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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Identify the Unit!


Guest Ian Bowbrick

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

OK Pals lets see if you can sort this out!

Identify the Unit:

First Prize: Cup of Coffee at the PRO!

Ian :D

PS. I have a copyright on this photo!

post-2-1052831024.jpg

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Ian, can you please give some advice to a uniform "newbie"? When you look at this photo, can you immediately tell if the men are British or Canadian or Anzac, by the cut of their clothing? If so, what do you look for?

Peter in cloudy Vancouver :(

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British, and Canadian tunics differ in the number of buttons and collar design. Australian/New Zealand tunics are considerably different in appearance, with a tapered piece around the waist, and cuffs around the wrist area.

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Is there something special about this unit which is visible on the picture and because of which identification should be possible?

(What a question)

Jan

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I'm always hopeless at this kind of thing BUT..... the horses seem to be wearing special harness which will enable them to carry the guns. Is this a clue? :blink:

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Some kind of mounted Machine Gun Corps or Mountain Machine Gun Corps (if those would have existed) perhaps?

Jan

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household cavalry mounted machine gun battalion or similar?

just a guess but they seem very smart etc. hats are still rigid and it looks like a vickers mmg so its not 1914 or early 1915.

Probably way off base.

Arm.

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I agree, I think the two horses carry mounts for the machine gun and ammunition. All the men are wearing the 1903 leather bandoliers while the chap on the right holding the horse appears to have a badge on his lower left sleeve. I assume it is a proficiency badge although it could be the Machine gun corps badge? Or an ‘MG’ in a wreath (machine gunner)? I have no idea what the chap on the right is holding. It doesn’t look like a rifle.

Sorry, that’s the best I can do.

Alec

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

OK OK.

They are in fact the 2nd Bn Life Guards. This particular group of men were transferred to the Machine Gun Corps Cavalry and went to France in late 1916. When their unit was disbanded in 1918, the survivors were transferred to the MGC Infantry.

The saddles show how the machine gun and the tripod were carried by the horses.

An interesting photograph!

Ian

:)

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Right idea wrong unit, never mind i was closing enough for me!

Keep um coming Ian i could do with the practice.

Arm.

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i suppose you think your funny!

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I must have had too much brandy you've lost me?

Arm.

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Well, I've been back to me trusty notes...

Feb 16: Each Cavalry Bde in the BEF combines its three MG sections, total of 12 guns. Sqn commanded by a Maj or Capt; six times 2 gun sections commanded by a Subaltern.

Each 2 gun section had 1 x Officer, 33 xORs & 46 horses.

Total Sqn strength 8 Offs, 303 ORs, 299 horses, 18 limbers and a water cart.

In Feb 1916, the 3rd Cav Div's 7 Cav Bde comprised 1/LG, 2/LG and the Leicestershire Yeomanry. These formed 7 (MG) Sqn, under the command of Capt GGF Chomley (1/LG [sR]). Unit fully formed by May 16.

By Oct 16, 7 Sqn comprised entirely Household Cavalry units. It therefore never wore the MGC cap badge.

2/LG was not 'disbanded' as such - in March 1918, it became 2nd (Life Guards) Bn, Machine Gun Guards; on 8 May 1918 it became 2nd Bn, Guards Machine Gun Regiment. Reverted to cavalry - as did 1st (1/LG) Bn GMGR and 3rd (RHG) Bn GMGR - in Feb 19.

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Damn, my first thought was Life Guards... I could've earned a cup of coffee!

Jan

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

For the history of the photograph:

The gentleman in the photograph with his hands on the Vickers is one of my wife's great-uncles. According to his paybook, diary & WO 363 service record, he first served in the 2nd Bn Life Guards. He was then compulsorily transferred to the MGC Cavalry in 1916 (can't remember the Squadron off hand) and was posted to France. In 1918 he was transferred to the 232 MG Coy, a MGC Infantry unit, which became the 51st MG Bn in March 1918. He was wounded in the retreat of March 1918 (GSW shoulder) and evacuated back to the UK. He lived until the 1950's when he was a victim of the London Smog!

Ian

:)

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