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Remembered Today:

Machine Gun Corps War Diaries


Wiltshire

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I am researching a Sidney Merchant who was awarded an MM with 58 Coy MGC (No 70217).  He was KIA on 26/03/1918 and the CWGC record him as being in 19 Bn MGC.  He had previously served as 12171 Wiltshire Regiment.  Is it possible from this information to locate which War Diary I should look for on Ancestry?

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One of these, probably the first one:

19 DIVISION 
WO 95/2071 19 Battalion Machine Gun Corps 1918 Mar. - 1919 Mar.  
WO 95/2093 58 Infantry Brigade   
WO 95/2093 Brigade Machine Gun Company 1916 Mar. - 1918 Feb.  

You may have to put a suffix after the reference number: /1, /2 etc as sometimes there is more than one diary in the file.

 

Ron

 

 

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Hi,

 

On Ancestry...

 

6/Wilts is here

 

58 Company, MGC is here

 

19 Battalion MGC is here

 

His service file has him as "missing"  between 21st and 26th March 1918. His Soldiers Effects record has him as "death accepted" in the same date range. 

 

The Red Cross have a PoW enquiry card for him here, but appears to show a conflicting date.

 

Regards

Chris

 

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Chris

 

Thanks for your reply.  Would 58 Company MGC have been part of 19 Battalion MGC?  I have a copy of Sidney Merchant's service file and effects record but did not know about the POW enquiry.

Regards

Graham

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Hi Graham,

 

45 minutes ago, Wiltshire said:

Would 58 Company MGC have been part of 19 Battalion MGC? 

 

I think that the answer to your question is "kind of". I've not looked at the Machine Gun Corps before, but speculating (based on the info on the LLT, and the war diaries)...

 

The 19th Battalion was essentially created/formed in February 1918 using the 56th, 57th, 58th and 246th Companies. The Battalion seems to have structured on the basis of A, B, C, and D Companies. Whether, for example, when the 19th Battalion was created the former 56th Company became A Company (en masse), the 57th became B Company, etc I don't know ( - I note though that Sidney was awarded his MM for his actions with 58th Company, and his PoW enquiry card has "C Coy" on it) . Hopefully someone with informed knowledge will advise. What seems to be the case though is that the 58th Company ceased to exist under that name/identity with the new MGC battalion arrangements of 1918. 

 

Regards

Chris

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Generally speaking when the MGC Battalions were formed the Companies retained their previous identities, and often their original Brigade affiliations.  The convention, where recorded shows the 'A', 'B' etc Coys within the Battalion were usually designated in numerical order.

 

 The 19th Battalion diary is one of the rare examples where on creation of the Battalion following the reorganisation of the Corps the new companies and their antecedent company are not listed as the first entry on the date of formation.

 

In fact the 58 Brigade were still referring to 58 Company MGC in April (somebody didn't get the memo!)

 

Ken

 

 

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  • 8 months later...

I also am looking into Sidney Merchant, I have a family photo of a soldier and I have Merchants in my family tree, I have yet to find Sidney in that.

Could anyone confirm that the soldier in this photo, was in the Machine Gun Corp. I found his details from the Swindon book "Every Man remembered."  

 

Sergeant. Machine Corp of the Wilts Regiment.  Killed inaction 26th March 1918.  25 years old.  Son of William and  Alice Merchant of Ye Red Lion in Farindgon. 

 

In that book I have found 4 other potential family members all of the name :Loveday.  Any help greatly appreciated. 

 

The photo was taken at Putney.

Unknown Soldier photo taken at Putney.  .jpg

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Welcome to the forum.

 

The soldier in the photograph can be identified by the shoulder titles LG and the distinctive rank badge as a Lance Corporal in the Life Guards.  The collar badges are indistinct but may be crossed machine guns.  The uniform is neither the Wiltshire Regiment nor the MGC.

 

As noted above the service record of Sgt Sydney Merchant MM has survived in part and can be viewed on FMP and Ancestry.  Headlines, again as above, are that he enlisted in the Wiltshire Regiment 3 September 1914, allocated. Number 12171 and went to France 19 July 1915.

He was transferred to the MGC (58 Company) on 26,11.1916  and allocated number 70217.  There are links to the relevant war diaries in Chris’s Post 3.

Sgt Merchant did not serve in the Life Guards.

 

His Military Medal was recorded in the London Gazette 12.12.1917.

 

Ken

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You are all wonderful, but I'm no nearer knowing if this is he. I have found another family name connection. William David Loveday, also in the Machine Gun Corp No 178132. He survived the war. I won't take this further here, because this is Sidneys thread.  and here is a much improved photo of him. 

Unknown ancestor soldier.jpg

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5 hours ago, Marilyn Beale said:

You are all wonderful, but I'm no nearer knowing if this is he. I have found another family name connection. William David Loveday, also in the Machine Gun Corp No 178132. He survived the war. I won't take this further here, because this is Sidneys thread.  and here is a much improved photo of him. 

 

 

As previously noted the soldier in the photograph is wearing Life Guard (LG) shoulder titles and it is clear from the later picture he has collar badges associated with the Guards Machine Gun Regiment. His NCO sleeve badges are also, again as previously mentioned, distinctive and afaik unique to the Life Guards .  The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment were formed from the Life Guards.

 

Sidney Merchant never served in either the Life Guards or the Guards Machine Gun Regiment.  His shoulder title would be 'MGC' (or a curved 'WILTS').  The photograph is not that of Sidney Merchant, and neither is it William Loveday his service record can be found on Find My Past, and I guess on Ancestry. He was discharged in 1919.

 

Ken

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Hi can you confirm the guy in the photo - that the stripes on his sleeve are that of a Lance Corporal?  My resident 'expert' seems to think they are full Corporal stripes.  

 

I have done a little research on William David Loveday... for some reason Ancestry has him as Arthur Loveday, His 'Short Service Attestation' Is clearly stamped Machine Gun Corp. He reached the rank of Sargeant but was demoted.   

 

I think the Machine Gun Corp must have had an excellent recruiting drive around here. I have found another:  Charles Henry Major  - my Uncle! No 119406, he survived the war too, but information on him is very sparse. 

 

 

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As previously noted the Life Guards are part of the Household Cavalry and in order of precedence the first regiment in the British Army.  Therefore they do things a little differently to the infantry.

 

Their NCO Ranks and emblems are listed on this Wikipedia page

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_Cavalry

While reluctant to cite Wikipedia as a source it saves listing them.  You will see his badges are listed as 'Lance Corporal'.  The 'Standard' British Army equivalent ranks are listed alongside

Your resident 'expert' is correct had this soldier served in the infantry a lance corporal has one stripe and a corporal two; they do not have a Crown surmounted above the stripes.  

You will note the Life Guards do not have sergeants.

 

The Machine Gun Corps initially drew its recruits from Battalion Machine Gunners, as the Corps grew recruits were drawn mainly from Home Service Units and later direct entry of younger conscripts.  Recruitment was governed by Army Order, they did not recruit geographically.

 

Ken

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Admin

I always get in to trouble with this kind of question! If you post both in the uniform section of the forum I'm sure the experts will put you right.

 

However the hair style looks similar, and as you say a remarkable coincidence if it's not the Life Guard in your original photo.  Does your cousin know who he is?

 

Ken

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No, we don't know who he is, but it narrows it down to my mothers side of the family. I did a photo search on Google and came up with an almost identical photo of another guy. From that, the photo was taken by Christina Broom (Mrs  Albert Broom), the first ever news paper war photographer. It even gave the name of this other soldier. It must have been taken on the same day. He was at Knightsbridge Barracks and if Mrs Broom took several on the same day, it's  a bet that the date was 15th Sept, 1915. From his name I've found another four names that would have been there at the same time as our solider. But no blessed luck on his name!  I wonder why she only took a photo of the two of them?  You would think someone would have put his name on  the photo, they must have been really proud of him. 

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In my opinion the two photos show the same man.  Remove the moustache and consider a little natural aging and the facial resemblance is striking.  Both uniforms also relate to the Life Guards and, in the earlier photo the dress is dismounted Review Order, just as worn on public duties outside HQ Horse Guards in London.  Interestingly the store room behind is marked as for Small Arms Ammunition (SAA) Store, which would have been very familiar to a man from the regiment’s machine gun section.  It is probably at (the old) Knightsbridge Barracks.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I Googled the second photo on Image search and came up with another identical photo of another soldier, which must have been taken a the same time and same place - which was Knightsbridge barracks on 13th September 1915. that soldier was named and was for sale on the Museum of London web page. I emails the Museum and their archivist very kindly did a search for our soldier. She couldn't find him. But the photo was taken by Christina Broom (Mrs. Albert Broom). No name yet though.  The search goes on. 

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  • 1 month later...

1st Life Guards converted to 1st Guards Machine Gun Battalion in 1918.

The regiment retained their cap badges, badges of rank and pay.

However the concession was made in regards to GMGC collar badges.

 

in regards to Christina Broome, the entire collection is available at the Household Cavalry Museum in Windsor, but as far as I know doesn’t cover any GMGC photos.

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One correction to the above, and one possible one.

 

The soldier in service dress might be either a lance-corporal or a full corporal of Life Guards. At that time there were, officially, no lance-corporals established. This applies both to unpaid and paid status. However, it is certain that commanding officers appointed lance-corporals from among the troopers, their badge indistinguishable from full corporals.

 

As regards LG serving in the GMGR I am not convinced that they did not wear the GMGR badge and would be glad of proof either way.

Edited by Muerrisch
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This is from my research and can be found, with collateral, by judicious use of SEARCH

 

Household Cavalry Ranks, Appointments, Precedence, Badges in Service Dress, Pay etc. in the Great War

4th August 1914 until May 1915.

 

Rank

 

From King’s Regulations [KR] 1914

Appointment listed by rank

 

From Pay Warrant 1914 [PW]

Pay

 

FromPay Warrant 1914

Comment

Badges

 

FromClothing

Regulations

1894

Many appointment titles are different in this list

 

Badges

 

FromClothing Regulations1914

Lineker & Dine orDawnay

 

agreement or otherwise

Peace Establishment[PE]

1914

War Establishment[WE]

1914

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trooper

 

1/9-

 [A private in the cavalry of the line received 1/2-]

 

none ....”rank Private”

None .....

Trooper

 

316

316

KR rank

Level (viii) sic

 

Boy

8d

 

-

-

-

-

-

 

 

Kettle drummer

2/4-

 

none

none

 

1

1

 

 

Bandsman

1/9-

 

none

Appointment Bandsman not listed, an error

-

-

-

 

 

Saddler,

Saddle tree maker

2/4 ½-

2/4 ½-

 

No bit badge listed

No bit badge listed

 

2

1

2

1

 

 

Trumpeter

1/11-

 

No trumpet badge listed

No trumpet badge listed

 

7

7

 

 

Shoeing smith

2/3-

 

horseshoe

horseshoe

 

4

4

 

 

Roughrider not listed.

 

 

-

-

 

-

-

If a Trooper appointed, an extra 6d per day

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lance corporal

 

As Trooper

There is no doubt whatsoever that the HC had LCpls in the Great War, see CWGC deaths.

-

2 chevrons sic

[slender evidence possibly with no crown, evidence from wartime film c.1916 only. I believe with crown].

General agreement that paid LCpls intro 1921

 

 

Level (viii) sic

Unlike the remainder of the army there was no provision for paid Lance Corporals until after the Great War

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corporal

 

2/8-

 

Crown ,2 chevrons

Crown ,2 chevrons

Dawnay “a Crown formed an integral part of every [rank]badge”

L&D illustrate LG & RHG 1890

16

16

Level (vi) sic

 

Shoeing smith Corporal

2/9-

 

Crown ,2 chevrons horseshoe

Crown ,2 chevrons horseshoe

 

4

4

 

 

Orderly Room Clerk

2/8-

Or as a Corporal of Horse additional to

 Orderly Room Cpl of Horse shown below

-

Crown, 2 chevrons

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corporal of Horse

 

3/0-

Note that in the 1894 CR several appointments clearly at 1914 Corporal of Horse level are termed “Corporal”

Crown, 3 chevrons

Crown, 3 chevrons

Dawnay “a Crown formed an integral part of every badge”

L&D illustrate LG, RHG 1890

28

29 includes Transport

Level (v)

 

Corporal of Horse Trumpeter

3/2-

Official title

Crown, Crossed trumpets, 4 chevrons point up

Crown, Crossed trumpets, 4 chevrons point up

 

1

1

 

 

Corporal Cook

3/6-

 

Badge according to rank

Crown, 3 chevrons

 

1

1

 

 

Farrier Corporal of Horse

3/4-

 

Crown, 3 chevrons, & horseshoe

Crown, 3 chevrons. No mention horseshoe

 

8

8

 

 

Saddler Corporal of Horse

 

4/0-

 

Crown, chevrons

 

 

1

 [or a Saddler Staff Corporal]

1

 [or a Saddler Staff Corporal]

 

 

Band Corporal

Not listed

 

Not listed

Crown, 3 chevrons. No band badge

 

Not listed

Not listed

 

 

Orderly Room Cpl of Horse

3/-

 

Crown, 3 chevrons

Crown, 3 chevrons

 

1

1

 

 

Drill Corporal

-

 

Crown, crossed swords, 4 chevrons point up.

“and crossed swords”

An incomplete reference.

-

Not listed

Not listed

Rank unknown, in context might be Level vi, v or iv.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Corporal

Farrier Staff Corporal

3/10-

 

Crown, 4 chevrons point up.

horseshoe

Crown, 4 chevrons point up.

No horseshoe listed

 

1

Title Farrier Quartermaster Corporal

1

Title Farrier Quartermaster Corpora

 

 

These three official ranks are shown as equal in KR at Level (iv)

 

[they are all “Staff Corporals” and equate with Colour Sergeants. No Staff Corporals as such appear among the dead of the Household c

Cavalry in the Great War]

 

Saddler Staff Corporal

4/0-

Apparently same pay as Saddler Cpl of Horse.

 

No bit badge listed

 

1

Or a Saddler Corporal of Horse

1

Or a Saddler Corporal of Horse

Squadron Quartermaster Corporal

 

3/6-

 

Crown , 4 chevrons point up

Crown , 4 chevrons point up

Dawnayseems to say Crown omitted in 1914 and previously, in error?

4

4

Squadron Corporal Major

 

4/6-

 

Crown , 4 chevrons point up

Crown , 4 chevrons point up

L&D 1906

5

5

 

Squadron Corporal Major instructor, fencing,

 Squadron Corporal Major instructor musketry

3/3-

 

 

Crown , 4 chevrons point up, crossed swords

 

Crown , 4 chevrons point up, crossed rifles

L&D 1907

1

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

Squadron Corporal Major Roughrider

4/0

 

 

Crown , 4 chevrons point up, spur

L&D 1906, 1907

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Regimental) Quartermaster Corporal Major

 

4/6-

 

 

Crown, 4 chevrons, star

 

Dawnay.Crown, 4 chevrons, 8 point star 1887.

Also 8 point star on frock in 1910 L&D

1

1

Level (iii)

[this level equates with QM Sgt rank]

 

Farrier Quartermaster Corporal

4/3-

The most senior Farrier ranking changed several times over a short period.

Crown, 4 chevrons. No mention horseshoe for jacket of the period

 

Crown, 4 chevrons. No mention horseshoe for jacket

 

 

1

1

 

 

Orderly Room Corporal of Horse

 

 

 

 

 

Accounted above

Accounted above

These two appointments could be filled at Level (v, iv or iii)

 

Paymaster Corporal of Horse

 

Not on PE WE or PW

 

 

 

 

-

 

Saddler Quartermaster Corporal

4/2-

A side-bar addition toPW 1914

Not listed

Not listed

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Regimental) Corporal Major

 

5/10-

 

Crown

Crown

L&D 1907

 

 

Warrant Officer

 

Farrier Corporal Major

5/4-

In PW but not WE or PE.

The most senior Farrier ranking, the status changed several times over a short period.

Crown, horseshoe

Crown, horseshoe

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L&D Lineker and Dine

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Just posting here to alert Andy to this thread - he has LG and Guards Machine Gun Regt connections.

Mark

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