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5 Motor Machine Gun Battery research


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On ‎07‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 19:20, rewdco said:

More sergeants in this photograph: from left to right: Sergeant W.G. Tuck, Sergeant J. Cocker, QM Sergeant Thompson and Sergeant J.H. Pountney:

5a7b4eff49ea6_Schermafbeelding2018-02-07om19_20_21.png.6349b2aaab41cc2f7f370e8db3ddbc51.png

 

J. Cocker before the Great War:

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And W.G. Tuck in 1912:

5a7b604034516_Schermafbeelding2018-02-07om21_16_31.png.6abe68ff76466f24b58f0ac013180a90.png

 

Pountney's identification is confirmed in a later article in The MotorCycle:

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Another picture from the same photoshoot, Thompson and Pountney, both standing behind some unknown soldiers:

5a7b50317e62f_Schermafbeelding2016-05-27om08_13_05.png.ba7563c90952c7097f68f53053046557.png

 

But if the identifications in these pictures are correct, I'm sorry to say that Geoffrey Churcher identified the wrong man as Major A.J. Palmer, it is in fact QM Sergeant Thompson:

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I agree this is QM Sjt Thompson from the named photos, is this W Thompson (referred to elsewhere) or No 252 Sjt CA Thompson who was KIA 12/04/18 ?

 

I see Lieut Voss is mentioned who won an MC as MMGS and a Bar with the Tank Corps.

 

I have limited details on a No 643 Gnr H Domoney MMGS who is only a couple of digits away from another guy mentioned - I guess there must be a reasonable chance Domoney is also 5 Battery. 

Edited by ghchurcher
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  • 1 year later...
david murdoch


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"October 23rd: Lieut. A.W. Lane Joynce, another new name"

Identified this man as being Lt. Albert William Lane-Joynt Noted in Battery war diary 23/10/1915. He became another casualty for 5th MMG being Killed in Action 26/2/1916 age 20 (shot by sniper ). He was originally Dorset Regiment and attached MMGS.

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Edited by david murdoch
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On ‎05‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 23:37, david murdoch said:

Identified this man as being Lt. Albert William Lane-Joynt Noted in Battery war diary 23/10/1915

Well done David

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Identified another member of 5th MMG not previously on the list.

Ernest (Ernie) William Hayward  MM,DCM. Hayward joined the Royal Horse and Field Artillery in 1914 and within a month had transferred to MMGS as Gunner 553 and  5th MMG Battery. His 14/15 Star Roll (Tank Corps) list him as having been 5th MMG, and his date of entry matches the date the battery went to France. He was transferred to No 11 Coy, D Battalion  in November 1916 when the battery was disbanded. He was actually on leave of absence in early November 1916 so joined them on his return. He was awarded the Military Medal while with 5th MMG in 1915 and in April 1917 the Distinguished Conduct Medal after an attack on the Hindenburg line near Bullecourt. He later renumbered 205595 Tank Corps, and ended the war as Staff Sergeant. He remained in the army and during World War II he served as Regimental Technical Adjutant at the Lulworth Gunnery School. Having joined the army as a private in 1914 he retired some 30-odd years later as a Captain.

 

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Hi, you can listen to Ernest Hayward describing his wartime experiences, including the Battle of Bullecourt, on the IWM website: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80006843

 

From my notes I see he also describes his experiences in 5th MMG.

 

John

Edited by johntaylor
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  • 6 months later...
david murdoch

Got some information on another battery member  noted in earlier post #16. From the war diary a name picked up as Gunner S. Leigh wounded (grenade) on 19th July 1915, No service number noted. I've just come across him while researching another group of MGC(M) numbers - which appears to pertain to men who were numbered later due to foul ups, number duplications or misplaced transfer records. This man was Gunner Sidney Leigh from Stoke on Trent. By his medal card he was an original member and went to France with 5th MMG on 7th March 1915. He should by rights have an MMGS number below 200, but he's actually numbered as 32194.  He originally enlisted in 9th North Staffordshire Reg on 4th September 1915 as Pte.12340 and transferred to MMGS  30th October 1914, but look like this was only done on paper some time later. He was wounded  by grenade shrapnel actually 18th/19th July 1915 Note as "dangerous" and injury to pelvis, prolapsed rectum, sacrum and testes.  He was returned to UK 19th August 1915 and discharged unfit for service 14th April 1916. He obviously never recovered as he had a 100% disability pension and suffered later complications and died in hospital in London on 2nd March 1922. Paperwork in his service shows they were trying to sort out his record to process his discharge, so renumbered 32194. On 27th July there is a letter of enquiry  form about his pay - this probably came to light when he was struck off strength from 5th Battery. He was in 10th Stationary Hospital in St Omer at this time This letter indicates his mother  was still getting paid his separation allowance by North Staffordshire Reg up until 2nd August! He ended up in hospital still under his original North Staffs number and all indications are he never actually had an MMGS number - certainly officially.

He wrote and applied 18th September 1916 for his  Silver War Badge No. 1736 and signed for his 15 Star from his home address  5 Lime St, Stoke on Trent, and also personally chased his discharge certificate - on his headed letters this shows he was the secretary of the Stoke branch of the Discharged Sailors, Soldiers, Widows and Dependents  Association and branch secretary of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers - Stoke branch. Then there is a letter dated 27/3/1922 from his brother Harry enquiring about his BWM/VM which states Sydney had died earlier that month in St Martins Hospital London as a result of his wounds. As he died in 1922 he is out with the CWGC cut off date. 

His original attestation shows he was born Worcester  1890 and 24 years and 6 months when he enlisted, a mechanic to trade. Living at 5 Lime St, Stoke on Trent with his Mother Edith Maud Leigh and brother Harry.  His mother later claimed a dependents pension.

The other thing of great interest contained in his service file is the complete roster for the 56th Machine Gun Class at Hythe  which ran 31st October 1914 to 20th November 1914. This lists all Staff, Officers, NCOs and Other Ranks on the course. There are two men marked with arrows on this copy. S. Leigh,  9th North Staffordshires and the other is Captain J. E. Alken 9th North Staffordshires  - he who was the instigator and fist OC of 5th MMG Battery. Given this course started the day after Stanley was transferred to MMGS and it was just formed in October this probably represents the first MG training class for the MMGS. There is a higher proportion of NCOs to ORs. Just a quick look at some of the other names are familiar (to me), but I will need to investigate all of them. 

 

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  • 4 months later...

Imagine my surprise when I recently discovered this ca 1916 publicity for Frera motorcycles... very similar to the "official" Royal Enfield pictures from 1915!

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19150216 MC_02.JPG

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  • 1 month later...

A Delcampe auction that I was very interested in ended on this very special day. Unfortunately my sniper didn't "shoot" (well, it is armistice day isn't it... ):wacko: Anyway, here's the auction scan. I think this is the first and the only photograph that I have ever seen of one of the Enfield outfits in France. Well, at least that's what I think it is, the outfit has been modified a bit... Any thoughts...?

Jan

759_001.jpg

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23 minutes ago, rewdco said:

A Delcampe auction that I was very interested in ended on this very special day. Unfortunately my sniper didn't "shoot" (well, it is armistice day isn't it... ):wacko: Anyway, here's the auction scan. I think this is the first and the only photograph that I have ever seen of one of the Enfield outfits in France. Well, at least that's what I think it is, the outfit has been modified a bit... Any thoughts...?

Jan

759_001.jpg

Very interesting photo  - and not seen before. Certainly an Enfield  but not seen that type of sidecar  and mounting a Lewis gun. Looks like you can see the rear facing gun mount still in place.. I need to look through the war diary and see if there is any mention of Lewis guns being used. Possibly it is one of their old bikes repurposed by someone else. I had assumed they had swapped out their Enfields for Clynos sometime prior to November 1916.  I was given to believe the original batteries with Scotts and Enfields changed out to Clynos as they become the standard. There were several Clyno equipped batteries which were disbanded/reconfigured in early 1916 so possibly their bikes were sent over to France to the batteries already there.

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Unfortunately we can't see the "interesting side" of the sidecar... But I think it is the same one as in the previous posts, with some "made in France" modifications. The Lewis is a bit of a mystery indeed...

Jan

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Photocard sent by my grandfather Horace Potts, a machine gunner in 5th Battery.  Served at all the main sites, was later Company Clerk at 1st Tank Brigade HQ. 

Edited by Paul Edwards
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1 hour ago, Paul Edwards said:

Photocard sent by my grandfather Horace Potts, a machine gunner in 5th Battery.  Served at all the main sites, was later Company Clerk at 1st Tank Brigade HQ

Thanks for sharing - great card!

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5 hours ago, Paul Edwards said:

Photocard sent by by grandfather Horace Potts, a machine gunner in 5th Battery.  Served at all the main sites, was later Company Clerk at 1st Tank Brigade HQ. 

Seeing his Medal Index Card and medal rolls. By his MMGS number enlisted mid April 1915.

He went to France 1/7/1915. Likely he would have gone to base depot first then been posted out  to 5th MMG as a casualty replacement  as they had a couple of wounded in mid July. He would then transfer into MGC Heavy Branch in November 1916 when 5th MMG was disbanded and rolled into the expansion of tank companies in to battalions which took place at that time. He was then renumbered 200727 in 1917 (Tank Corps renumbering of MGC personnel). On his medal roll it actually refers to this number as Machine Gun Corps. He then (probably fairly quickly) ended up as 313425 Royal Engineers - both his 15 Star and War medal rolls are Royal Engineers. Actually his number indicates he was one of a group transferred (on paper) to Royal Engineers in reality they were Tank Corps Signals Company - ie motorbikes and dispatch riders. 

Looking on my list of MMGS men the original 5th Battery personnel are generally lower MMGS numbers however there are several close numbers to his which indicates replacements. In addition they have near consecutive 200### numbers. The men identified in this  group of Royal Engineers signal company shows they originated  from various Motor Machine Gun batteries, but all being batteries who were disbanded and swallowed by Heavy Branch in November 1916. Unsure whether they were hand picked or volunteered when this company was set up. 

 

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Edited by david murdoch
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Wonderful picture Paul! Thanks for sharing it with us! Saint Venant is indeed very close to Lestrem... At least one of the casualties from 5MMGB was buried there. 

 

Regards,

Jan

Edited by rewdco
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3 hours ago, pjwmacro said:

Thanks for sharing - great card!

I think this must be early (maybe) spring 1916, even though not very clear it looks like all three are still wearing MMG cap badges.

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On 16/11/2020 at 19:11, david murdoch said:

Seeing his Medal Index Card and medal rolls. By his MMGS number enlisted mid April 1915.

He went to France 1/7/1915. Likely he would have gone to base depot first then been posted out  to 5th MMG as a casualty replacement  as they had a couple of wounded in mid July. He would then transfer into MGC Heavy Branch in November 1916 when 5th MMG was disbanded and rolled into the expansion of tank companies in to battalions which took place at that time. He was then renumbered 200727 in 1917 (Tank Corps renumbering of MGC personnel). On his medal roll it actually refers to this number as Machine Gun Corps. He then (probably fairly quickly) ended up as 313425 Royal Engineers - both his 15 Star and War medal rolls are Royal Engineers. Actually his number indicates he was one of a group transferred (on paper) to Royal Engineers in reality they were Tank Corps Signals Company - ie motorbikes and dispatch riders. 

Looking on my list of MMGS men the original 5th Battery personnel are generally lower MMGS numbers however there are several close numbers to his which indicates replacements. In addition they have near consecutive 200### numbers. The men identified in this  group of Royal Engineers signal company shows they originated  from various Motor Machine Gun batteries, but all being batteries who were disbanded and swallowed by Heavy Branch in November 1916. Unsure whether they were hand picked or volunteered when this company was set up. 

 

41629_636897_10791-00307.jpg

41804_626640_12029-00236.jpg

30850_A001253-02799.jpg

Thanks for this info David, much appreciated.  I have a few memento's from him, including an explanatory letter which I will find and may add some more useful info for the group.

 

Best regards, Paul  

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6 hours ago, Paul Edwards said:

Thanks for this info David, much appreciated.  I have a few memento's from him, including an explanatory letter which I will find and may add some more useful info for the group.

 

Best regards, Paul  

That would be great. I'm collecting as much information as I can on all MMGS personnel. It's likely the photo taken in Saint Venant was probably where they were billeted. As mentioned  it's close to Lestrem and going by the war diary the 5th MMG spent most of their time around this area, as the battery HQ is noted as in (or close to) Lestrem.

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37 minutes ago, Paul Edwards said:

Letter written by  Horace Potts to my sister years ago, about his extensive and rather lucky experiences.  Hopefully of some interest.  

 

 

 

 The incident of the shooting down of the German plane is very interesting. Several of the MMG batteries were used in an anti aircraft role  - often as mobile protection for artillery spotting balloons. There is quite a lot mentioned in several war diaries but not actually seen mention of them actually bringing a plane down. I need to find this incident in the war diary. The Corporal Carter mentioned  was 547  Albert Edward Carter MM. He was one of 5th MMG original personnel  going to France 9th March 1915 - he  also ended up in the Tank Corps as Sergeant 200718.

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