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Machine Gun Corps- Service Numbers- issue dates ?


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Lincspoacher

Hello Groundsman!

 

thank you for your help could you tell me your grandfather's service number to check his details? If he did complete his basic training in the June of 1917, then his case could be like my own great grandfather's joining the army in 1916 and he would have got his Mgc service number on his transfer from the reserves before the specialist course at Clipstone camp or Belton park. As you say he would then qualify to either join a new company being formed from trainees in the UK or at a Mg depot abroad, or he would have waited to be sent to fill vacancies in existing companies active in the field. In each case he would have spent a short time at an overseas base depot like Camiers in France and then to the frontline.

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On 14/02/2019 at 19:33, rolt968 said:

I am not sure if this is the right place to post this information. I have not tried to add it to the database as for reasons which will follow I am not exactly clear on exactly which date the numbers were allocated:

 

I am working on Pte/L/Cpl Charles Stormont Nicoll, MGC, 20197, killed in 1917 serving with 176 Company MGC. He was in the original contingent of 1/7 Gordon Highlanders (SN 610). After a week or so of puzzling it dawned on me that he was probably an original member of 153 Company MGC.

!53 Company was formed at Fremont on 12 January 1916. On 23 March 1916, the War Diary records that the TF men had been asked to re-attest in the Regular Army and that 114 had so far signed forms, but there were a few men who were away and still had to sign forms.

 

On 28 March the War Diary notes that orders had arrived which included the serial numbers for 124 men who had re-attested. Alas it does not say what the numbers were. However between 5 and 20 May the War diary list the first casualties:

5 May

Pte J Milne 20210 (kia)

Pte H Church 20201 (slightly wounded)

20 May

L/Cpl J Hunter 20142 (kia)

Pte H Cunningham 20152 (kia)

Pte W Goudie 20224 (wounded - died the following day)

Pte G Young 20137 (wounded)

 

From my point of view they neatly bracket my man's 20197.

 

I hope this is of use to someone.

RM

 

My great grandfather Sgt James Goodall Mcleod 

 was in the 5th Gordon Highlanders and was transfered to the M.G.C  no 20225 any ideas what regiment he joined or date.

I see that Pte Gouldies no was 20224 one number below his.

Thanks

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9 hours ago, Digitalped said:

My great grandfather Sgt James Goodall Mcleod 

 was in the 5th Gordon Highlanders and was transfered to the M.G.C  no 20225 any ideas what regiment he joined or date.

I see that Pte Gouldies no was 20224 one number below his.

 

Welcome to the forum. 

 

If you have not already done so there is much information on researching a soldier on the Long Long Trail website, link top right.  You will also find a brief history of the formation of the MGC and how it fits into the structure of the Army.

 

Sgt 2134 McLeod was in the original cohort described above who transferred to 153 Coy on its formation.   The numbers of the men who transferred from the 1/5th and 1/7th Gordons run from 20168 to 20227 in the Medal Rolls.  When the original companies were formed from the machine gun sections of the Battalions within a Brigade  they tended to retain their original affinity and one of the officers who transferred from the 1/5 Gordons was Lt Troub who was put in charge of 'C' section.  It therefore seems likely this was Sgt McLeod's section.  The 14-15 Star Roll lists the original Battalion I make it 29, for some reason Macleod is outside the main group which runs from 20168 to 20195 but the reason for that will probably remain a mystery.  The main block from the 1/7th starts at 20196 to 20227.

 

If you subscribe to Ancestry the war diary of 153 Coy MGC is here

or can be downloaded for free during the pandemic from TNA https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354782

(You can also download the 5th Gordons and 153 Brigade diaries from the same site).

 

In March 1918 the MGC was reorgainsed again and 153 Company became part of 51st Battalion MGC.  We don't know, without further study whether or not Sgt McLeod remained with 153 Coy throughout the war.

 

 

 

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Hi Lincspoacher,

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

My grandfather's service number was 106800 which would place him as completing his training around August 1917 I believe, thus slightly later than your grandfather? 

I have found out quite a bit of information re his captivity - and the fact that he was in the army of occupation (news to all of us!) - but his dates of enlistment and transfer to an active unit are proving somewhat confusing.

 

I have updated the database with his service number and would like to thank you for taking on such a fantastic project.

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11 hours ago, Groundsman said:

but his dates of enlistment and transfer to an active unit are proving somewhat confusing.

 

Arthur William Leaton was born on 21st May 1898, at Woodford Northamptonshire.  Under the terms of the Military Service Act all lads of eighteen were ‘deemed to have enlisted’.  Those born in 1898 were placed in Class ‘A’ and were told they would be called up when aged eighteen years and eight months.  It is possible he voluntarily attested but in any event in September 1916 the order was amended and they were told they would be called up a month earlier.  Tis mobilisation began in October 1916.

 

Leaton would have reported to the Depot at Northampton, no earlier than December 1916 (eighteen and seven months).  

Along with all recruits at this time he would be posted to the Training Reserve.  He was in all probability posted to the 99th Training Reserve.

On the 21st June 1917 a number of men were posted from the 99th TR to the 2nd and 4th Bns MGC (e.g. 106795 Morley  - 106806 Dallow).  These were Training Battalions of the MGC.

 

Dallow joined the BEF  (Draft 179) 4 September 1917.  This is the earliest date I can find among the cohort's surviving records, another was posted in January 1918.  As Pte Leaton was nineteen in May 1917 we can assume he was in one of the earlier drafts from this group.

 

I notice Pte Leaton gave his unit, when taken prisoner,  as 45th Battalion. This is impossible.  As the 1918 reorganisation of the MGC had not bedded in I'd suggest he was posted to 45 Company in 15th Division.  The war diary for the 15th Battalion shows two guns, “who held on too long” captured on the 21st March.  The guns were under the command of a Serjt Edwards, It may be a coincidence, many machine gunners were killed or captured that day but I wonder if we can tie Edwards to Pte Leaton in the ICRC records?

 

I can't see any reinforcement drafts in the 45 Coy. war diary to support this hypothesis.

 

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Lincspoacher

just got the next batch 21386 - 21419 seems to be mainly 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who were at Gallipoli then as before joined the 87th coy Mgc in Egypt. Some were also 2nd battalion men who 1st served in france in 1914 and later transferred to the 1st battalion then to the Mgc, That could be the 87th brigade series of men done now and 88th brigade is next?

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Thanks Kenf - I doff my cap to you - that's made things a lot clearer.

 

I too had recorded Arthur Leaton's unit as 45th Company although I hadn't noticed anywhere that he gave his unit as 45th Battalion.

 

I also tried to find a link to Sjt. Edwards but after many, many hours wading through records was unable to do so. I did however, find a link to another prisoner in the 45th Company who, according to records, was captured at the same location on the same date - a private 104133 Noel Twiddy. As guns were left behind from each company to cover the later Monchy Le Preux withdrawal these two could be linked - but perhaps I'm clutching at straws!

 

 

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Have added George Coppard's transfer to 37th Company MGC on 5th Feb 1916 - from his book in which he gives concise details of his new service number, 19012

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Just  added 1st batch of men to the new 88th coy Mgc, formed in 88th brigade 29th division while in Egypt. 21420 - 21454 being on average men from the 1st Essex regiment who joined the Mgc after Gallipoli, some were new recruits though others were pre war men who had been on garrison on the tropical island of Mauritius!

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Just  added 1st batch of men to the new 88th coy Mgc, formed in 88th brigade 29th division while in Egypt. 21455 - 21489 being on average men from the 2nd Hampshire regiment who joined the Mgc after Gallipoli, or maybe France as only date so far I found was 26.4.16?  Lead by the decorated CSM C Newman MID, MM, DCM, MSM

Edited by Lincspoacher
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Just  added next batch of men to the new 88th coy Mgc, formed in 88th brigade 29th division while in Egypt. 21490 - 21520 being on average men from the 4th Worcestershire regiment who joined the Mgc after Gallipoli and could have been after unit reached France no dates yet to say?

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1 hour ago, Lincspoacher said:

21490 - 21520 being on average men from the 4th Worcestershire regiment who joined the Mgc after Gallipoli and could have been after unit reached France no dates yet to say?

 

21490 Phillips

21511 Marshall

Transfer 20/2/1916  Looks like they were posted in Egypt, just prior to France.

 

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thank you ken48 that fits the date I was expecting for them all joining in Egypt, seems the date I had for the 2nd Hampshire regiment should be the same and the one I found was an error!

 

just added a group 21521 - 21537 of mainly 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers that were part of the 1st to join the new 21st coy Mgc, 21st brigade in 30th division on the 8th March 1916 in France.

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just added a group 21538 - 21562 of mainly 2nd Wiltshire Regiment veterans of the war in Belgium, that were part of the initially strength to join the new 21st coy Mgc, 21st brigade in 30th division on the 8th March 1916 in France.

Edited by Lincspoacher
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On 08/06/2020 at 09:12, kenf48 said:

 

Welcome to the forum. 

 

If you have not already done so there is much information on researching a soldier on the Long Long Trail website, link top right.  You will also find a brief history of the formation of the MGC and how it fits into the structure of the Army.

 

Sgt 2134 McLeod was in the original cohort described above who transferred to 153 Coy on its formation.   The numbers of the men who transferred from the 1/5th and 1/7th Gordons run from 20168 to 20227 in the Medal Rolls.  When the original companies were formed from the machine gun sections of the Battalions within a Brigade  they tended to retain their original affinity and one of the officers who transferred from the 1/5 Gordons was Lt Troub who was put in charge of 'C' section.  It therefore seems likely this was Sgt McLeod's section.  The 14-15 Star Roll lists the original Battalion I make it 29, for some reason Macleod is outside the main group which runs from 20168 to 20195 but the reason for that will probably remain a mystery.  The main block from the 1/7th starts at 20196 to 20227.

 

If you subscribe to Ancestry the war diary of 153 Coy MGC is here

or can be downloaded for free during the pandemic from TNA https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354782

(You can also download the 5th Gordons and 153 Brigade diaries from the same site).

 

In March 1918 the MGC was reorgainsed again and 153 Company became part of 51st Battalion MGC.  We don't know, without further study whether or not Sgt McLeod remained with 153 Coy throughout the war.

 

 

 

Thank you taking the time for answering my question i will download the war diaries and see where it takes me. Sgt Mcleod was wounded in December 1916 and declared unfit for active service but he became a machine gun instructor but i am not sure where about he would of been sent.

Regards Peter

 

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just added a group 21563 - 21589 of mainly 2nd Yorkshire Regiment veterans of the war in Belgium, that were part of the initially strength to join the new 21st coy Mgc, 21st brigade in 30th division on the 8th March 1916 in France.

Edited by Lincspoacher
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just added a group 21591 - 21607 of mainly 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment who were on garrison in south Africa when war broke out, that then gave up their machine gunners to form part of the strength of the new 21st coy Mgc, 21st brigade in 30th division on the 8th March 1916 in France. It looks like they were the last group of men to join at the time.

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Next group of men 21608 - 21633 I have concluded from the evidence to be TF men from the Seaforth Highlanders, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and Gordon Highlanders who formed the initial strength of 152nd coy Mgc in 152nd Brigade 51st Division?  Reference says the this unit was established 16.1.16 in France but couldn't find anything to support this date?

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Next group of men 21633 -21662 I have concluded from the evidence to be from the 7th KORLR, 7th E Lanc's, 7th S Lanc's and the 7th LNLR  who joined the recently arrived 56th coy Mgc, in 56th Brigade 19th division. The company was UK formed at Belton Park getting to France 16.2.16 so this could be a likely joining date for these men unless shown by records?

 

21663 -21669 mixed units so cannot say as to their destination Mg coy or date of joining, an unexplained group at the moment?

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Ray Tomlinson

I'm fortunate insofar as I can identify precisely when my grandfather, Lawrence Tomlinson, joined his MGC unit in France. His original service No. was 17469 and he attested on 26/2/1917 and on 31/12/1917 he was stationed at Clipstone Camp, Nottinghamshire. He eventually served as Private 131812 with "B" Co. 41 MGC and he told me in 1969, when we arrived in Steenvoorde on the French/Belgian border, that this was the first place they were taken to when they were sent abroad.

 

Conveniently, the 41 Bn MGC War Diary has an entry on 1/4/1918 which says that “During the morning two large drafts arrived from the base making 5 officers and 205 men in all. These were posted to different companies and the the battalion was made over strength”. This seems to be the only occasion the Bn passed through Steenvoorde.

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Next group of men 21663 - 21686 from the evidence to be from the men who joined 53rd coy Mgc, in 53rd Brigade 18th Division. On paper they should have been from the 6th Royal Berkshire's, the 10th Essex's, the 8th Norfolk's and the 8th Suffolk's men of the new armies.

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Hello Ray Tomlinson thank you for adding your grandfathers transfer details, it's rare to have a 1st hand account from a veteran lived through the war and was able to tell you the story of how it really was.

 

21687 - 21695 another group of men from mixed sources that could provide information on further study?

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On the 18th March 1918 123rd Company MGC but on that day they became B Company 41st Battalion.

 

Which Company did Lawrence Tomlinson serve with before March 1918  ?????

So far I've got 120 odd men from the 123rd but sadly I can't find any 131 let alone 1318 sequences !

Edited by JulianB
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Ray Tomlinson

Hi Julian,

Our paths have crossed before on the forum but it was some years ago.

 

First, to correct a typo, it was 5/4/1918 and not 1/4; apologies. Second, pardon my potential ignorance but I'm not sure sure what you mean in your first sentence. The particular page in the war diary I'm looking at covers 1-5/4/1918 and is headed "41st Battalion, The Machine Gun Company".

 

As I've said, he was attested on 26/2/1917. According to his "Cert of Transfer to Reserve on Demobilisation" (dated 19/11/1919), he was called up for service on 31/3/1917 for the 67th Training Res Bn. and also served in the 84th Training Reserve Bn. His MIC only refers to his MGC service.

 

The No.131812 is definitely correct as I have it on several documents and his medals.

 

Cheers

Ray 

 

 

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Hello Ray - yes, the name rang a bell!

The change over from Brigade companies into a new (Divisional) Battalion was rather chaotic because of the imminent German offensive.  I have two officers of 123 Coy who said they were in 123 and only after the battle(s) were they were properly sorted out.

It sounds Lawrence T went straight into B Coy, 41 Bn MGC without having been in the old companies.

Never mind.

Anyway, good to hear from you again. I'm now semi-retired so I have a bit more time to carry on working on 123 Coy.

best wishes

J

Edited by JulianB
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