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5 Motor Machine Gun Battery research


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Glad that I am not going daft but it is problem with reading the Forum in the wee hours of a British morning.

 

If the picture is indeed of No 5 Battery, and it was taken at Bisley before they deployed to France in 1915, then Coles cannot be amongst the parade  as he did not join the MGC until the second week of April 1916.

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17 hours ago, delta said:

the picture is indeed of No 5 Battery, and it was taken at Bisley before they deployed to France in 1915, then Coles cannot be amongst the parade  as he did not join the MGC until the second week of April 1916.

 

Geoffrey posting is the first time I have seen this picture with the writing on it. I am not sure if there is any provenance that links it to 5 MMG Bty - certainly the OC in  front does not look like the other photos of Capt J Alkin.  Equally, I have no idea if the Tank Museum have any provenance linking it to Cyril Coles - or have they just used a great picture on the strength of "First Tank Crews" labelling?

Regards, Paul 

 

PS: And is it captioned with the correct date???

5a7a275111a8f_PalmerAJPhotoFirstTankMen.jpg.21f4c04a9c2ada5a30608ef93a8b843e.jpg

Edited by pjwmacro
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Paul. Pretty sure this photo was not taken in 1915. Most of the identifiable cap badges are plain crossed guns. The pre deployment photo of 5th Battery shows them wearing MMG cap badges, and this would only change around January 1916 when they were in France. The name on this I think refers to Private Albert Tuxford Wadman  302117 18th Tank Corps. He had no prior overseas service or 14-15 Star with MMGS.

This more likely be Heavy Section men in 1916. 

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Another casualty.

Gunner 180 Nelson Wynne Rycroft.

Ex 5th Battery MMGS.

Commissioned 26/6/1916 2nd Lieutenant (T) to Bedfordshire Regiment.

Killed in Action 25/9/1917 serving with 6th Bedfordshire Reg. 3rd Battle of Ypres: front line south of Ypres

"Nelson was killed during heavy shelling as the battalion held the front lines. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial." 

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And another .

Cpl. 177 John Curtis Moakes.

Commissioned in the field 28/3/1915 to Royal Engineers. Lieutenant (T)

Killed in Action 5/9/1916 aged 29, serving with 155 Field Company Royal Engineers.

Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial.

 

http://www.ww1.manchester.ac.uk/roll-of-honour/john-curtis-moakes/

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3 hours ago, david murdoch said:

This more likely be Heavy Section men in 1916

That was my view David. And makes it more likely Cyril Coles us included. My view would be Apr/May 1916. Best Paul

Fascinating how many MMGS commissioned. Not just 5th Bty - but across the board. Best Paul.

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23 hours ago, pjwmacro said:

 

Geoffrey posting is the first time I have seen this picture with the writing on it. I am not sure if there is any provenance that links it to 5 MMG Bty - certainly the OC in  front does not look like the other photos of Capt J Alkin.  Equally, I have no idea if the Tank Museum have any provenance linking it to Cyril Coles - or have they just used a great picture on the strength of "First Tank Crews" labelling?

Regards, Paul 

 

PS: And is it captioned with the correct date???

5a7a275111a8f_PalmerAJPhotoFirstTankMen.jpg.21f4c04a9c2ada5a30608ef93a8b843e.jpg

No this is not 5 Battery MMGS.

This photo with the writing on comes from the archives at Bovington and is I think MGC HS and the CO is named .....somewhere, one of the well known faces.

 

The photo directly after Palmers medals on my post, in front of the white shiplap building is 5 Battery.

Edited by ghchurcher
typo
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4 hours ago, ghchurcher said:

this is not 5 Battery MMGS.

This photo with the writing on comes from the archives at Bovington and is I think MGC HS and the CO is named .....somewhere, one of the well known faces.

 

The photo directly after Palmers medals on my post, in front of the white shiplap building is 5 Battery.

Thanks for confirming Geoffrey. Regards Paul.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Have found some war time (or early post war?) postcards of Lestrem. Thought it would be a good idea to add them to this thread...

 

Pre war:

5aa57a85f2b20_01prewar.jpg.e9ca5282c72d1cae0effd614a0e869c2.jpg

 

Same place a bit later:

02.jpg.4a2edf8a43c4355f6b155f3f21571bd0.jpg

 

And more Lestrem cards:

10.jpg.f274c6d1dfff18c31108ac40b168c00f.jpg09.jpg.b67e1e770ae6256dc1775875fe9da517.jpg08.jpg.9c37e15719d37503b00664406357ba22.jpg06.jpg.fecce11535ff3e15e517f2d557783ca8.jpg05.jpg.39a802673727e61e891d73e877f37205.jpg04.jpg.21c5a6e41007ec592d16529ac12b993b.jpg03.jpg.a3590982ec5376dd0d932a5fca3fffd4.jpg

 

07.jpg

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Here are some Enfields. Taken at Siberia Camp Bisley. These look to be 5th Battery bikes. The E numbering on the tanks also appears in photo on post #34, E16 being a gun carrier. E13 is also a gun carrier as there is a glimpse of the rear firing Vickers and also the anti aircraft mount. I'd hazard a guess that this is No.3 section 5th MMG. Going by the highest number and two gun carriers with two each ammo carriers.  Possibly QM Sergeant Thompson in the photo. I'd say this was taken same time as the photos that appeared in The Motorcycle in March 1915 just prior to them going over to France. I suspect all those "in the field photos" of 5th Battery relate to The Motorcycle photographer's "A day with a machine gun battery" photo opportunity. Noting in this one they are wearing MMGS cap badges where some of the earliest ones they have RFA, probably dates these to January/February 1915.

 

E13 Gun Carrier

E14 Ammo Carrier

E15 Ammo Carrier

E16 Gun Carrier

E17 Ammo Carrier

E18 Ammo Carrier

 

20180313_130931.jpg

Edited by david murdoch
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I had a look through my 5th Battery material, and the "E" numbers are visible (though less clearly) mostly in photos from issues of The Motorcycle. The number appears to be only on the right hand side of the tank - where on the other side it would be obscured by the sidecar passenger. The "E" may represent 5 for 5th Battery, but not seeing anything similar in other battery photos. There are some pictures with bikes having numbers only on the side of the tank, and some on the lower gun shield, but nothing consistent.

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10 hours ago, david murdoch said:

I had a look through my 5th Battery material, and the "E" numbers are visible (though less clearly) mostly in photos from issues of The Motorcycle. The number appears to be only on the right hand side of the tank - where on the other side it would be obscured by the sidecar passenger. The "E" may represent 5 for 5th Battery, but not seeing anything similar in other battery photos. There are some pictures with bikes having numbers only on the side of the tank, and some on the lower gun shield, but nothing consistent.

Another great photo David

 

E could also be E for Enfield rather than 5th Bty.  Might explain inconsistency both within the battery and the fact 5 MMG seem to be the only ones doing this..  Regards, Paul

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9 hours ago, pjwmacro said:

Another great photo David

 

E could also be E for Enfield rather than 5th Bty.  Might explain inconsistency both within the battery and the fact 5 MMG seem to be the only ones doing this..  Regards, Paul

Paul. It could well be - just not found anything to directly compare with. Looks like this numbering system is particular to 5th Battery the numbers 1-18 being for the sidecar combinations - possibly used as id to log maintenance ect. There is an article in The Motorcycle stating the army placed another order for Enfields - either another battery after 5th got them or they were used at the training centre. There are references to 5th being happy with their performance, but for sure the MMGS fairly rapidly standardised on Clynos. I have  photos of No.6 Battery (Clynos) with just a number on the side of the tank - in a screen shot of a movie clip of them you can see the number on the rear of each sidecar. Appears to be battery number on the left and individual bike number on the right. Not seeing any numbers on 22nd Battery bikes.

6th pptx.jpg

Edited by david murdoch
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Wonderful photograph David! Thank you very much for sharing this one with us! As for the E, the picture below was taken at the Royal Enfield factory in Redditch, when the outfits were being collected. Looks as if the E numbers were applied at the factory...?

5aac389c8caf3_Schermafbeelding2012-08-11om22_27_18.png.f5ed8f3eddf81ffb55b7ad377bb91e1f.png

 

Jan

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On 8-2-2018 at 23:08, rewdco said:

And two more photographs, both showing Harold Hegan, although the two men don't look like the same person in my eyes...

5a7cca258582e_Schermafbeelding2018-02-07om19_33_35.png.59a41aa3e18c65496d778d1fc6c60cff.png5a7cca238ae36_Schermafbeelding2018-02-07om19_36_58.png.1c4dfceb43eb3dac5b83917ea556f187.png

 

This week I have been contacted by a relative of Harold Hegan. This prompted me to do some further research. His name was mentioned a third time in The MotorCycle:

5aac3a96aa46c_Schermafbeelding2018-03-12om22_09_02.png.f165f8a89c338d64fc7fbf6f403ac227.png

 

The other article mentioned the fact that Hegan had joined 7MMGB after 5MMGB had been disbanded. This page from the 5MMGB War Diaries may also be of interest:

5aac3b5633c18_Schermafbeelding2018-03-12om21_52_21.png.b59ff11f038f3accf85c4615ca002dcf.png

 

 

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Plus some interesting pages from the 7MMGB War Diaries, all mentioning Hegan:

image016.png.cb857327949e3ab2068be16fe9f29c34.png

image002.png.1e99f6ff842bf4137e2b0ec66f7ef1c9.png

image003.png.a52c738e3f1ad878ed41b78592800d91.png

image008.png.80bd6d902dfd18af8afa21da04579e28.png

image009.png.758ed8475f777e7d1a04732db8acc0e7.png

 

So Capt. Hegan was in Steenwerk (French Flanders) in May 1917. And 7MMGB were using Clyno combinations. I wonder if he may be one of the men in this photograph...

image017.png.a942aabce034c06bc09bda24b814c68c.png

 

Jan

 

 

 

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55 minutes ago, rewdco said:

 

 

 

55 minutes ago, rewdco said:

Wonderful photograph David! Thank you very much for sharing this one with us! As for the E, the picture below was taken at the Royal Enfield factory in Redditch, when the outfits were being collected. Looks as if the E numbers were applied at the factory...?

5aac389c8caf3_Schermafbeelding2012-08-11om22_27_18.png.f5ed8f3eddf81ffb55b7ad377bb91e1f.png

 

Jan

Noting also the number on the sidecar side of the bike also - so applied both sides (just does not show up in other photos or obscured by the sidecar passenger). Most likely the E does stand for Enfield. The June 17th 1915 issue of The Motorcycle is the one where they mention a further order for Enfields  this would imply they went to one of the later Batteries. 4th had Scotts, 5th Enfields, 6th and 7th Clynos.

Edited by david murdoch
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9 hours ago, david murdoch said:

The June 17th 1915 issue of The Motorcycle is the one where they mention a further order for Enfields  this would imply they went to one of the later Batteries. 4th had Scotts, 5th Enfields, 6th and 7th Clynos.

 

This second batch is really intriguing me... According to the Royal Enfield factory ledgers, 4 combinations were delivered to the War Office on June 15th 1915. Another batch of 10 outfits were delivered to the War Office on July 5th 1915. This makes a total of 14, not the usual 18...? The 5MMGB War Diaries mention broken frames on their way to France, were these 14 motorcycles "replacements" for the 5MMGB...? There is no mention at all in the War Diaries, apart from these snippets of information from their early days in France:

- 17th March 1915: Side cars commenced to break owing to rough roads, and it was decided to have them cut and rebrased a liner being fitted. This was done by a French firm.

- 24th March 1915: Owing to the rough state of the road and the fact that the liners were not properly fitted to the side car frames in GHQ, seven of these frames broke. This matter was reported to Bisley, and a request for 12 new side cars, manufactured to certain specification was made. (In my opinion, the fact that they mention 12 side cars could mean that they were having problems with the gun carrier chassis, not with the ammunition carrier chassis.)

- 24th April 1915: New frames (6) to replace broken ones received from Enfield Coy. Work on these immediately put in hand. (6 frames, not the requested 12...? Did they send replacements for the ammunition carriers perhaps?)

 

So... were the outfits so bad that by June - July 1915 they had to replace 10 complete combinations with gun carriers? (The 10 outfits that were despatched on July 7th were gun carriers for as far as I can see, see pictures below.) If so, why isn't this mentioned in the War Diaries? And what about the 4 other complete machines from the  June 15th batch? These may have been 4 ammunition carriers...? 

124.jpg.3ec77e8ded8681414af66be0b83d91ab.jpg

72.thumb.JPG.d028b5b0110a0d7ce6f55a644cd800c7.JPG

 

I have also checked all the available War Diaries, but couldn't find another Battery that was using Royal Enfields... Also checked the Canadian Batteries, no Enfields to be found there as well. Another option could have been the Royal Navy Batteries, but for as far as I could find out, the RN only used Scott outfits (hundreds of these went to the RN). Training outfits for Bisley perhaps...? The mystery remains...

 

Jan

 

 

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On 16-3-2018 at 22:57, rewdco said:

 

So Capt. Hegan was in Steenwerk (French Flanders) in May 1917. And 7MMGB were using Clyno combinations. I wonder if he may be one of the men in this photograph...

image017.png.a942aabce034c06bc09bda24b814c68c.png

 

Jan

 

 

Not 7MMGB after all I'm afraid to say... The solo bikes are Triumphs, and the box van is a Napier. 7MMGB used Douglas motorcycles and Studebaker vans...

 

Jan

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1 hour ago, rewdco said:

 

Not 7MMGB after all I'm afraid to say... The solo bikes are Triumphs, and the box van is a Napier. 7MMGB used Douglas motorcycles and Studebaker vans...

 

Jan

What's the source of this photo and your original thinking it was 7th MMG? A date of May 1917 cuts down the options of which battery it could be as many disbanded in November 1916. I just had a look at this on the computer - the cap badges not very clear, but to be honest I don't think they are MGC as by that time they would not be wearing MMGS badges but regular MGC crossed guns with no lettering and the shape does not look right for this. Maybe Canadians? 

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I found that picture on eBay David (didn't buy it though...). Only the text that's written on it, no further clues... When I read that Hegan was with 7MMGB until the end of the great War, and 7MMGB was using Clynos, I thought that maybe... but apparently I was wrong...

 

Jan

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As has been explained before, there were some "famous" people in the fifth Battery: Sergeant J. Cocker, who had successfully raced Singer motorcycles, Sergeant J.H. Pountney (Rover motorcycles), Sergeant W.G. Tuck who was a car racer, and Sergeant W.A. Davenport, a successful Lea Francis racer:

 

5ab605afe7ca5_Schermafbeelding2018-03-23om23_21_17.png.8275f070d13a5fd600b1b61e3eeca31e.png

5ab605b78ac31_Schermafbeelding2018-03-23om23_21_37.png.f58cadd512b6bf287d08a62726daeba8.png

 

Davenport's name was mentioned a couple of times in the motorcycle weeklies, it may be interesting to put these snippets together here. In this pre war advertisement for Palmer tyres he's praised for winning a Silver Medal in the Scottish Six Days' Trials, on a Lea Francis motorcycle:

 

5ab6062622228_Schermafbeelding2018-03-23om23_16_52.png.ec16604a0517a72ecb7f10ed767bfcc8.png

 

But his time in the 5th Battery seems to have been quite short: in the July 1st 1915 issue of The MotorCycle J. Cocker reports that Davenport left the Battery due to illness:

 

5ab606b87489f_191507011.png.4c87649476a1487116ae54b848d5e7f0.png

5ab607445939d_191507012.png.df466ac0e5afb86110ac0f2c4e2f22f5.png

 

He's mentioned again on July 29th 1915:

 

5ab60757b85ea_191507291.png.617fe6657aa0fcd04cb8423e8dfd6e47.png

 

And again on October 7th:

 

5ab6077e7eccc_191510071.png.43c16c1610dddc6e44cb1325b9db3ece.png

 

Finally some better news on November 18th 1915. But Davenport won't return to the 5th Battery again...

 

5ab607ab4afc6_191511181.png.7ac5d02342fe521efac67e2716dbe27f.png

 

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On 4-2-2018 at 22:22, rewdco said:

On 17th June 1915, The MotorCycle publishes a small article about a new War Office order for Royal Enfield combinations. The article doesn’t mention how many outfits, or for which Battery they will be…

 

0630.png.c1d92760afb0e43a43a0e01ce88d698b.png

 

A second batch of Royal Enfield motorcycle combinations left the factory in June - July 1915. According to the factory ledgers, 4 outfits were delivered to the “War Office” on June 6th, and 10 outfits were despatched on July 5th. (Another motorcycle was delivered to the “Army + Navy depot” in Westminster on July 13nd of 1915. I’m not sure if this one has something to do with the other 14.).  This makes a total of only 14 (or 15?) combinations, not the “usual” 18. Although the 5th Motor Machine Gun Battery’s War Diaries don’t mention the delivery of these motorcycles, I have a feeling that they may have been replacements for that Battery’s outfits that had been lost during several months at the Western Front.

 

This photograph shows the 10 outfits that were despatched from the Redditch factory on July 5th 1915:

0640.jpg.9bb5654ad07ae71c17412761be215460.jpg

 

I’m still hoping to find confirmation for the theory that these combinations were also used by 5MMGB…

 

 

 

 

 

Still looking where this second batch of 14 outfits may have gone to… Couldn’t find any written proof of Batteries (other than 5MMGB) that could have used them. So tried deducing the possibilities by elimination. Sometimes the War Diaries clearly mention the make of the outfits, sometimes it was mentioned in the contemporary press which Battery used what. So I put all the information that I could find in a list, and while I was doing this, I also added the make of the lorries, officer’s car and solo motorcycles where possible:

 

1 MMGB: Scott (Daimler lorries)

2 MMGB: Clyno

3 MMGB: Clyno

4 MMGB: Scott

5 MMGB: Royal Enfield (Douglas solo motorcycles, Daimler lorries, Vauxhall Staff car)

6 MMGB: Clyno (Douglas and Triumph motorcycles, Daimler lorries)

7 MMGB: Clyno (Douglas motorcycles, Studebaker lorries)

8 MMGB: Clyno (Studebaker lorries were replaced by Napiers in July 1916)

9 MMGB: Clyno (Douglas motorcycles, Studebaker lorries, Vauxhall Staff car)

 

For as far as I know, all the later Batteries used Clyno combinations.

 

In the Scott Motorcycle Factory Ledgers I have found approximately 530 “Vickers” orders, approximately 130 of these were for “Russia”. All of these were either “Gun chassis” or “Ammunition chassis” specification. Jeff Clew's history of "The Scott Motorcycle" states that after war was declared Sir Arthur Dawson, superintendent of Vickers Ordnance approached A A Scot about the possibility of supplying sidecar outfits that would carry a machine gun and ammunition. British patents 19175, 20874 and 21195 were granted by October 1914 and a contract placed for 300 Scott outfits split between the Admiralty and the War Office. The actual requirement was 200 machine gun carriers and 100 solo machines. Production was well in hand by November.

 

There were two Motor Machine Gun Batteries (N°1 and n°4) that used Scotts, and I know that there were also several RNAS Batteries. It appears that the RNAS only used Scott combinations. Does anybody have more information on the RNAS Batteries I wonder? Very difficult to find anything at all unfortunately…

  

I also discovered that one of the Canadian MMGB had Scotts for a couple of months. These outfits had been “inherited” from the RNAS, and were soon replaced by Clynos. I couldn't find out which motorcycles were used by the other Canadian MMGB, but considering that they arrived later, it would be reasonable to assume that they also used Clynos.

 

e001196015.jpg.6df3c3a318dfc3d586bced8c345537e5.jpg

e001196016.jpg.717db0037341453773fa3abbcf323372.jpg

e001196021.jpg.973741f38775c31f32a3c899baa2fe69.jpg

 

So… the mystery remains… Where did the second batch of 14 Royal Enfield outfits go to?

 

Jan

Edited by rewdco
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  • 1 month later...

Have found some more 5MMGB related information... some photographs from Bisley:

 

26992352_1578761855549189_3897010963921095613_n.jpg.a083de8ab0e4817c1cd1e823cbc89798.jpg.d3106545621db9612b532dd82c21ed8f.jpg

wimbledon house bisley.jpeg

 

 

20180313_130931.jpg.59aced7a515719fba7be0ad1bf5fecf9.jpg

620_0012.jpg

 

 

0310.png.ec1def3a58afc007a06d83de1799ee73.png

909_001.jpg

Edited by rewdco
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