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Machine Gun Corps number help


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Can anyone help shed any light on when this chap joined the MGC. This is a colleagues Grandfather and he has very little information.

Any help appreciated.

Thanks

Barrie

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By no means an exact science but best guess is around end September/beginning October 1916.

57501/57585 were in a draft that arrived at the Base Depot at Camiers on 3/11/1916 but 57590 was in a draft the previous week and 57502 didn't join the BEF until early in the following year, so as I say not exact.

He did not enlist in the MGC but was probably transferred at the end of basic training so that gives an indication as to when he joined the Army, he could have been a Derby Scheme volunteer or conscript. He survived the war and was discharged to the Class Z reserve 20/2/19. Unfortunately I can't tell you what he did in between those dates.

Ken

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Ken, thank you very much for this. A great start for us.

Best regards

Barrie

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Barrie

The numbering sequence is hard to determine as Ken says, it has hidden anomalies re the enlistment dates.

Some that I looked at gave a leaning more towards late 1915 - early 1916,the problem is that with no papers we may not know the stages of your man's progress up to the point of joining the MGC.

I was looking for him on Census 1911 to give me an idea of age,and only found one with a similar name,Rowland but with an "s" on both ends of Spurden !

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Thanks for your assistance. I will pass on the Spurden's' issue. Did they sometimes get the MIC details incorrect would you know?

Thanks

Barrie

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Barrie

Errors often occurred,as far as I can see with no boundaries as to whether it was military or civilian ! Often names were spelt phonetically,and something which I frequently widen a search if a stated spelling of a name is not successful in unearthing a record.

I did the search last night and as far as I recall there was Spurlings family as visitors to another place at Census time.

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Barrie

The numbering sequence is hard to determine as Ken says, it has hidden anomalies re the enlistment dates.

Some that I looked at gave a leaning more towards late 1915 - early 1916,the problem is that with no papers we may not know the stages of your man's progress up to the point of joining the MGC.

I was looking for him on Census 1911 to give me an idea of age,and only found one with a similar name,Rowland but with an "s" on both ends of Spurden !

The only observation I'd make is that while the date of attestations/enlistment of those I looked at in the MGC 575** series showed a wide variation i.e. for date service reckons from,

the dates to the MGC were fairly consistent with autumn 1916.

Incidentally I wonder what mistakes the OP thought was on the mic.

Ken

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It is a long time since I studied MGC numbers in detail, but I seem to recall that those starting with 5 were particularly of the MGC (Cavalry) branch?

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It is a long time since I studied MGC numbers in detail, but I seem to recall that those starting with 5 were particularly of the MGC (Cavalry) branch?

The MGC on formation began numbering from 3001 (the first 3000 allocated to the Motor Machine Gun Corps) again a rough generalisation but the first numbers were taken by those who were already Battalion Machine Gunners and transferred into the Corps, this accounted for most of the four digit numbers.

The numbers of men joining the Corps increased throughout 1916 to replace battle casualties and the increased demand as it's effectiveness as a weapon and tactics increased and improved. At it's peak in 1917 men were transferring into the MGC at the rate of around 500 a week and in total around 170-180000 men, including officers, served in the MGC.

The MGC (Cavalry) had a different numbering system as discussed in this earlier thread, to which you contributed - a long time ago...

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=69548

Ken

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Hi Ken,

That would tie in with some research I have been doing into the 'Fallen' of Fairfield, Buxton, Derbyshire. One of my men was Sgt James Lomas Barrett Number 625, 14th Bty Machine Gun Corps (Motors) he died in Jubbulpore. Could you help with a Service Number of 33807. This was for a private in the MGC who survived the War, any information would be much appreciated.

Val

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Val has noted 33807 was his Notts and Derby number

159633 transferred to the MGCm after 10th June 1918 but not long after, say between 10 - 15 June 1918 typically many recovered wounded or sick men were compulsorily transferred into the MGC around this time. Perhaps a Notts and Derby researcher can give his date of enlistment.

Ken

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Ken can i ask why would men that had been wounded be compulsorily transferred into the MGC,I know this did happen but cant fathom out the reason.

Mary.

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Mary,

I don't know for certain but there were transfers under various Army Council Instructions, orders etc which suggest men were 'combed out' in the UK as to their suitability for training at Grantham. This would have provided a leavening of experience in the MGC rather than taking all recruits from the training units. A wounded man would go on to the reserve strength of his original regiment until either discharge or recovery, they would then be liable for a posting 'in the interest of the service' as they would have been replaced in their original unit.

Ken

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Thanks Ken, you kindly helped me before with a David Alexander who after being in the KOSB from late 1914 was moved into the MGC 146968 around 1918 after being wounded at the third battle of Yrpres. His grandson was not aware of his move, and i was just trying to see if there was a reason for this ,ie kept in England maybe to train or anything else.His last two years are unknown to us and just curious where or what he was up to.

Mary.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Thanks Ken, you kindly helped me before with a David Alexander who after being in the KOSB from late 1914 was moved into the MGC 146968 around 1918 after being wounded at the third battle of Yrpres. His grandson was not aware of his move, and i was just trying to see if there was a reason for this ,ie kept in England maybe to train or anything else.His last two years are unknown to us and just curious where or what he was up to.

Mary.

Hi Mary

While tidying my hard drive on what is officially the 'most depressing day of the year' apparently, it's rained all day here though I think it's worse in Falkirk! I came across the below which I unashamedly pinched from the forum some time ago (apologies to the original poster) I think this explains what happened as far as men in Reserve Bns (where wounded men would have found themselves after recovery):-

'596. Transfer of Infantry Recruits to the Machine Gun Corps.

1. A.C.I. 1545 of 1916 is cancelled, and the returns therein called for will no longer be rendered.

2. Two officers of the M.G.C. will be detailed to inspect Reserve Infantry Battalions in Commands with a view to selecting sufficient men of the necessary standard required to complete the establishment of the M.G.C. (Infantry).

3. One officer will inspect the men in Reserve Infantry Battalions in the Scottish, Northern and Western Commands, and the other officer will inspect those of the Eastern and Southern Commands and London District.

4. The inspecting officers will inform the O.C. the Reserve Infantry Battalion of the number of men selected by him, and the O.C. the unit will then immediately grant the men their 4 days' Expeditionary Force leave.

5. The O.C. the Reserve Infantry Battalion will inform the G.O.C.-in-C. in whose Command the battalion is stationed by telegram of the number of men selected by the inspecting officer.

6. The G.O.C.-in-C. the Command will inform "Forcedly (A.G. 9) London" by telegram at 5 p.m. every Saturday night of the number of men selected by the inspecting officer during the previous week when further instructions will be issued regarding the number of men to be sent to the M.G.C.

7. The men ordered to be sent to Grantham will be dealt with under the conditions laid down in A.C.I. 2098 of 1916, except that para. 1 will not apply, as the men will have already received their 4 days' leave.'

Ken

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Hi Ken thank you very much for your reply.So if i have read and understood the above David would have been placed into a reserve battalion after recovering from his wounds then selected to move into a MGC company.As nobody is able to link his MGC number to a known MGC company we thought maybe he had been given a job in England( Grantham )but that might not be the case it looks like he might have been sent oversea's again.His Grandson swears his Grandfather was in India at somec stage and had a white Pith hat in his home for years,but my husband had thought he maybe had been in Italy when the KOSB were moved there right after the 3rd Battle of Ypres, but as he was wounded at Ypres then that would appear to rule that out.I will see if i can find any trace of the MGC in India between 1918-1920 until David came out .Thank you once again for taking the time to reply and help us.

Mary.

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