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Pte John Horn: Machine Gun Corps: 60665: Can anyone help please?


Mary MacGregor
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I am helping my friend look for information about her grandfather John Horn who was born in Glasgow in 1896. She has a photograph of him in what she thinks is the uniform of the Highland Light Infantry (she can read HLI on one of the arm badges). Her grandfather looks very young in this picture. We know John was in the Machine Gun Corps. His number was 60665. We've found his medal card which shows he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In a roll index it is noted he was Class Z (AR) 21/12/19 which we understand means he would be demobilised but kept as a reserve.

My friend knows nothing else about her grandfather's war experiences or when he joined the army. Can anyone tell us whether her grandfather could have started in the HLI and then gone into the Machine Gun Corps? Is there anyway to determine which unit he was with? Any information at all or suggestions on where to look next would be much appreciated.

Thank you

Maria.

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yes, its quite common to transfer from one regiment to another

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Unfortunately the MGC is notoriously difficult to place men in a unit as the Companies are not listed on the medal rolls.

Impossible to be certain but given his age he probably attested under the Derby or Group Scheme in December 1915 and was called up or mobilised around mid - July 1916. It is also possible he was conscripted and mobilised around that date. He would, in all likelihood, be posted to a local Scottish Regiment for training and badged to that Regiment, so the HLI is a possibility. The absence of overseas chevrons on the photograph may help to date it.

He appears to be one of a group of men from the Scottish Command transferred to the MGC on 3/10/1916, I think we can be certain about this date. (See service records below.)

He was then posted to an active service unit (almost certainly) in France joining the BEF November/December 1916. I cannot say which unit of the MGC he was posted to. The MGC were nicknamed the 'suicide squad' and it was rare for individuals to survive unscathed so it might be worth looking at casualty/pow/local newspapers to see if you can find him and identify his unit. If he was wounded he obviously recovered as to be posted to the Class 'Z' Reserve he would have to be fit for duty.

See Service Record Charles Whytock (Edinburgh) 60653 formerly Scottish Rifles joined MGC 3/10/1916

and Michael Carden (Glasgow) 60679 formerly A and SH joined MGC 3/10/916 which brackets 60665 neatly.

Previous postings would not be shown on the medal records if he did not go overseas with them. His career path to the MGC was not unusual.

Ken

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Thank you so much for your replies. The information you've supplied Ken is a great help and my friend will be very pleased to have this. Can I ask you what overseas chevrons look like and my friend can check the picture she has? Thanks again for taking the time to set this all down, it's much appreciated.

Maria.

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The absence of overseas chevrons on the photograph may help to date it.

See the link to the Forums sister site "The Long Long Trail" :

http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/servicechevrons.html

The chevrons are always on the lower right sleeve as shown in the photo.

You would be well advised to post your photo on here, there are uniform and insignia experts who may be able to tell you more.

BillyH.

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Hi Billy,

Thanks very much for this information. I will see if I can get John Horn's photo from my friend to post here. I'm away to check out the link you sent. Many thanks again.

Maria.

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