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About this blog

This blog is about 22nd Motor Machine Gun Battery. The battery formed in 1915 and deployed to India in 1916. It spent the rest of war patrolling the North West Frontier, and then fought in the Third Afghan War of 1919. Among the soldiers was my grandfather, Cpl, A/Sjt Ernest William Macro.

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22nd Battery Arrives in India

The SS Beltana, the ship carrying 22nd Motor Machine Gun Battery, arrived at Bombay 103 years ago today on 20 Mar 1916. The Battery commanding officer was Major Alexander Molony, attached to the Machine Gun Corps (Motors) from the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The Battery Sergeant Mechanic was a well known pre-war motorcyclist, Sgt Alfred Fielder; he had ridden for the Hudson Motor Company.  Amongst the soldiers were 'Bill' Macro, JP Jamieson and Walter Patrick. Once the Beltana had docked there would

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George Pearsall - Briefly in 22nd Motor Machine Gun Battery

At least one member of 22nd Motor Machine Gun Battery was not destined to sail to India with his comrades 103 years ago. Instead he was to travel to the battlefields of northern France as one of the very first tank commanders. Herbert George Pearsall, known as George, was born at Smethwick on 17 July 1888. When war broke out George enlisted at Dewsbury on 6 April 1915 and joined the Motor Machine Gun Service at Bisley on 14 May. He was promoted corporal on 18 June and then serjeant on 14 August

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March 1916 - The SS Beltana passes through the Suez Canal

At about this time 103 years ago in 1916, the SS Beltana, passed through the Suez Canal as she carried the officers and men of 22 Motor Machine Gun Battery to India. Whether the men were allowed to go ashore at either Alexandria or Port Said is not recorded, although having been onboard for 2 weeks since sailing from Devonport on 26 February, it would be nice to think they had the chance to stretch their legs. At least the Beltana was a modern, oil fired ship, so the troops were spared the miser

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February 1919

In February 1919 the men of 22 Motor Machine Gun Battery were taking part in a Machine Gun Concentration and Demonstration Camp in Gondal, to the North of Bombay. On the evidence of A/Sjt Macro's photo album this also seems to have also involved air-ground cooperation and familiarisation training with aircraft of the RAF. These were almost certainly from 31 Squadron, and despite the caption, they were BE2E's, not BE2Cs. Given the soldiers had been in India for nearly three years, and the war in

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Onboard the Beltana

Onboard the SS Beltana, 103 years ago in late February 1916, lifejackets were worn until the ship cleared the U-boat danger area of the Western Approaches.    The SS Beltana was Clyde built, by Caird & Co. of Greenock and launched in 1912, for the P&O Branch Line.  She had carried up to 1100 passengers on the UK to Australia route via Cape of Good Hope.   Thanks to JP Jamieson, grandson of Gnr (later A/Cpl) James Petrie Jamieson, for the photo.    

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The Beltana Sails from Devonport

103 years and 1 day ago, on 26 February 1916, the SS Beltana sailed from Devonport. Onboard were 5 officers and 68 men of 22nd Motor Machine Gun Battery. Among then was my grandfather Ernest William "Bill" Macro. Also onboard were the Battery's 19 motorcycle combinations, 8 motorcycles and 8 cars. I assume their Vickers Machine Guns were also onboard! It was the start of a journey which would take the Battery to Bombay and then Rawalpindi. The next three years were then spent on the North West F

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