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Flatiron Copse Cemetery Case #1: Captain Machine Gun Corps


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This arose from the check on the Flatiron Copse Cemetery reported here: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/263399-flatiron-copse-cemetery-mametz/


There are 30 other records for the Machine Gun Corps within the Flatiron cemetery (CWGC Link), 28 of which are from July-September 1916 and then 2 from August 1918, both of which were from the 38th Battalion MGC.


Unknown Captain Machine Gun Corps 57d.X.18.d.5.2 (must be a.5.2 as no d on edge of map), west edge Mametz Wood. Starting with those unknown in 1016, the candidates are (CWGC Link):






Thursday, August 24, 1916



7th Bn. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)




Saturday, July 1, 1916



103rd Coy, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)




Sunday, September 3, 1916



147th Coy. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry


The LLT (Long Long Trail) tells us about the companies and battalions of the Machine Gun Corps (this link), as it applies to their status in 1916. If the units were in the Cavalry, there were called "Squadrons" (1-26) and if in the Motors, they were called "Batteries" (1-25). The question is, did the CWGC name them correctly in their database? If I understand it correctly, there was a specialist machine gun company in each infantry brigade in the early years, all of which had moved to the Machine Gun Corps by July 1916. It appear the 1st Battalion MGC came into place in February 1918.


  • I do not see any listing for a "7th Battalion" for 1916 (Captain Rutherford). De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour shows him as 7th Machine Gun Coy, so I presume for now that was a CWGC error. That would place him in the 25th Division in 1916.
  • The 103rd Machine Gun Company (Captain Millar) joined the 34th Division on 27 April 1916.
  • The 147th Machine Gun Company (Captain Baddon) was formed in the 49th Division on 27 January 1916. It appears from the Medal Roll Card that he was previously in the Australian Imperial Force.


In the hunt for the war diaries I found the following:


  • The 7th Machine Gun Company war diary is under the 25th Division Brigade Machine Gun Company (war diary page 40 of 185). On the 24th of August it refers to the attack by the Wilts and Worcesters on Hindenburg Trench. There is specific reference to the death of Captain Rutherford, Officer Commanding (war diary page 37 of 185). It is reported that he was killed by a stray bullet while reconnoitering in the Leipsil Salient (must mean Leipzig Salient 57d.R.31) before the operations had started. That places him northeast of Authuille, south of Thiepval. That places him about 5,500 yards northwest of Mametz Wood where the remains were recovered.
  • The 34th Division lists only the 102nd Machine Gun Company for April 1916 to January 1918 (war diary page 2 of 177). The LLT has it in the 103rd Brigade (Tyneside Irish). Finally found it in the 103rd Brigade "Other" (103rd Machine Gun Company war diary page 786 of 931). Got stalled in the middle when I came across my Grandfather's name (G. V. Laughton - 26th NF, Military Cross April 1917).
    • 1 July 1916 the company went into action with the brigade in the neighbourhood of La Boisselle (war diary page 788 of 931), which was in German hands at the time. It appears the brigade was moving toward that area from the southeast.
    • There is no specific mention of where they were, only that some of the company returned, at intervals, and one gun was brought back.
    • They could have been in the area where the remains were located but there is no specific proof.
    • A few days later it refers to the death of Captain Millar, the Company Commander on 1 July 1916.
    • The Brigade War Diary (page 225 of 764) tells us that the 103rd MGGC was with each battalion, By 10:18 am there was a report that the 27th NF had reached 57d.X.21.c., southeast of La Boisselle. Some had reached Peake Woods at 57d.X.22.a but was driven back to Round Wood 57d.X.21.d.
    • It would appear that Captain Millar would NOT have been in Mametz Wood at the time of his death.
  • The 147th Machine Gun Company (listed in Brigade Machine Gun Company war diary page 2 of 167) tells us that on 3 September 1916 the brigade was in Thiepval Wood 57d.Q.30 and attacked the German front line in 57d.R.19.c., which is on the northeast side of the woods. That places them at least 6,500 yards northwest of where the remains were recovered.


Our unknown Captain was located at 57d.X.18.d.5.2, a place which does not exist as it is on the far right boundary of the map where there is only an "a" or "c". That places him in Mametz Wood, about 2,500 yards east of La-Boisselle, which is about 4,000 yards northeast of Albert. He was recovered with 2 men of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. One of those was Lt. Jones 13th Bn REF (113th Brigade, 38th Division) killed on 10 July 1916. The unit did attack Mametz Wood that day, so the trench map coordinates in the COG-BR are "more of less" correct. Lieutenant Jones is reported KIA (war diary page 44 of 230). His brigade was on the west side of Mametz Wood 57d.X.18.


I would say from this early analysis that it is not one of the Machine Gun Captains killed in 1916, unless the remains were buried elsewhere at a later date.



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The 1917 candidates from the Machine Gun Companies:





Friday, November 30, 1917



59th Coy, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)




Friday, November 30, 1917



235th Coy, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)


59th Coy is 20th Division - near Lateau Wood on 30 November 1917 (war diary page 109 of 122). That places them at .57b.M.7, well out of the area.


235th Coy is 12th Division -  Divisional Troops - in the vicinity of Gouzeaucourt 57c.Q.36, well out of the area (Divisional war diary page 704 of 829). Machine Guns placed in defence of the German attack (war diary page 786 of 829). Direct reference to 235th MGC (war diary page 787 of 829) at 57c.X.4.a and 57c.R.34.d, well out of the area.


That leaves only the one (1) casualty from 1918 to be checked.





Friday, March 22, 1918



40th Bn., Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)


40th Battalion Machine Gun Corps in the 40th Division is at Hamelincourt 51b.S.29 (war diary page 7 of 41). Not at all in the area.


Looks like I have to go back and check more on anyone attached to the Welsh Division back in July 1916?

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There are no missing Captains in the Machine Gun Corps associated with the Motors or Cavalry, as a primary or secondary regiment.


There were two Captains that are missing and on the Thiepval Memorial who were "attached" to the Machine Gun Corps (Secondary Regiment). I will have to check them:





Sunday, September 17, 1916



Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

attd. 123rd Coy. 
Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)




Saturday, July 1, 1916



Royal Irish Regiment

attd. (unit not provided)
Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)


The 123rd Machine Gun Company was in the 41st Division in 1916. Captain Auchinleck is reported killed (war diary page 12 of 109). It appears the guns had just moved to south of Flers 57c.N.31, when they were heavily shelled.


Captain Mockler's medal card only says Royal Irish Regiment and Machine Gun Corps.

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I do not see any listing for a "7th Battalion" for 1916 (Captain Rutherford). De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour shows him as 7th Machine Gun Coy, so I presume for now that was a CWGC error. That would place him in the 25th Division in 1916.

The error between MG Battalion and MG Company is all over CWGC.


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It would appear that I have come to a "Dead End" on the hunt for the Captain of the Machine Gun Corps that was recovered from Mametz Wood. I have looked at every possibility that I can think of, at various dates when there were machine gun companies in Mametz Wood.


There are two loose ends to clear up from the original post about the COG-BR documents for the Flatiron Copse Cemetery, that were in the original cemetery post:

  • there is a Captain E. D. Job of the 38th "Division" MGC in Plot 3 Row C Grave 11 (COG-BR 2002255)
  • there is a BTB 150th MGC with a Special Cross (GRRF 2002103)

I adjusted the wording in that post this morning when I realized that the COG-BR did not say that Captain E. D. Job was in the 38th Coy, Machine Gun Corps, rather that he was in one of the machine gun companies of the 38th (Welsh) Division. As his CWGC page shows, he was attached to the Machine Gun Corps from the 28th London Regiment (Artist's Rifles). The three companies of the MGC in the 38th Division were the 113th, 114th and 115th (LLT Link). I note that the listing of the companies in the MGC list (LLT Link) does not include the 113th MG Company.


It is possible that Captain Job is not the person in Grave 3.C.11 but rather is the unknown Captain of the MGC in Grave 5.B.8. You will note that COG-BR 2002255 says:


3.C.11 57c.S.13.d.1.6 Believed to be Capt. E. D. Job, 38th Div. M.G.C. 17.7.16


Captain Job is reported by the CWGC to have died on 11 July 1916 not on 17 July 1916. Maybe those are the remains of Second Lieutenant Cullen? Cullen is the only missing officer from the 38th Division " Machine Gun Coys" for the 11th to 17th of July 1916.


Those trench map coordinates are in heart of the northeast section of Mametz Wood. We can not tell for sure if it is the same place as where the Unknown Captain was recovered, as those trench map coordinates, although in the adjoining section, are incorrectly reported as 57d.X.18.d.5.2. No such place exists, unless the error meant that the remains were in 57d.X.18.a.5.2 or they were in 57c.S.13.d.5.2.


The second "Believed to Be" in the list above is Lance Corporal Brown of the 150th Machine Gun Company. I checked the war diary for the 150th Coy for his reported date of death of 132 September 1916, and they were in Mametz Wood (war diary page 153 of 277). The diary refers to Corporal Jacobs being wounded that date but not Lance Corporal Brown (CWGC says "Private Brown"). He may be the deceased that is reported as "one killed four wounded" on the following day. There are no recorded deaths on the 14th (CWGC Link). The war diary also reports "1 Officer killed, 4 other ranks killed" on the 15th, some of which must appear on the CWGC database as those that died on the 16th. To match the war diary of the 14th and 15th there should be total of at least 6 dead, assuming all the wounded survived. The CWGC does report 6 deaths for the period 15 to 16 September 1916, including the one officer (Second Lieutenant Hoys). For the period 13th to 16th September there are 7 dead.


I did look at all the men of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) that are recorded for the Flatiron Copse Cemetery. From the list below, you can see many of these with odd listings, mixing up the use of the words "Coy", "Bn." and "Bde.". There were no battalions until early January 1918. Where the "Field Coy." comes from for Private Taylor is another good one.


surname initials death rank MGC (Infantry) # Flatiron
EVANS J 11-07-16 Private 115th Coy. '27236' IX. G. 6.
TRUEMAN W 14-07-16 Serjeant 22nd Bn. '19179' V. J. 3.
SPRAGUE R H 14-07-16 Lance Serjeant   '4422' XI. E. 2.
BUTLER T 15-07-16 Corporal   '22057' II. D. 11.
GRAY J 27-07-16 Private 152nd Bde. '21621' V. C. 9.
GILMOUR J 27-07-16 Private 152nd Coy. '21619' I. C. 12.
JOHNS J 04-08-16 Private 152nd Coy. '14518' I. C. 24.
DOLAN W C 06-08-16 Private 111th Coy. '6005' I. B. 29.
RICHARDSON H 10-08-16 Private   '22588' IX. A. 9.
BOUCH J 14-08-16 Private 112th Bde. '30792' VI. K. 3.
CUTLER S A 16-08-16 Private 9th Coy. '34452' IX. B. 3.
TAYLOR C E 16-08-16 Private 9th Field Coy. '31912' IX. B. I.
WAKEMAN J H 16-08-16 Private   '42588' IX. B. 4.
CLYNE D 18-08-16 Lance Corporal 1st Bn. '20377' X. H. 7.
LINDSAY J 18-08-16 Private 1st Coy. '22177' X. F. 5.
ROBERTS W V 19-08-16 Private 9th Coy. '36903' IX. B. 2.
MacPHERSON I 24-08-16 Private 19th Bde. '36638' I. E. 9.
MATHIAS G E 24-08-16 Private 19th Coy. '36637' I. E. 7.
MORRISON C 24-08-16 Lance Corporal 19th Coy. '36879' I. E. 8.
DONALD J 25-08-16 Private 106th Coy. '27819' VII. A. 3.
KEEGAN P 31-08-16 Private 1st Coy. '6264' I. E. 28.
REDPATH W 31-08-16 Serjeant 1st Coy. '20370' I. E. 30.
STONE A 31-08-16 Corporal 1st Coy. '12592' I. E. 29.
STURROCK G 31-08-16 Private 2nd Coy. '42329' V. I. I.
BAILEY E T 09-09-16 Private 49th Field Coy. '10962' III. H. 14.
BROWN T 13-09-16 Private 150th Coy. '23500' Sp. Mem. 33.
FARMER G A 16-09-16 Lance Corporal 140th Bde. '23243' I. F. 53.
MARTINSON G T 16-09-16 Lance Corporal 152nd Coy. '23479' I. F. 40.
CHINE B A 26-08-18 Private "A" Coy. 38th Bn. '138607' XI. C. I.
BROWN R F H 26-08-18 Private "C" Coy. 38th Bn. '137920' I. C. I.


Edited by laughton
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  • 1 month later...

When I started this topic I should have included the information that i had from the cemetery topic, as that has the links to the documents:



6.B.8: COG-BR 2002216 and GRRF 2002042 - Unknown Captain Machine Gun Corps 57d.X.18.d.5.2 (must be a.5.2 as no d on edge of map), west edge Mametz Wood. There are three (3) on the Thiepval Memorial for 1916, two (2) on the Cambrai Memorial for 1917, and one (1) on the Arras Memorial for 1918. An early guess is someone from the 114th, 115th or 116th Brigade (38th Welsh Division) in July 1916. I will need to learn about the MGC to solve this one AND how the CWGC classified them! He is with some lads of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (113th Brigade 38th Division).

  • there is a Captain E. D. Job of the 38th "Division" MGC in Plot 3 Row C Grave 11 (COG-BR 2002255)
  • there is a BTB 150th MGC with a Special Cross (GRRF 2002103)


I do not see any potential for this case to move forward at this time. For reference, hear are all the Captains in the M.G.C.


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I was just tidying up some items on this case prior to abandoning it and I noticed a few items. The main elements are a Captain of the MGC in France.

  1. I had searched for Captain "Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)" to obtain the primary list (CWGC Link).
    • 16 records extending from July 1916 to November 1918
    • 6 are reported to have no known grave, all discussed above (3 Thiepval, 2 Cambrai, 1 Arras)
  2. I should have also searched for just Captain "Machine Gun Corps" without the word "Infantry" included (CWGC Link)
    • seven (7) listed, all in known graves
    • they date from May 1916 through to January 1919
  3. Searching the other branches:
    • Captain "Machine Gun Corps (Motors)" none (CWGC Link)
    • 1 Captain "Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch)", 1917 and in a known grave (CWGC Link)
    • 1 Captain "Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry)",1918 and in a known grave (CWGC Link)
  4. The "Secondary Regiment" case needs to be applied to all of the searches, as that turns up those such as Captain Job (Flatiron Copse Cemetery) noted above. There are others:
    • 5 Captains with the link to "Machine Gun Corps", all in known graves - if Captain Job is actually in the grave suggested (CWGC Link), he may not be!
    • 11 with "Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)" as the secondary regiment, 4 of which have no known grave (CWGC Link) - 2 Thiepval, 1 Arras, 1 Arras Flying Services
    • 1 with "Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry), in a known grave (CWGC Link)
    • none in in "Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch) or "Machine Gun Corps (Motors)"

The end result of this quick analysis is that the four (4) Captains with the "Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)" as the secondary regiment, must be analyzed. This presented a new "CWGC Glitch" for these cases. The CWGC did kindly add the "Secondary Regiment" as one of the columns that you get if you download the results, but it does not include the unit affiliation with the secondary regiment, only the primary regiment. So for example, Captain Auchinleck on the Thiepval Memorial was "4th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)" and attached "Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)", but we have to go to his page to find out that he was attached to the 123rd Coy. I have added that to each Captain, as this is a small list. It is not the same in reverse, so for example Captain Crawford was initially "Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)" and then went to the "Royal Air Force". In that case they do tell us it was 60th Squadron, and I have reversed the listings to show them as "initial regiment affiliation" and "attached to". The surname is linked to the CWGC page. Some of these men we have already discussed above (Auchinleck & Mockler) - Mockler remains a mystery, but let me put them all together:


surname forename death initial regiment affiliation unit attached to unit memorial
CRAWFORD KELVIN 11-04-18 Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) unknown Royal Air Force 60th Sqdn. ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL
OWEN REGINALD FRANK LEEAR 23-04-17 Essex Regiment 1st Bn. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) 88th Coy. ARRAS MEMORIAL
McDOUGALL GEORGE 30-03-18 Manchester Regiment 2nd/8th Bn. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) 66th Bn. POZIERES MEMORIAL
AUCHINLECK ARMAR LESLIE 17-09-16 Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 4th Bn. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) 123rd Coy. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
MOCKLER FRANCIS GEORGE ROSS 01-07-16 Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Bn. Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) unknown THIEPVAL MEMORIAL


Some quick notes: (LLT Link)

  • Thanks to Trevor's great book, we know that Captain Crawford (page 164) was in an SE5a #C5545 and was seen near Bucquoy in combat with 2 EAs, one of which claimed down at Bapaume (57c.H.27 - northwest of remains) and the other northwest of Albert (57d.W.28 - southeast of remains). Neither alternative would put Captain Crawford near the remains, however he was in the general area so let us not throw him out yet! I think he would have been identified by way of plane parts and flight clothing.
  • Captain Owen was attached to the 88th Coy MGC, so 29th Division, the war diary of which starts in April 1916 (page 3 of 349). At the time of his death they were near Les Fosses Farm at Monchy-le-Preux (51b.O.1). That places his 8,500 yards southeast of Arras and well out of the area of the remains - he is off the list.
  • Captain McDougal would be in the new 66th Bn (March 1918) so in the 66th Division. The 66th Bn MGC formed on 11 March 1918 as Divisional Troops (LLT Link). I am not sure how to find that war diary on Ance$try, as they only list the companies under the Divisions and there is no category for "Divisional Machine Gun". Unfortunately the war diary for March 1918 appears to be missing, as it jumps from February to April (page 96 of 494). We can get some idea of where he may have been by looking at casualties on 30 March 1918 from that battalion. For example, Private Poole is buried at Namps-au-Val British Cemetery, southeast of Amiens, probably DOW at the CCS. On the 29th Private Packer had been killed and is buried at the La Chapelette British and Indian Cemetery , Peronne (east of Amiens, south of Bapaume).
  • Captain Auchinleck was attached to the 123rd Coy, which puts him in 41st Division at the time of his death. That shows up in the war diary under "Brigade Machine Gun Company", which then says 123rd Machine Gun Coy (war diary page 2 of 109). He is reported killed with 2nd Lt. Gospel (?) when their position was heavily shelled (war diary page 12 of 109). They were in the vicinity of Montauban (57c.S.27), which is about 3,000 yards southeast of Mametz Wood where the remains were recovered. At that time, HQ and the reserve guns were moved forward to south of Flers (57c.N.31) which could be 5,000 yards northeast in the opposite direction from the remains. I don't see that he can be linked to the remains at 57d.X.18, as he is too far removed from the remains.
  • Captain Mockler is "left hanging" as we do not know to which MGC unit he was attached.There is nothing we can do at present with the available information. The date is correct for the attack on Mametz Wood, if he was in the area.

It appears from the above that it is necessary to find out which battalion Captain Francis George Ross Mockler was with at the time.


Do you know about this man?

The Channel Islands and the Great War

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Perfect, that answers the question:


He (Private Joiner) remained with the Hampshires for only six weeks, and on 12 April he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps as Private 31748. After two months training with the Machine Gun Corps, he was posted to France, travelling from Folkestone to Boulogne on 16 June, reaching the base depot at Camiers, 20km south of Boulogne, on 19 June.


On 5 July 1916, Herbert was posted to the 11th Company of the Machine Gun Corps at Mailly-Maillet, 100km south-east of the base camp. The company was part of the 4th Division, 11th Infantry Brigade, (comprising the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, the 1stBattalion, Hampshire Regiment, the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade and the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment) which had suffered heavy casualties in the early days of the Battle of the Somme, including the death of the commanding officer, Captain Francis George Ross Mockler M.C.


LLT Link


Mailly-Maillet is west of Beaumont-Hamel and 12,500 yards or more northwest of Mamatz Woods. Not him.

Edited by laughton
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5 hours ago, laughton said:

He is reported killed with 2nd Lt. Gospel (?)

 Lt Goepel

5th Bn.
Seaforth Highlanders

attd. 123rd Coy.
Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)



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Do you know about this man?


Could not figure out where I had seen this face before. Just hit me - he was the Inn Keeper on "Faulty Towers". Even we Canadian's love good British humour!


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  • 1 year later...


 I certainly know about Auchinleck (was CO 123rd ab initio) and Goepel, though I'm not 100% that I have the right Macintosh. My grandfather was not very far from them and wrote to his family a week later

"A letter has come in from McIntosh who was hit by the same shell that killed poor old Auchinleck & wee Goepel. He was not so badly wounded after all, altho' he was unconscious & remembered nothing till he was in hospital. His foot, head & neck were hit what a very narrow escape he had. The other two, poor fellows, were unrecognisable.



This might be associated with your 'unknown British Captain MGC'  ?.


This is from the 123 Coy War diary.

Guns still in same position, although heavily shelled. Capt. Auchinleck & 2/Lt Goepel killed at 2.30pm 2/Lt MacIntosh wounded. Pte Yardley killed at 3pm. Other ranks wounds 13. During the night of 17th/18th Company withdrawn from trenches.

Edited by JulianB
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