S Flynn


Sgt. James Francis McDonald 19th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.9th Sep 1919)

James McDonald served with the 19th Battalion Machine Gun Corps during WW1 and was killed in action on the 9th September 1919. He is commemorated on Special Memorial B19 in Murmansk New British Cemetery in Russia. He is buried in Syvatnavolok Chyd. He lived at 11 Forest Street, Burnley, Lancashire

S Flynn


Pte. George Griffiths 286th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.25th Oct1918)

George Griffiths died of influenza 25th October 1918, aged 25. His name is commemorated on the Katachi 1914-18 Memorial in Karachi. He was the son of William and Mary Griffiths and husband of Elizabeth Griffiths, of Burnley, Lancashire.

s flynn


Cpl. Angus Mackay 1/5th Btn.(Queens Edinburgh Rifles) Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) (d.5th May 1917)

Angus Mackay served with the 1st/5th Battalion (Queens Edinburgh Rifles) Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) and then with the 88th Brigade Machine Gun Corp during WW1. He died on the 5th May 1917, aged 21. He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery in Germany. The cemetery was begun by the Germans in 1915 for the burial of prisoners of war who died at the local camp. He was the son of Alexander and Isabella Mackay, of Scullomie, Tongue, Lairg, Sutherland.

This soldiers diary is published in the book Somewhere in Blood Soaked France by Alasdair Sutherland.

S Flynn


Pte. Ellis Beamer 229th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.18th Nov 1917)

Ellis Beamer served with 229th Machine Gun Company, 232nd Brigade, 75th Division during WW1 and died of wounds on the 18th November 1917, aged 22. He is buried in the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt. He was the son of James Ellis Beamer, of 14, Roebuck St., Burnley.

S Flynn


Pte. William John Crawford Royal Irish Fusiliers

William J. Crawford died in the Abbey sanitarium in Belfast on 11th May 1920. He had served in the Royal Irish Fusiliers before going into the Machine Gun Corps. He is buried in the Belfast City Cemetery, just yards from his younger brother Samuel Crawford who served in the RIF. Samuel died on 30/10/1920 in the same sanitarium as William. William and Samuel were married to two sisters named Isabella and Maggie Stratton and had the same address,14 Downing Street in the Shankill area. William has no headstone and is remembered on the Screen Wall in the cemetery.

Wesley Phillips


Sgt. David Yewdall Machine Gun Corps

David Yewdall fought in France from the 9th Dec.1915 onwards. He first joined the Cheshire Regiment as a private, regimental number 25608. He later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps where he attained the rank of Sergeant, service number 61291.

Mark Dycher


Pte. Patrick Murphy 47th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.12th Sep 1918)

Patrick Murphy was executed for desertion 12/09/1918 and buried in Sandpits British Cemetery, Fouquereuil, France.

Patrick Murphy, a private in the 47th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, was just minutes away from his appointment with a firing squad. It was the morning of 12th September 1918. World War I had only a couple of grim months left in it. Murphy, a Dublin native, had thus far avoided German bullets. He was not going to be so lucky with the British ones.

Murphy had been sentenced to death by a British army courts martial for desertion. The word “desertion” was afforded a broad definition during the war to end all wars. It didn’t necessarily mean that the accused had physically fled the place of battle. It could mean that a soldier had, for whatever reason, failed to take part in an operation. Not infrequently, soldiers did not refuse. They were simply unable to do much of anything because of fear, fatigue and shell shock, known more commonly these days as post-traumatic stress disorder. The war to end all wars had indeed been a particularly stressful and traumatic conflict. For countless soldiers on both sides there was nothing post about their trauma and stress. It was all too concurrent.

Murphy’s trauma that September morning can only be imagined. As dawn broke, his eyes were covered. The last sounds he heard were prayers from a chaplain, crisply delivered orders and a volley of rifle shots. Murphy was the last of 26 Irish soldiers, all volunteers, executed by the British army during the four years of war. Most were shot for desertion.

s flynn


Pte. Walter Dossett 1/4th Btn. York and Lancaster Regiment (d.25th June 1918)

Walter Dossett was the son of William and Lily Dossett, of Sheffield. He was executed for desertion 25/06/1918, aged 22 and is buried in Hagle Dump Cemetery. His headstone bears inscription 'Until we meet again.' He served from 1916 in three different Machine Gun Companies, 143rd (part of 48 Division), 118th (part of 39 Division) and 63rd (part of 21 Division) until being transferred to 1/4th Battalion Yorks and Lancaster. Private Dossett went absent from his Battalion during the German Offensive in April 1918, the Courts Martial appears to have been on the 8th June 1918. On the 25th June the death sentence having been confirmed, Private Dossett was brought by ambulance to a rifle range near Vlamertinghe, he was bound in a chair, a blindfold applied and a piece of white paper pinned over his heart. The firing squad had been selected from machine gunners in 21st Division.

s flynn


Pte. George Brighton 25th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (d.3rd Nov 1918)

My Great Grandfather George Brighton joined the Machine Gun Corps in July 1918. He was sent for training in machine gunnery before being sent overseas. He would not have reached France until early October 1918, He was serving with the 25th Battalion - the machine gun element of the 25th Division. On the day of his death, the battalion was preparing for a major set-piece battle - the crossing of the river Sambre, being one of the final actions of the war. He died of his wounds, and was buried at Pommereuil. Another man in his unit, S A Bowden, No 171853 was killed on the same day and is buried a very short distance away at Landrecies. My guess is that they were both victims of shelling. My great grandfather probably made it back as far as Pommereuil where there was a Casualty Clearing Station, but died before he could be moved to a hospital. George died on the 3rd November 1918 aged 26yrs; He left a wife and two young daughters.

Steve Mason


Pte. Daniel Brophy Infantry Machine Gun Corps (d.4th Nov 1918)

Daniel Brophy was born in Dublin and served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and subsequently with the Machine Gun Corps. He was killed in action in November 1918.

s flynn


Pte. Reginald Brian Infantry Machine Gun Corps (d.16th April 1917)

Reginald Brian was born at St. Mary's, Dublin and enlisted in Norwood. He served with the Royal West Kent Regiment, and subsequently with the Machine Gun Corps Infantry. He was killed in action in April 1917.

s flynn


Pte. John Brennan Machine Gun Corps (d.9th Apr1917)

Born in Galway, John Brennan was the son of Michael Brennan, of 43, Great Western Square, Phibsborough, Dublin, He served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and subsequently with the Machine Gun Corps. He was killed in action in April 1917 aged 19. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in France.

s flynn


Pte. William Bradshaw Machine Gun Corps (d.3rd Dec 1917)

William Bradshaw was born in Dublin, and lived in Shercock, Co. Cavan .He enlisted in Dundalk and served initially with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He went on to serve with the Machine Gun Corps and was killed in action in December 1917.

s flynn


2nd Lt. Geoffrey Roskell Bible 101st Company Machine Gun Corps (d.1st Jul 1916)

Geoffrey Roskell Bible was the son of Henry Bible and Lucinda Bible, of 50 Grosvenor Rd., Rathmines, Co. Dublin. He enlisted in September 1914 with the 7th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers. and was gazetted to the 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, in November 1914.

He was killed in action at Battle of the Somme in July 1916 aged 23. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

s flynn


Pte. Douglas Bethune Infantry Machine Gun Corps (d.1st July 1916 )

Pte. Douglas Bethune was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bethune, of 12, Breffni Terrace, Sandycove, Co. Dublin. He served with the Machine Gun Corps and earlier with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed in action aged 20 in July 1916, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. His twin Brother Thomas also served.

s flynn


Sgt. Charles Roberts Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry)

Sgt. Roberts fought with the machine gun corps cavalry in Belgium. It broke his heart when his horse was mortally wounded. He was subsequently taken prisoner of war. While in the prison camp, a local lady kept him alive by smuggling scraps through the fence. He lived part of the time on boiled grass.

Brian L Jones


2nd Lt. Lewis Digby Mansell Beard Machine Gun Corps (d.19th Oct 1916)

2nd Lt. Lewis Beard served with the Machine Gun Corps infantry. He died in October 1916 and is buried in Kilmainham (St. James) Church of Ireland churchyard, Dublin City. He is commemorated on the Grangegorman Memorial, County Dublin, Ireland.

s flynn


Pte. Arthur Thomas Avison (Cavalry) Machine Gun Corps (d.15th Nov 1917)

Arthur Thomas Avison was born in Dublin, the son of George Charles and Annie Amelia Avison, of Shandon, St. John's Rd., Sandymount, Dublin. He lived in Hampden Street, London, N.W. and enlisted in St. Swithin's Lane, London, Middx. He was formerly 2512, Royal Bucks Hussars.

He died of wounds in Egypt age 33 and is buried in Gaza War Cemetery, Israel.

S Flynn


Lt. Henry McDonnell Anderson MC D Coy, 5th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers (d.30th May 1918)

Henry McDonnell Anderson was a native of Portaferry, Co. Down. He was the son of John and Mary Anderson, of 32, Dargle Rd., Drumcondra, Dublin. He was attached to the 63rd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps and died of wounds, received in an enemy air raid at Doullens age 25. and lies in Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt.

S Flynn


Pte. Wellington L Allen 44th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) (d.22nd Aug 1917)

Private Allen, son of Walter and Margaret Allen, of North Croft, Bowness-on-Solway, Carlisle, was born in St. Columbus, Dublin, and later enlisted there. Before joining the Machine Gun Corps he was a member of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 9th Battalion. He landed at le Havre in February 1916, and was killed in action aged 21 whilst in Flanders fighting The Battle of Passchendaele. Private Allen is buried at Dochy Farm New British Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

S Flynn


Pte. Bernard McGurk 125th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.6th Sep 1917)

Bernard McGurk, Private 68572, served with 125th Company, Machine Gun Corps and died on the 6th September 1917. He is remembered at St. Paul's Church and is buried at Aeroplane Cemetery. His medal card shows the award of the War and Victory Medals.

Bernard was born in Jarrow 1893, son of the late Patrick and Maria McGurk nee Timney of 45 Caledonian Road, Jarrow. In the 1911 census the family is living at that address with Maria(52) widow who had been married for 25 years, had 9 childen of whom 7 survived. Four are still single and living at home. Bernard(20) a shipbuilding clerk, Joseph(16) a boilermaker in shipping, Florence is 15, at home and Edmund(10) is at school. Maria's sister Eliza (56) is recorded as a visitor.

Vin Mullen


Richard James Hitchen 152 Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.16th May 1917)

Richard James Hitchen was my wifes grandfather, he was reported missing in action on 16th of May 1917. Her mother was born two months prior and he never saw her. We've original of notification by his CO. of his status on 20th May. Handwritten on A5 size paper in pencil.

Peter Wake


Pte. Bramley Dobson 12th Btn Machine Gun Corps. (d.5th Apr 1918)

Bramley Dobson died age 25 whilst serving with 12th Battalion Machine Gun Corps, he had formerly served in the West Yorks Regiment. He was the son of William and Annie Dobson of Womersley Doncaster and the husband of Annie Dobson (nee Mitchell) of 275 Albert Road Jarrow. Born in Womersley, he lived in Jarrow and enlisted at Pontefract.

Bramley is buried in Varennes Military Cemetery.

Vin Mullen


L/Cpl. F. Kay MM. 237 Coy. Machine Gun Corps

I bought the Military Medal belonging to 86331 L/Cpl F.Kay 237 Coy Machine Gun Corps, also his British War Medal, engraved: 86331 PTE F.Kay Machine Gun Corps.



Pte. Philip Crumbley 7th Coy. (Infantry) Machine Gun Corps (d.18th Jul 1917)

Philip Crumbley doed aged 28 whilst serving with 7th Coy. (Infantry) Machine Gun Corps, he formerly served in the ASC. He was born and enlisted in Jarrow. Son of William and Agnes Crumbley (nee Golden) of 20 Monkton Road Jarrow. On the 1911 census he is recorded as Philip Crumbley age 21, Grocer, is with his parents William and Agnes Crumbley and family at 20 Monkton Road, Jarrow.

Philip is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Vin Mullen


2nd Lt. Oscar Frank Moritz 99th Btn Machine Gun Corps (d.27th July 1916)

Sherborne School Book of Remembrance Oscar F Moritz

Oscar Frank Moritz was the fifth son of the late Hermann Moritz (of the London Stock Exchange) and Elisa Mathilda Moritz (nee Kronhelm) of West Bank, Broadlands Road, Highgate, London. Born at Edmonton, Middlesex, on 21 March 1885. He had two brothers: Arnold Moritz and Julius Hermann Moritz. He attended Cholmeley's Preparatory School in Highgate, and from 1898-1903 Sherborne School in Dorset. After leaving School he became a Barrister-at-Law (Middle Temple) in 1910.

Oscar Moritz enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) on 5th of September 1914 as a stretcher bearer and rapidly rose to be a Staff Sergeant. On 30 April 1915 commissioned to the Border Regiment, 10th Bn.; transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (99th) in January 1916. He served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from April 1916 and saw much fighting on Vimy Ridge. He was reported wounded and missing after heavy fighting at at Delville Wood on 27th July 1916 while trying to bring up reinforcements for his gun, having previously received a wound in the thigh. During the battle every officer in his section of the Machine Gun Corps was either killed or wounded. Moritz's body was found some seven weeks later by an old school friend who buried him. He is commemorated at Thiepval Memorial, on the Walkerburn War Memorial and in the Sherborne School Book of Remembrance.

Rachel Hassall


Pte. Frederick A. Caulfield 75th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.29th Aug 1916)

Frederick Caulfield's name is recorded on the Yalding War Memorial and he was the only son of William and Alice Maddocks who worked in Gravelly Ways and lived in Queen Street, Paddock Wood.

Michael Rusbridge


Pte. Frank Botto 18 Coy. Machine Gun Corps. (d.14th Oct 1916)

Frank Botto died on 14th October 1916 at the age of 21 whilst serving with the 18th Company Machine Gun Corps. He was the son of Mary McDonald (formerly Botto) of 57 Monkton Road Jarrow. Frank is buried in Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte and is commemorated on the Triptych in St. Paul's Church, Jarrow.

Vin Mullen


Pte. Charles Wheadon Machine Gun Corps

Aycliffe Village Local History Society


Lt. Henry Eggleton 56th MG Btn. Machine Gun Corps

Henry Eggleton Lieutenant served in the 56th Machine Gun Battalion, Machine Gun Corps part of the Divisional Troops in the 56th London Division (Territorial Force). He died age 23 on the 26th January 1921 and his grave is at Jarrow Cemetery. 9.352. Henry was Born in Newcastle, son of Henry James and Sarah Ellen Eggleton (nee Leonard)of Jarrow. His death is recorded on BMD Index: Deaths Quarter Jan - Mar 1921. Henry Eggleton age 22 S. Shields 10a 1084.

In the 1911 Census the family is living at 86 Bede Burn Road, Jarrow with Henry J. Eggleton age 48 Secretary & Commission Agent for Building Society born St. Nicholas, Durham and Sarah E. Eggleton his wife age 46 born Seaham Harbour. Their eldest daughter is Ellen E. Eggleton, age 21 a Typist & Shorthand writer and their son Henry Eggleton, age 13 were both born in Heaton, Newcastle. Their other daughter Winifred Eggleton, age 8 was born at Forest Hall, Northumberland.



Sjt. Robert Rymer MM. 150th Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.10th Apr 1918)

Robert Rymer was an apprentice pork butcher prior to the war. He joined the Yorkshire Regiment (4th or 5th Battn) with the service number 1800. He transferred to the 150th Machine Gun Company in 1916 and this was renamed 50th Battalion M.G.C. in 1917.

I was told by the son of a friend of Roberts who survived the war that he was apparently he was a bit of a boxer; during the war one man tried to goad some of the men into fighting him by throwing around pair of boxing gloves, until Bob picked them up and gave him, a 'good hiding'. There was also a rumor that he turned a machine gun on some German prisoners when he realised his younger brother (James) had been killed at the battle of the Somme in 10th July 1916. There is a line in one of his letters to his sister Meg, where he says the 'tarts' thought he was a bit of a hero when they saw his 'little bit of ribbon' which was obviously his M.M. ribbon.

His niece, who I spoke to in the early 80's, remembers going to see Robert off at Middlesbrough railway station on his last leave, she also remembers him singing a song called 'Moira my girl'. He was 24 years old when he was killed in action. His father never got over the loss of his two sons and died a short while afterwards.

Steve Robinson


Pte. W. Jones 51st Btn. Machine Gun Corps

My Grandfather W. Jones served with the 51st Machine Gun Battalion

Gary Jones


Ptr. Sydney G. Lewis VC. 106th Machine Gun Company Machine Gun Corps

A 12-year-old schoolboy who ran away to join the Army and found himself at the Somme has been declared the youngest authenticated combatant of The Great War. Pte Sidney Lewis enlisted in August 1915, and was fighting in the trenches of the Western Front by the following June. Sidney underwent six months of military training with his regiment before crossing the Channel. His exploits made the newspapers at the time, but the reports were considered inconclusive and until now were not corroborated by Army records, The Sunday Times reported.

The Imperial War Museum has now officially backed his claim after being shown a bundle of family papers including his birth certificate. The new evidence included the discovery that Sidney was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. Thousands of boys are believed to have lied about their age and signed up to fight in the First World War as waves of patriotic fervour swept the country. Richard van Emden, author of "Boy Soldiers of the Great War", who found the evidence that Sidney was awarded the medals, said the boy was deployed to France with the 106th Machine Gun Company and saw active service. Records at the National Archives dated January 10, 1920 show Sidney G Lewis was on the roll of individuals entitled to the Victory Medal. It listed his current rank as lance sergeant and previous rank as private. Mr van Emden said some boy soldiers were lured by the chances of adventure, while others thought the trenches could be no worse than factory work at home. He told the newspaper: "Some parents were happy to have one less mouth to feed and some explained to their sons how to puff up their chests to meet the qualifying standard."

Frank Bardell, 94, Sidney's brother-in-law, who lives in San Diego, said he could not explain why Sidney's mother had not intervened earlier. "I'm told he more or less ran away from home to enlist." Surviving relatives described him as a man who continued to ignore convention in later life. His son said he was a "forthright fellow" who "stood against authority".



Pte. Harry Barnett 4th Dragoons Guards

Harry Barnett enlisted Swansea 30 April 1913. 8091 Private 7th dragoon guards. He went to France with BEF, now he's with the 4th dragoons guard m.g.c 51358 dragoons of the line. I have a couple of pages of his experience of modern war fare. He told me a few things, he was gassed but put a sock in a puddle then held over mouth. His best friend was shot in the head by a sniper, he died right by his side. He once was out in no mans land, he pretended to be dead, and lay still for hours before creeping back to the line. His first action was a shell exploding in yard where horses and men were. He helped pick up pieces of horses and limbs of men. Harry had seen terrible things, men burned and laying dead.I n one village, the mayor was caught giving positions of troops to Germans, he was shot. His only war wound was a black toe nail, his horse stood on his big toe. Other things you do not hear about, the Germans left diseased women in towns and villages, so troops were warned not to touch. I can not tell all, it needs an expert to work out where he went, in one paragraph he mentions a coal box, I later found out it was a German shell. Harry survived the war and lived to 89. He only once mentioned firing his machine gun, he said the officer said looking through field glasses, "There's Gerry let them have it", and holding his hands up holding the gun he gestured firing. He gave the impression what a grim and awful waist of life, it all was and never felt comfortable talking about it. His medals look like they have not seen the light of day for years, his Mons star ribbon is still on the card.

Alan Barnett


Pte. Robert Flanagan 30th Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.7th Oct 1916)

My grandfather Robert Flanagan died on the 7th of October 1916, I presume he was involved in some sort of engagement. Try as I may I can find no record of such an engagement being mentioned anywhere. He is buried in Mikra British Cemetery, Kalamaria. I am adding this remit, so that someone may be able to resolve this and understand what happened to him.

Editors Note: From the following CWGC text regarding the Mikra Cemetery it is possible that he may have died at sea with a lot of shipping lost in the Mediterranean near Greece. So there may not be any battle to record. However the 10th Irish Division also was stationed in Salonika (now Thessalonika and he could have been killed in action with his unit serving in that Division, or wounded and died in one of the hospitals there: Mikra British Cemetery is situated in the Municipality of Kalamaria in the city of Thessaloniki just off Konstantinou Karamanlis Street between the army camp of Ntalipi (pronounced Dalipi) and the Kalamaria Greek Communal Cemetery. At the invitation of the Greek Prime Minister, M.Venizelos, Salonika (now Thessalonika) was occupied by three French Divisions and the 10th (Irish) Division from Gallipoli in October 1915. Other French and Commonwealth forces landed during the year and in the summer of 1916, they were joined by Russian and Italian troops. In August 1916, a Greek revolution broke out at Salonika, with the result that the Greek national army came into the war on the Allied side. The town was the base of the British Salonika Force and it contained, from time to time, eighteen general and stationary hospitals. Three of these hospitals were Canadian, although there were no other Canadian units in the force.

John Mckendry


Pte. Charles Harmer MM. Gloucestershire Regiment

My grandfather Charles Harmer told me many stories when I was far to young to appreciate or understand. I know he was in the Gloucestershire Regiment 4638 abnd Machine Gun Corps No 122385 Private. I know little more only that he was in first battle of Ypres. I would be pleased to hear from anyone who can tell me more.

Roger Brown


Pte. Christopher Gogarty Machine Gun Guards (d.30th March 1918)

Christopher Gogarty was the son of William Gogarty and Jane Gogarty (nee Gorey) of Brannockstown, County Meath, Ireland. He was born in December 1891 and worked as a farm labourer and a was member of the Boardsmill Irish National Volunteers. He heeded John Redmond's call to join the British Army and, in January 1915, joined the Irish Guards as Private 6551. He trained at Caterham (not Warley)and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, arriving in France 16 August 1915. He fought at the Battle of Loos and was wounded on the 27 September 1915.

After spending nearly a year at home recuperating from his wounds, he returned to the 2nd Battalion in France and continued to see action on the Somme, Ypres, Cambrai and around the Arras Sector. He transferred to the 4th Foot Guards Machine Gun Battalion (the Machine Gun Guards) in February 1918 and was given the service number 1878. Wounded in action during the German Spring Offensive he was evacuated to Doullens for medical treatment but succumbed to his wounds on the 30th March 1918. Christopher is buried in the Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No.1, grave reference: VI. F. 8. He is remembered with honour.

Simon Wilkinson


Pte. Charles Lyall Gardner 57th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.30th Sep 1918)

Charles Gardner is named on our war memorial and we are researching biographies of these men, he appears on the second part of a list of men found in the church which begins in December 1915.

Carol Harris


Pte. Walter Bollands 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment

Walter Bollands of Middlesbrough, enlisted on 14/09/1915, age 16 years & 9 months. He was posted to the 3/5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment was a Depot/training units formed in Northallerton and Scarborough, April and March 1915, transferred 08/02/1916 to 5th Yorkshire regiment.

He went to France, Embarking from Southampton with 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment to Rouen. On the 1st of Aug 1916 Aged 17, he saw action on the Somme in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette with the 5th Bat Yorkshire Reg. Between the 7th and 17th August 1916 the 5th Battalion moved from Kemmel to Millencourt, a village just West of Albert in the Somme. On the 11 Aug 1916, Walter joined 150th Machine Gun Corps Frances 50th (Northumbrian) Division, 150th (York & Durham) Brigade and was in action on the 16th Sep 1916 on the Somme in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th-22nd September) The following day, 17 Sep 1916 he recievd a Gun shot wound to the back, and was sent to Le Treport on the French coast which was the site for some significant hospital provision.

In the 1 Oct 1916 issue of the Green Howard Gazette, Walter is amongst those listed in Sept - Oct 1916. On the 5th Oct 1916 he was admitted to the Scottish National Red Cross Hospital, Cardonald, Glasgow. But on the 6 Oct 1916 there is a AFW 3016 Army form authorising a wounded man to return to duty and he was posted to 87 Territorial Forces Depot.

On the 16th of Nov 1916 He joined the Highland Light Infantry 2/5th (City of Glasgow) Battalion who were at Danbury, going on to the Curragh in January 1917, Dublin in August, and back to the Curragh in November 1917. On the 20th of Feb 1918 Walter was posted to 14th Battalion Highland Light Infantry (120th Brigade 40th Division) (202902) in France. On the 1st of Mar 1918 The battalion moved into the front line at Fleurbaix relieving 2/10th K.O.L.R.

On the 9th of Apr 1918, then aged 19, Walter;s Service record shows him as reported missing. Walter Bollands was taken Prisoner of War after the Battle of the Lys, when the Portugeuse line collapsed and was taken to a German POW camp April 1918.

Paul Bollands


Sjt. Albert Edward Chatfield Northumberland Fusiliers

Albert Edward Chatfield was born in the east end of London on 19 November 1890 to Richard Chatfield and Ellen Landenberger Chatfield. He was the fourth of nine known children, only four surviving to adulthood. The family story is that he left home at 12 or 13 to join the British Navy, giving a false age. By age 14 he had left the British Navy and joined the British Army (falsely) listing his birth year as 1884. Albert was in the British Army, from April 1905 to May 26, 1919. In 1911, Albert was serving in Rawalpindi, India (now Pakistan) with the lst Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. Rawalpindi was the headquarters of the British command in India and housed the largest garrison of British soldiers stationed there.

On 13 August 1914, Albert departed England with his regiment, landing at Le Havre several hours later. The regiment disembarked on the 14th and suffered their first casualties on the 23rd of August. A member of the Machine Gun Corps, Albert was wounded on 09 September 1914 in France at the 1st Battle of the Marne. He was strafed by machine gun fire and was sent to 5th Northern General Hospital in Leicester to recover. In October of 1914 it is believed that he continued his convalescence in the Morpeth area. He subsequently returned to action and was eventually discharged in May of 1919.

Pursuant to his Discharge papers he was part of the Northumberland Fusiliers, Machine Gun Corps. His army service included service in India, Turkey, and possibly Africa as well as serving in France in WWI. Albert earned the following medals: 1914 Star, British War Medal, British Victory Medal, Croix de Guerre. Regimental Numbers listed on his medal cards include 1170, 17247, and A-442775. In a letter from Staff Sergeant T. Whelton of the RASC dated May 1st, 1920, Constantinople, after Albert's discharge from the military, Staff Sergeant Whelton stated, "Sgt. Chatfield's work with me has been very satisfactory. He is willing, earnest & sober and has considerable experience of shipping."

Albert immigrated to Canada in July 1921 on the S.S. Vedic. He entered the port of Montreal and from there settled in Toronto. He became a police officer (possibly with the railway police) and eventually met his wife Greeta House in Michigan while investigating a case. They married in 1924, settling in Detroit. They had four children: a son, Nelson Chatfield (Greeta's son from a prior marriage, adopted by Albert), and three daughters, Ellen, Barbara and Dora. Albert played the banjo and mandolin. He was very hard-working, handy and maintained a large garden on family property in Hartland, Michigan. His garden was used to subsidize the family's food rations during WWII. He worked in the auto industry. Greeta died in 1944 and Albert finished raising his family as a single father. Albert died in 1958. At the time of death he was visiting his daughter, Dora Elizabeth Chatfield Leech who resided in Arizona. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan alongside his beloved wife, Greeta.

Carol Hermann


Joseph Henry Hubbard 176 Coy Machine Gun Corps

This is a letter my grandfather, Joseph Henry Hubbard of the 176 Coy MGC, wrote to the Southern Daily Echo(Southampton) in the 1970s. My Grandfather was in 3rd Ypres and the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. The Vickers Gun.

I have read with great interest your account of the history of the .303 Vickers machine gun, but I was so sorry that no mention was made of the men who manned this famous gun in the period 1916-18. I am thinking of the Machine Gun Corps (badge, crossed guns and crown), which was raised in late 1915 and reached a total of 165,000 men and suffered 62,049 casualties.

Again, I cannot quite agree where you write of the slow rattle of this gun;it fired at a rate of 600 rounds per minute and if I remember rightly, this could be accelerated my tightening the fuzee spring. Now this is not surely a slow rattle, but considered rapid fire. I believe I am correct in stating that the German heavy gun was somewhat slower. The stoppages were, of course, a nightmare to us, the wet belt being the cause of nearly all the trouble. I hope old comrades will bear me out.

J.H.Hubbard, late 176 Coy., MGC., BEF., France.

Douglas McLeod


Pte. Harry Mansfield 1st Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.17th Apr 1918)

Harry Mansfield enlisted in Hitchin as a private in the Bedfordshire Regiment. He was seconded to the 1st Company Infantry Machine Gun Corps, died aged 20 of wounds received during the German Spring Offensive, 17th April 1918, probably at Mount Kemmel, during the Battle of the Lys. He is buried at Lille Southern Cemetery.

Chris Allan


Sgt. John Geraghty 21st Battalion Hampshire Regiment (d.14th Dec 1919)

Although the war was over, there was active service still to be done and that often of a dangerous nature. Serjeant John Geraghty, "A" Coy, 21st Battalion was carrying out his duty by guarding Government stores on the harbour quay in Calais. He was shot through the head by one of his own soldiers. He never recovered consciousness and died as a result in hospital in France on December 14th, 1919. He was was 36 years of age and hadn't married. He was buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, France. He had only enlisted with the Hampshire Regiment on 9th August, 1919 and was previously a Corporal with the Machine Gun Corps, Regiment No. 43293. Born in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland 1883, he was my Great Granduncle.

Veronica Heavey


L/Cpl. Hugh Crawford MM. No.1 Squadron Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) (d.4th April 1918)

According to his sister, Mary, Hugh Crawford found "sitting on an office stool training to be a solicitor’s clerk far too frustrating". He left Ballybrakes and enlisted in Scotland. He was killed in April 1918. His parents received his Military Medal in September that year, however, why he was decorated has never been discovered by his family. In a letter to his parents his Commander said of Hugh `he died a gallant soldier and men of his character can ill be spared’.

S. Flynn


Pte George Ellis Robinson 18th Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment

My Grandfather was George Ellis Robinson. He enlisted in the 2nd Bradford pals and was an infantryman until 10th July 1916. His service then changed with the formation of the machine gun corps where he served with the 6th Btn until being demobbed on 5th May 1919.

On surviving the war he married his Bradford girlfriend Ethel Abrahams and they had one child who was my mother Betty. They moved to St Annes on sea in later life where my Grandfather died in 1970. Though very young when he died I do remember him and am so glad to have a living link with such a proud and dignified man.

Sean Hamer


Pte. William "Snowy" Hodson 52nd Battalion

My Grandad, William Hodson, was 16 years and 4 months when he enlisted. He served with the 52nd Battalion until wounded at Dernancourt on 5th April, 1918. After recovering, he joined the 4th Machine Gun Battalion. He was one of the few Australians who volunteered for the North Russian Relief Force, and served three months in North Russia with the 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He arrived home on the "Nestor" in 1920.

Dianne Hendey


Pte. Thomas Measey 101st Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.20th Jan 1917)

Thomas Measey was the son of Joseph Measey and Martha Gladdy, who resided at Oakley in Buckinghamshie. Joseph was a shopkeeper and landlord of The Royal Oak, Oakley which had been run by the Gladdy family. I believe that he was originally in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and joined up with his brothers Charles,Frank and George.

The Measey boys worked on local farms in Oakey and bred horses at The Royal Oak, Oakley. Thomas later joined the Machine Gun Corps with his brother Charles Henry. The Measey boys were all given a prayer book by the Vicar of Oakley before going to their regiments. Thomas was the first of the Measey boys to be killed in action, he died on the 20th January 1917 aged 33. Thomas is buried at the Cite Bonjean Military Cementary at Armentieres His name can be found on the war memorial and roll of honour at Oakley church and a photo of him is posted on the Buckinghamshire Remembers website.

My grandmother Mary Anne Govier [nee Measey] was the sister of Thomas and was deeply affected by her brother's loss. Mary Anne Measey was married to Henry Govier of Oakley and the Govier family lived in a large timber framed farmhouse on the Worminghall Road. In the kitchen over the mantleplace to the fire were the three death plaques of Thomas, Charles Henry and Frank although four of my great uncles had died in the 1st World War. George was not issued with a death plaque as he had died of his injuries in Switzerland. The medals, prayer books and photos of my four great uncles were given to me by my grandmother and will be passed down through my family.

There were no Measey boys from my great grandparents Joseph and Martha had no male children, but the Measey name survives in Buckinghamshire through Joseph's brothers. Some years ago I spoke about my great uncles at Oakley church on Armistice Day. Although I was not lucky enough to meet them they are still remembered in my family and I tried to find out as much as possible about them.

Stephen Govier


L/Sgt. Ernest William Andrews Machine Gun Corps

My Grandfather, Ernest William Andrews, was a Lance Sargent-Light horseman/Farrier who was a rough rider with the City of London Yeomanry 1914-1916. I am trying to find out information about him as I believe his serving records were destroyed in a fire. He was born 26th Feb 1896 and died 10th Feb 1955 and lived at Rose Cottage, Totteridge. His only son and my father, Robert Andrews, now 86 is living in Australia and would like to find out more details if somebody could help.

Graham Andrews


Cpl. Reginald Simpson Notts and Derby Regiment

Reginald Simpson served with the Sherwood Forresters and the Machine Gun Corps.

Janet Simpson


Pte. Alfred Bradley MM 54th Company Machine Gun Corps(Infantry) (d.6th June 1917)

Son of Thomas and Eva Emma Bradley. Buried in grave 1.C.13 in St Martin Calvaire British Cemetery, in the Pas De Calais area.

His brother James, served with Kings Own Scottish Borderers 1/5 Bn and was killed in Egypt on 04/08/1916. Their mother, my maternal Great Grandmother, Eva, had died in 1913, so was unaware of the loss of two sons. My Grandfather, Thomas Bradley, Alfred and James's brother was exempted from service due to their deaths. My mother, nee Beryl Bradley, their niece, was delighted to have visited Alfred' grave prior to her death. The Military Medal, won by Alfred, was given to one of his older sisters, Ada, but has not been located since.

Kevin O'Hara


Pte. Harvey William "Henry" Marshall 78th Company Machine Gun Corps (d.11th Dec 1918)

Harvey Marshall is listed on Roll of Honour in Holy Trinity Church, Bracknell. He was born in 1893 and had worked as a wagoner at a local farm before volunteering for service. He is nuried in Sofia War Cemetery

Andrew Radgick


Pte. Ernest Henry Hartley 103 Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.10th Apr 1917)

It has taken me ages to find out anything about Ernest Hartley, after much research, I have now found him. He was born in Tadcaster, Yorkshire in 1890. His Dad, Henry Hartley, born 1856. His Mother, Emma Bulmer, in 1864. He was formerly 37901 West Yorkshire Reg and died from his wounds in France and Flanders on the 10th of April 1917. I am now trying to find if he was trained at Belton House in Grantham, where the Machine corps were trained to use these guns to overcome the Germans, who had been using these weapons for year and were killing thousands of our soldiers.

Michael J Highfield


Pte. Richard Houghton 31st Battalion A Company Machine Gun Corps

Richard Houghton served with the 31st Battalion Machine Gun Corps

Mike LaLeune


L/Cpl John Stephen Roberts Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather, John Stephen Roberts, was born in Bermondsey, London 18th November 1898 He attested on the 8th August 1917 and was called forward on 16th February 1917 as Number 39541 He completed basic training in the 98th Training Reserve Battalion in Aldershot. Whilst in 98th TRB he was appointed Lance Corporal and passed his Army Certificate of Education 2nd class on. He was also on parade during 1917 for a visit by the King. He was transferred to the MGC and issued Number 132089. He was last in England on 29th March 1918. After this his pay book only shows location as 'Field'. Unfortunately I am unable to make out the names of those who signed his pay book during this time but at a guess they may include: LT G Thomas LT G Lindsay At the end of the war my grandfather served with the army of occupation near Cologne, Germany and was eventually demobbed on 14th November 1919. Unfortunately I have no details of the Company or Battalion he served in and am looking for information that may help identify his unit.

Niels Roberts


Pte. William James Thomas Clarke Machine Gun Corps

My grandfather, William Clarke enlisted on the 6th of November 1914. I believe he was with the Connaught Rangers and then transferred to MGC. He came under a mustard gas attack and became a chronic asthmatic as a result. He was transferred to Army Reserve on 24 July 1919.

Carol Mepsted


L/Cpl. John William "Jack" Potts 175th Machine Gun Corps (d.26th September 1917)

John William Potts was my great uncle. He was the dearly beloved son of John William and Agnes Mary Potts, 13 Post Office Street, Thornley. He was a bugler and a Vickers Machine gunner. He was born in Gladstone, Durham in 1898. He was killed at Polygon Woods, France near Ypres, on 26/09/1917 aged 19 years.

Mark Cranston


Cpl. Peter Highcock Machine Gun Corps (d.14th Nov 1918)

My granddad, Peter Highcock joined the Lancs Hussars but they were nearly wiped out. About 200 who survived then joined the Kings Liverpool, later he joined the MGC. I don't know the exact dates. He was attached to the Americans and while they were crossing a river he was shot by a sniper, the only casualty. The river was the Legrande Helpe. He was attached to 25th Battalion. He was shot on the 7/11/18 and died on the 14/11/18.

Peter Smith


Sgt Peter Gaskin Northumberland Fusiliers (d.17 Sep 1918)

Peter married Alice Murray 10th April 1910 and had a son 5 months later. Marriage cert shows his profession as Porter. He signed up for the Army in Dublin. Medal Index Card shows a Qualifying Date of 2/11/14 initially with Northumberland Fusiliers, then MGC. His daughter was born 13/3/1916, suggesting that Peter returned home in mid 1915. She married first in 1936. Father's profession is shown on the marriage certificate as Cabinet Maker. Possibly a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that he was 6 feet under?

Mark Robertson


Sgt. William John Mark MM. 9th Battalion Machine Gun Corps

William John Mark joined up in 1915 at the age of 17, a boy from Glasgow. He started in the Highland Light Infantry and served in France, Mesopotamia and stayed after the war in Germany. He was awarded the Military Medal for destroying a machine gun nest.

After the war he came out to Australia and eventually settled in Sydney where he had a farm. He served in the 2nd World War training cadets as a Warrant Officer. He died in the 1950's.

Amanda Joyce


Pte. Arthur George Pittman 25th Btn. Machine Gun Corps (d.13th Oct 1918)

Arthur Pittman was my Great Uncle, laid to rest in Highland Cemetary Le Cateau, France.

Mrs Diana Slack


Lt. Boston 31st MGC. Machine Gun Corps

I have a German 7.50cm m15 shell made by Berndorf dated 1915 ingraved Lieut. Boston 31 st Machine Gun Corps, Jiljilia, Balkans, Egypt 1916-17-18 Palestine. I would like to find out about Lieut Boston and the battle and was he from N. Ireland. I found shell in Bangor, Co. Down. Can anyone help?

Alan Gourley


Dvr. Walter Joseph Foulkes 8th Btn. Lancashire Fusiliers

Walter was born 16 Aug 1894 in Eccles as Walter Foulkes, son of Charles Edward Foulkes and Mary Jane Bennett. He grew up using the surname of his stepfather John Nolan, but enlisted as Walter Nolan in the 8th Lancashire Fusiliers in Salford, in June 1913. He tTransferred to the Machine Gun Corps, 125th Coy in 1916. He was demobilized in March 1919. He lived on as Walter Foulkes, but in his contacts with the Army (application for enlistment in the Army Reserves in 1921, his medals etc.) he always was Nolan, and his address that of his mother and stepfather.

Loes Buisman


Cpl. William Spear 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment

Bill Spear was my Grandfather. Born in Burnley in 1890. His Father, Richard Henry Spear was the secretary of the Burnley Miners Union. Richard Henry was born in Cornwall and as a boy travelled with his Father, a miner in Cornwall, to the coal mines of Lancashire. Grandad Bill worked in the coal mines from 14 or 15 years old. In 1910 he joined the East Lancs at Fulwood Barracks, Preston and was sent to South Africa on Garrison duty.

In 1914 he was sent back to Southampton and travelled with the 2nd Battalion to the Western Front. My father states that he did not return until 1920. Grandad became a founding member of the MGC, Machine Gun Corps.

In WW2 he lived in Coventry and the Luftwaffe bombed his house. In the 1960s he, with his wife Ada, moved to Australia to be with us. He had a fall from a carpark roof and after a long time in hospital failed to recover. In 2007 I had a holiday in Europe and stumbled upon Fulwood Barracks. The museum is not open on Fridays. I happened to arrive on a Friday. To my surprise they opened the museum when I said that Grandad joined the East Lancs at Fulwood Barracks in 1910. Just the memory of the day makes the hair on my neck stand. We were there on 27th or 28th of June,the Regimental Day is 1 July, Somme Day. One day I hope to return to attend a Regimental Somme Day. It was a day that changed my life and I shall be eternally grateful.

William David Spear


CQMS John Bright "Bright" Lockley 95th Machine Gun Company (d.5th April 1918)

John Bright Lockley enlisted in the Manchester Regiment in 1898. Private 5421, 2nd Battalion. He served in the Boer War and finished his 12 years of service in 1910.

He volunteered for service in August 1914, enlisting in the Manchester Regiment. Private 2771, 4th Battalion. He did a musketry course on machine guns and was tranferred to the 2nd Battalion and onto France.

The Machine Gun Company of the 2nd Battalion the Manchester Regiment became the 95th Machine Gun Company in the 95th Infantry Brigade where he served as Company Quarter Master Sergeant 7733.

Chris Lockley


Pte. Harry Ellis 10th (The Prince of Wales's Own Royal) Hussars

Harry Ellis was a pre-war regular soldier in the Cavalry of the Line, which in those days, fought on horseback. He landed in France with 10th (The Prince of Wales' Own Royal) Hussars on 6th Oct 1914 and received the 1914 Star, but did not receive the 'Mons' bar '5th Aug.-22nd Nov. 1914' awarded to those who were under fire in France or Belgium during that period, although that may have resulted from his not having put in a claim.

On the 1st of Mar 1916 Harry was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) in which he served as 51197 Private H Ellis until 2nd of May 1919 when he was transferred to the Army Reserve, Class B. He had completed 12 years service with the Colours.


Cpl. George Henry Quincey 101st Machine Gun Company Machine Gun Corps

My great grandfather, George Henry Quincey, was a British conscript from 1916 until 1920 and was a corporal in 101st Machine Gun Corps which joined 34th Division upon embarkation to France on 3rd January 1916. I don't know the complete details but I do know that he went AWOL during his time on the front line after hearing that his younger brother, Cyril Quincey, had arrived only a couple of miles away. The pair used contacts on and behind the front line to meet up at a French ale house and spent the night getting tanked up and enjoying each others company, for all they knew, this could have been the last time they ever saw each other (Fortunately this wasn't the case as they both lived well past the 2nd World War). Upon arrival back at his post, my great grandfather was temporarily demoted as punishment but due to the lack of experienced and compitent soldiers left in the company, this demotion wasn't to last long.

George H Quincey remained in 101st MGC until the end of the war but unfortunately saw close friends killed before him. One of these friends was a close companion from back home in Scunthorpe. My great grandfather took it upon himself to bring back his friend's belongings to the soldier's parents personally. This I am told, earned him a place in the family's heart until the day he died as they knew that their son had spent his last few moments with a man that he trusted and in a way, loved.

Chris Kelsey


Pte. John McIlhone Royal Scots Fusiliers

My Great Grandfather, John McIlhone, served in the Boer War and upon declaration of war with Germany in August 1914 joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He was stationed at Fort Matilda in Gourock prior to embarking for France.

He fought at the first major battle at Mons. He was then badly wounded at Neuve Chappelle on 17th of March 1915 spending 6 weeks at a Base Hopsital near Rouen. After this he was transfered to the Machine Gun Corps. He was wounded again in early 1916. In 1917 he received a 10 day pass home to Edinburgh and in March 1918 a 14 day pass. Upon returning to France in March 1918 he was wounded for the fourth time and duly hopsitalised. He survived the War and returned to Edinburgh.

John McIlhone


Pte. Thomas Boyle Machine Gun Corps.

I'm afraid I don't know much about the story of my Great Grandfather, Thomas Boyle's war experiences, apart from him leaving Ireland to enlist in 1914 due to family reasons. A situation which was highly contentious given the fact that the subsequent 1916 uprising was yet to happen. What I do know is that he enlisted in the Royal Irish Regiment on the 8th or 9th of August 1915, and was injured in Ypres whilst serving with the Left Wing Coy., Machine Gun Corps., on or about 26th of November 1917. A letter to his mother in Clonmel, Tipperary states the injury as 'gunshot wound, right side, mild'. It appears he had taken shrapnel to the face and in later photographs it is possible to see a disfigurement in his jaw.

The records are sketchy, but it seems he was to convalesce at a British hospital, maybe in the Oswestry area, as his dispersal record has a stamp from there. He left the army on the 9th of March 1919, when he was placed on the reserve list. Unfortunately, my Great Grandfather's wound would serve to trouble him after the war and he died quite prematurely in 1942, at the age of 44. From what I have been told, the cause of his death was said to have been related to shrapnel poisoning.

Gavin Rhys Jones


L/Cpl. William Musgrove 3rd Btn. Machine Gun Corps (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.

Colin Musgrove


Pte. James Trull Machine Gun Corps

I 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.

Jon Eeley


Qtr.Mstr.Sgt. Harry Vernon Cockbill 10th Btn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment (d.10th April 1918)

MGC Harry 2nd from left sitting

My Mum was adopted in 1933 by the Budgen family in Croydon, Surrey. We found her registry of birth as Margaret May Cockbill and with my mum's permission (she said we could look after her passing on as she was happy with her adopted family and had no wishes to look for her birth family). We found that her Grandfather Harry Vernon Cockbill died on April 10th 1918 from wounds. He's buried in Rue-Pettillion Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, Pas de Calais, France. He was the son of Edwin and Mary Anne Cockbill of Oxford. Husband of Rosa Loiusa Cockbill of Clapham, London. He also served in Egypt 1895 and in India 1908. He was in the 10th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment which joined the 57th Brigade. He was in the German Offensive in Flanders from the 9th April 1918.

He had 5 children Mary, Harry Reginald 1907, Alice Dorothy 1905, Rosa Helen and Rose Ellen 1904(twins) all were born in India. We won't ever forget him even though we never knew him.

Warwickshire Regiment at Budbrooke Barracks

HarryCockbill 2nd from left

Wendy Mortimer


J. Newcombe 32nd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (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.

Annette Kent


V G Langford 119 MG Coy. Machine Gun Corps

I 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

H Gould


Sgt. G H Parker 119th MC Coy Machine Gun Corps

I 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.

Heidi Gould


Cpl. J. W. Timms 119 MG Coy. Machine Gun Corps

I 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

Heidi Gould


Pte. James Henry Hartley 46th MG Coy. Machine Gun Corps (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.

Hartley's Service

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.

Andy's Account

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.

Roberta Bennett


Capt. George Archibald Rosser MID. 2nd Btn. Hampshire Regiment

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.

Anthony Conroy


2nd Lt. Leslie William Hawkins 6th Battalion Notts & Derby Regiment

Leslie 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.

Brian Neil


Sergeant Roland Cavendish "Bob" Gamble Machine Gun Corps

My 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.

Victoria Thompson


Pte. Joseph Brunton McNally MM. 149th MGC Machine Gun Company

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,
  • 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.
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

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

Tom Vart


Pte. George Francis Currie Machine Gun Corps

My 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.

Maureen Richardson


Pte. Joseph Mingham Machine Gun Corps

My 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'.

Joe Hathaway


Henry Ivor Heybyrne 33rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps

My Father, Henry Heybyrne served in WW1 in the 33rd Machine Gun Corps. His brother's also served.
  • 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
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.



L/Cpl. Frank Owers 161st Coy. Machine Gun Corps Infantry (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.

C Carter


Pte. Albert Weeden East Lancashire Regiment

Albert 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.

Chris Lordan


2nd Lt. Thomas Richmond Rowell Machine Gun Corps

My 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.

Roger Lewis


John Bertram Willson Kings Royal Rifle Corps

My 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.

Terry Willson


Pte. Thomas Bell Shepherd 3rd Btn. Northumberland Fusiliers

My 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.

Suzanne Parry


Pte. James Joesph Holmes 33rd Coy. Machine Gun Corps (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.

Roger Holmes


L/Cpl Francis John Hopkins 101st Machine Gun Corps

My 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

Henry John Hopkins


Pte Arthur Cyril Bloore South Nottinghamshire Hussars

I 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.

Andrew Bloore


Pte. Joseph Mingham Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment

I 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.

Joe Hathaway


Pte Joseph William Bower 183rd Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.3rd Dec 1917)

Bower, Joseph, William. Private, 5661, Killed in action on 3rd December 1917. Aged 24 years.

Remembered on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord on Panel 12 and 13.

The 19th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers records show that Pte Bower was previously in the 19th Btn with service number 19/1207. killed in action whilst serving on Attachment to the 183rd Coy, Machine Gun Corps, his new service number suggests that he had transferred.

Son of Adam and Matilda Bower, of 39, Avenue Rd, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland.

From the 19th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers Roll of Honour.

Dave Willis


Sgt Levi Henry Evans 95th Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.11th Nov 1917)

Evans, Levi, Henry. Serjeant, 30842, Killed in action on 11th November 1917. Aged 39 years.

Buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, in grave XXII. EE. 12.

The 19th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers records show that Sgt Evans was previously in the 19th Btn with service number 19/1221. killed in action whilst serving on Attachment to the Machine Gun Corps, his new service number suggests that he had transferred.

Husband of Ethel Evans, of 53, Regent St, Gateshead.

From the 19th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers Roll of Honour.

Dave Willis


Pte. Benjamin Milburn Stafford 149th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (d.20th Apr 1917)

Benjamin Stafford was a farmer from Hartlepool. He joined the 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment whilst he was living in Lincolnshire, declaring himself to be 5 years younger than he actually was, being unmarried with no children. He was separated from his wife and had a grown up daughter.

He was killed on the 20th of April 1917, with the 149th Machine Gun Coy of the 50th Division. He is commemorated on the war memorial at St Peter's Church, Elwick and on a special memorial at Wancourt Cemetery near Arras, where he is one of 76 casualties believed to be buried in one of the 829 graves of unidentified men. Most likley his remains were moved from the Signal Trench Cemetery, Heniniel and he may well lie in the grave of an unknown solider between two men of the 149th MGC also killed on the 20th. Presumably he was killed in the battle for Wancourt Tower which was taken by the 50th (Northumbrian) Division on the 13th April. The enemy 35th Division and 3rd Bavarian Division, made attacks on the hill over the following week.
The following is an extract from a letter to the men of the 50th Div from P.S. Wilkinson Major-General Commanding 50th Division on the 27th of April 1917:

"The 151st Infantry Brigade took Wancourt Tower on the night of 12/13th April, and we handed over a front line, one mile further East on the night 25/26th April. On April 14th the 151st Infantry Brigade, with the object of protecting the left flank of the Division on our right. All attacks failed, and the 151st Infantry Brigade, who advanced a considerable distance, were forced to withdraw.

The 149th Infantry Brigade then took over the line on the night of 14/15th April. From that night until 150th Infantry Brigade took over on the night of 21/22nd, the enemy made six attacks on the Tower, any one of which was successful. Of these attacks the 6th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers repulsed four, and the 5th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers one.

The 149th Infantry Brigade carried out two attacks on the Tower, both of which were successful. One attack was made by the 6th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers and one by the 7th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers. The 150th Infantry Brigade took over the line on the night of 21/22nd in preparation for a big attack by the whole of the Third Army on the 23rd April..

The total enemy casualties opposite the 50th Division therefore on April 23rd amounts to at least 2,200 as oppose to our 2,300 for the whole period of 14 days, including the fighting on April 23rd. The Divisions opposed to the 50th Division were the 35th Division and part of the 3rd Bavarian Division. Prisoners of the 141st, 61st, and 176th Infantry regiments of the 35th Division were captured during this period, and of the 17th and 18th Bavarian Infantry Regiments of the 3rd Bavarian Division. The net result of our fight have been that we have soundly beaten the 35th German Division, who fancied themselves, and judging by the numbers of Iron crosses worn by all ranks they must have fought well in previous battles.

The above record speaks for itself without any further commend. You have all done splendidly."

Captain Francis Buckley of the 50th Div. Wrote:

"About April 16, 1917, Lieut.-Col F Robinson of the 6th N.F. discovered the enemy approaching the ruined buildings on the Wancourt Tower Hill, and promptly ordered a platoon to attack them. This plan succeeded admirably, and the Tower and house were captured. The place was of vital importance to us as it commanded direct observation on all the roads leading to our part of the front. On April 17th the enemy shelled the Tower with 8-inch howitzers- generally a sign that he meant to attack sooner or later. The Tower contained a formidable concrete machine-gun emplacement, facing of course our way, but by General Rees orders it was blown up by the Engineers. Sure enough the enemy attacked the Tower that night, and at an unfortunate time for us, for the 7th N.F. were in the process of relieving the 6th N.F. in the front line, and it was a vile night, with a blizzard of snow. The German attack succeeded in driving our men out of the Tower and buildings, and though several bombing attacks were made that night to recover the position it could not be done. General Rees at once prepared to storm the position at the earliest opportunity next day, the 7th N.F. having completed the relief of the trenches during the night. It is difficult to describe the confidence which our General inspired at this critical time; he was rather graver and more thoughtful than usual, perhaps, but he treated the matter with great confidence and made everyone feel that the misfortune could and would be retrieved at the first attempt. His plans were made in conjunction with Major Johnson of the 50th Divisional Artillery; and as a result it was arranged to attack across the open, supported by a barrage from five brigades of field artillery. The hour was fixed for twelve noon (German time) just when the enemy is thinking about his dinner. Without any preliminary bombardment, the barrage opened out at the appointed hour, and fairly drove the enemy off the hill top. The 7th N.F. advanced in perfect order, and with little opposition, recaptured the Tower and the neighbouring trenches. Two or three prisoners were sent down, who had been unable to get away before the attackers reached them. It was a little attack, but carried out with admirable precision and practically without loss, and every credit must be given to General Rees for the way he handled the problem. As this operation was carried out in full view of all the surrounding country it attracted considerable attention, and congratulations soon poured in from all sides. "

Ben's army records reveal the consequences of lying about his age. He had listed his brother as next of kin, but Milburn wrote back to the military stating that Ben's medals should go to his daughter Florence. Which the army dispute as taking 5 years off Ben's age meant that instead of having a child when he was 19, her birth appeared to be when he was only 14 years old. After an exchange of documents the army accepted that Ben had been over age when he enlisted and his medals were sent to Florence.

If anyone has any further information or a photograph of Ben, I would very much like to hear from you.



Sgt. M. Davies DCM. 32nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps

My Step Grand Father served in The 32nd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps and I believe that he was awarded the D.C.M. in March 1919. I have been trying to find out about him. He was Sergeant 7811 M. Davies. Transport Command, Fourth Army. He was from New Zealand and he is buried there in Wellington. Any information would be appreciated.

Kevan E. Price


Lt. Arthur Hewitt Allen 1st Btn. att 72nd MGC. orth Staffordshire Regiment

Arthur Hewitt Allen was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment on the 23rd of July 1915 and joined the battalion in France. During the Battles of the Somme, he was attached to 72nd Company, Machine Gun Corps and commanded of a section of two Vickers machine guns. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 10th January 1917. He served at Arras in April 1917 and at the Battle of Messines Ridge, which opened with massive Mine explosions which rocked the German defenders. Despite early set backs, the Germans staged a vigorous defence of the ridge and the slopes. As Lieutenant Allen led his Machine Gun Company forward in support of 1st North Stafford’s, they came under heavy artillery & machine gun fire. He located and attacked an enemy machine gun that was mowing the men down. He personally killed and captured the crew, then took command of an infantry company whose Officers had all been hit, and was soon joined by the survivors of the whole Battalion. He was awarded the Military Cross which was Gazetted on the 26th of September 1917. His citation reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry & devotion in leading his company in an attack. He directed an attack on an enemy machine gun , which was holding up our advance, captured the gun and killed or captured the crew. Afterwards believing himself to be the only officer surviving in the attacking companies, he directed their fire on enemy machine guns and snipers, moving from shell hole to shell hole with utter disregard of his own personal danger to satisfy himself that the line was being properly maintained. Later, he was knocked down & severely bruised by a shell, but refused to leave his company and directed the carrying of rations to the front line.”

He later fought in the 3rd Battle of Ypres in the Autumn of 1917. Having suffered effects from his close encounter with the shell at Messines and also possibly being further wounded in action, he returned to ‘Blighty’ in 1918 and served for a period with the Ministry of National Service.

B Allen


A.Cpl. Harry Howells 56th Btn. Machine Gun Corps

Harry Howells served with 56th Battalion Machine Gun Corps.


Pte. Mathew Bryce Leitch Machine Gun Corps

Photo of my dad Mathew Bryce Leitch taken on leave before demob

My Dad, Matthew Leitch served with the Machine Gun Corps

Alan Leitch


Spr. Bertram Maggs Machine Gun Corps

Bert Maggs in the 3rd Glosters

My 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.

Peter Maggs


Pte. William John Lathlane 34th Coy Machine Gun Corps (d.11th Jan 1917)

Pte William John Lathlane Photo taken by E.G.Brewis at Newcastle upon Tyne October 1914 showing William John Lathlane wearing the Blue Kitchener uniform given to new recruits at the outbreak of war.

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.

Simon Richard Lathlane


Sjt. Michael Mallon 207th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (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.


Pte. Willis Hirwen Frith 207th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (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.


Pte. Charlie George Melrose Sampson 207th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (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.


Sjt. Thomas Farrell Loyal North Lancashire Regt.

This 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 is L/Cpl John William "Jack" Potts (d.26th September 1917) 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.

Jackie Dunn

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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 W
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George Coppard

First World War memoir of George Coppard who served as a private soldier from 1914 until he was wounded at the end of 1917.
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Mud, Blood and Bullets: Memoirs of a Machine Gunner on the Western Front

Edward Rowbotham

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