Published By John Davies
Machine Gun Corps
The Machine Gun Corps had been created during September 1914. Before then battalions each had their own machine gun sections usually armed with a Lewis gun. The experience of BEF during the first weeks of war soon brought the realisation that specialist machine gunners, using a heavier Vickers weapon, were needed to support infantry advances, the MGC was the result. The corps received its Royal Warrant and Army Orders and was formally instituted in October 1915. The corps recruited men and officers from within the army. Machining gunning needed a particular skill set akin to artillery men and this ‘cherry picking’ of the best and most able men from the volunteer army caused resentment in the others corps,
The Machine Gun Corps did their training at Belton Park, Grantham. Over 170000 men served in the corps with over 62000 killed, wounded or missing. They were organised into companies and battalions operating either as divisional troops or attached to brigades. The corps was disbanded almost as soon as the war ended. It has been suggested that the rapid disbandment of the corps was because the MGC was not popular among the regular army. It was also seen by some more reactionary army staff as ‘un British’ and just a necessary requirement of the war. In this respect the corps was a victim of its own success as an efficient and ruthless fighting force. There was a mysterious fire at the corps archive in 1920 which destroyed all the Corp’s papers and records.
118 Company Machine Gun Corps
Formed in March 1916 in France in 39 Division.
5 Bn Machine Gun Corps
Formed in Italy 26 February 1918 – served with 5 Division. The Division was recalled to France in late March 1918 as reinforcements during the Kaiser Offensive. On 26 April 1918 the battalion was absorbed into 15/16/95 MG Coys. The battalion then took part during the 100 Days and Advance in Picardy and at the Armistice was in the area around Le Quesnoy.
Private 116087 Alfred Jones. KIA 02 September 1918, Bancourt British Cemetery, France Maesbury & West Felton
25 Bn Machine Gun Corps
Formed in March 1918 in France from the Machine Gun Companies of 25 Division.
35 Bn Machine Gun Corps
Formed in March 1918 as 35 Division divisional Troops
56 Company Machine Gun Corps
Formed in 1916 at Grantham, went over to Fance in February and assigned to 19 Division.
80 Coy Machine Gun Corps
Sergeant 49108 Andrew Lewis, Maesbury War Memorial
5 Bn (4th Reserve Company) Machine Gun Corps
A training and reserve unit based at Grantham.