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pjwmacro

No. 6 Armoured Motor Battery or 6th Company Machine Gun Corps, India 1919-1921

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pjwmacro

I believe the 6th Machine Gun Company, served in Waziristan 1919-1921 as No. 6 Armoured Motor Battery with the No. 3 Echelon of the Tochi Column in November 1919. This column under the command of Maj Gen A. Skeen, CMG, began the advance toward Datta Kehl on 12 Nov 1919. Later No. 6 Armoured Motor Battery served with No. 1 Section of the Tank Line of Communications Defences from Dera Ismail Khan, commanded by Brig Gen R B Worgan, DSO, which had an operational area from Darya Khan to Hathala and later to half way between Khirgi and Jandola.

 

  • I believe a different unit from No 6 LAMB which served in Mesopatamia?
  • Equipped with 3 Minervas - based in Bannu?
  • I cannot find a War Diary - any ideas as to what unit it might sit under?
  • Who was the CO and key officers?

 

War Cars isn't hugely helpful. Can anyone help?

 

@david murdoch @charlesmessenger

 

Many thanks, Paul

 

(Sorry - I don't have a photo album or personal connection with this one!) 

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pjwmacro
13 minutes ago, Gardenerbill said:

6th AMB's time in Salonika

Thanks Gardenerbill.  I have come across your fascinating website before, but what I`m really struggling with is the variety of different, but very similar, names of units and the links between them.

 

I understand there was a 6th AMB which formed in the Middle East in 1915, possibly linked to an original RNAS Armoured Car Sqn?, was in Salonika in 1916/7, and in 1917 transfered over to Mesopotamia. where it remained until 1920 or 21, but as 6 Light Armoured Motor Battery when it seems to have disbanded.

 

At the same time, (1919-21) there appears to have been a No 6 Armoured Motor Battery in Waziristan, formed from personnel of the 6th Machine Gun Company, possibly brigaded as No 10 Armoured Motor Brigade,  This No 6 Armoured Motor Battery appears to have it's origins in the original ad hoc efforts to form Armoured Car units in India, and is the unit which I think was equipped with 3 x Minerva armoured cars based in Bannu.  But I`m not clear how this units was subsequently treated when the MGC was disbanded?

 

Then there is the 6th Armoured Car Company, which eventually became 6th Light Tank Company, RTC (Wwhilst confusingly remaining equipped with armoured cars). I have seen suggested (FIBIS website) that this unit was formed in Baghdad (possible link with the first 6th AMB?) in 1921 but from spare personnel of 1st & 2nd Armd Car Coys (ex-4th Bn Tank Corps). And it appears they took over the Austin armoured cars and personnel of 7th Light Armoured Motor Battery, Machine Gun Corps until they got new Rolls-Royces and then, at the end of 1921 went to India.

 

I feel I'm going round in circles.  Any help greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,. Paul

 

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Gardenerbill

Hi Paul,

Sorry can't help with all the post WW1 reorganisations but good luck with it. Have you seen the photograph in the Postcards topic post #6243 it looks like a Rolls Royce armoured car with the turret removed.

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pjwmacro
24 minutes ago, Gardenerbill said:

Hi Paul,

Sorry can't help with all the post WW1 reorganisations but good luck with it. Have you seen the photograph in the Postcards topic post #6243 it looks like a Rolls Royce armoured car with the turret removed.

 

Thanks again - hadn't seen that topic before. Agrre it looks like a Rolls Royce sans turret, but I have seen a similar photo fairly recently, and just wonder if it could be a Minerva?

 

Regards, Paul

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DavidOwen

Paul

 

I presume you have seen the 6LAMB War diaries?

Aug 17 - Feb 20 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/8446df81194545c9863969dc91504ddc

Mar 20 - Dec 20 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/9d512b95202643b18b3b1bec404f8e9c

 

And also the 10 AMB one? This one not yet digitised but makes mention of a number of AMB units. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C4558551

 

Regards

David

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Gardenerbill

There are some pictures of Minerva armoured cars in the 'WW1 Military Motors' topic in the Other Equipment sub forum here:

 

 

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david murdoch

Paul.

There are a couple of old threads mentioning 6th AMB. I'm pretty sure 6th L.A.B was actually  the predecessor unit to 6th L.A.M.B though it's sometimes been referred to as 6th A.M.B.

I think this may stem from Charles Messengers listing in the back of War where there is a 6th AMB is sitting in the list of L.A.Bs, but also in the list of A.M.Bs in India.

 

In India 6th AMB was involved in NWFF 1919 as there are a number of personnel (including original MMGS) men showing up on the GSM roll noted as being 6th A.M.Bty.

6th A.M.B was operating on the north west frontier in India with Minerva armoured cars and merged (absorbed by) 7th A.M.B in December 1919 and came under 10th A.M.Brigade (MGC) comprising 5th,7th and 16th A.M.Bs then taken over as 10th ACC Tank Corps in October 1921.

 

During NWFF 1919 the various A.M.Bs were all MGC(M) units and likely coming under HQ 1st A.M.Brigade (there are also a number of personnel also listed under this  as a unit). I think command of this was taken over by Nigel Fitzroy Somerset MC DSO ( ex  CO of 14th L.A.M.B) as he was transferred from Mesopotamia and attached Armoured Motor Brigade. May to September 1919. 

 

6th Machine Gun Company  - MGC(I) shows up as a separate unit on the GSM roll  - bearing in mind the roll covers  the periods NWFF 1919, Waziristan 1919-1921 and Mashud 1919-1920. There is a Captain G R H Bailey  who received Waziristan clasp possibly the CO. It's noted on his entry "Served with Wana Column and 1st I.I. Bde. Ladha.

 

Edited by david murdoch

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pjwmacro
10 hours ago, DavidOwen said:

6LAMB War diaries?

 

10 hours ago, DavidOwen said:

And also the 10 AMB one?

Thanks David.

I've not downloaded or seen them - but am aware they are there. But the 6 LAMB ones are for the Iraq based 6LAMB - and I am particularly interested in the Waziristan based 6 AMB / 6th Machine Gun Company.

The 10 AMB diary should have 6 AMB within it - but if it does its not listed. Will try and physically check when next in Kew.

Regards, Paul

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pjwmacro
10 hours ago, Gardenerbill said:

There are some pictures of Minerva armoured cars in the 'WW1 Military Motors' topic in the Other Equipment sub forum

Some great photos on there.

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pjwmacro
9 hours ago, david murdoch said:

6th Machine Gun Company

Thanks David

 

I think this is the heart of my confusion - is 6th Machine Gun Company a separate unit from 6 AMB? A rough count of the GSM roll for the Waziristan 1919-1921 clasp shows approximately 280 names with the 6 Coy. M.G.C. notation. Most have service numbers in the 780xxxx or 781xxxx - and most seem to  have been renumbered from 1xxxxxx, although there are a few xxxxx former numbers. I can also find a couple of Waziristan clasps specifically noted as 6th AMB.  But 280 men seems a lot to form a (Light?) Armoured Motor Battery - which would suggest the 6 Machine Gun Company is a different unit - from MGC(Infantry)? But if this is the case - I cannot find any mentions of 6 Coy MGC(I) in any of the literature, other than as an armoured motor battery.  

 

Still feel like I`m going round in circles!

 

Regards, Paul

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Maureene

 

From Dick Flory  13 June , 2004

"The 6th Machine Gun Company, served in Waziristan 1919-1921 as No. 6 Armoured Motor Battery with the No. 3 Echelon of the Tochi Column in November 1919. This coulmn under the command of Maj Gen A. Skeen, CMG, began the advance toward Datta Kehl on 12 Nov 1919. One lashkar of the Madda Kehl concentrated near the column's line of advance, but later dispersed without taking any action against the column. The column occupied Datta Kehl on 14 Nov 1919 after an RAF bombing raid. On 16 Nov 1919 General Climo met with a Waziri jirga that formally surrendered. 

Later No. 6 Armoured Motor Battery served with No. 1 Section of the Tank Line of Communications Defences from Dera Ismail Khan, commanded by Brig Gen R B Worgan, DSO, which had an operational area from Darya Khan to Hathala and later to half way between Khirgi and Jandola.

Regards. Dick Flory"

 

Cheers

Maureen

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pjwmacro
41 minutes ago, Maureene said:

From Dick Flory  13 June , 2004

Thanks Maureene

That's were my OP came from - via the FIBIS site! But Dick does not give any source for his info - and I still cannot track any documentation with regards the elusive 6th Machine Gun Company. Still feeling confused!

 

Regards Paul

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david murdoch
12 hours ago, pjwmacro said:

Thanks David

 

I think this is the heart of my confusion - is 6th Machine Gun Company a separate unit from 6 AMB? A rough count of the GSM roll for the Waziristan 1919-1921 clasp shows approximately 280 names with the 6 Coy. M.G.C. notation. Most have service numbers in the 780xxxx or 781xxxx - and most seem to  have been renumbered from 1xxxxxx, although there are a few xxxxx former numbers. I can also find a couple of Waziristan clasps specifically noted as 6th AMB.  But 280 men seems a lot to form a (Light?) Armoured Motor Battery - which would suggest the 6 Machine Gun Company is a different unit - from MGC(Infantry)? But if this is the case - I cannot find any mentions of 6 Coy MGC(I) in any of the literature, other than as an armoured motor battery.  

 

Still feel like I`m going round in circles!

 

Regards, Paul

Paul a typical 3 car A.M.B unit would have 18-20 personnel (going by a unit photo I have of 11th A.M.B).

Photo below is of a Minerva armoured car "somewhere in India" There appears to have been 8 of them  Two AMBs (3rd and 6th) being fully equipped with three each and two AMBs (8th and 14th) with one each in their compliment of three cars.

6th AMB would have ceased to exist by December 1919 being absorbed by 7th AMB.

 

British-Minerva-Armoured-Car-Indian-Pattern-ca-1917.jpg

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pjwmacro
49 minutes ago, david murdoch said:

6th AMB would have ceased to exist by December 1919 being absorbed by 7th AMB

 

Thanks David - great photo and that's helpful.

 

My conclusions:

  • The statement "The 6th Machine Gun Company, served in Waziristan 1919-1921 as No. 6 Armoured Motor Battery" is NOT correct.  This No 6 Armoured Motor Battery referred to appears to have it's origins in the original ad hoc efforts to form Armoured Car units in India, from MMGS/MGC(M) personnel, is the unit which was equipped with 3 x Minerva armoured cars based in Bannu, and was on NWF for Third Afghan War and 1919 Waziristan Campaign, before ceasing to exist December 1919 and being absorbed by 7th AMB.
  • There was a 6th AMB which formed in the Middle East in 1915, possibly linked to an original RNAS Armoured Car Sqn, was in Salonika in 1916/7, and in 1917 transfered over to Mesopotamia. where it remained until 1920 or 21, as 6 Light Armoured Motor Battery when it seems to have disbanded.
  • As the above unit disbanded, a new 6th Armoured Car Company, formed in Baghdad (although it may have been a transfer of title from the above unit?) in 1921 from spare personnel of 1st & 2nd Armd Car Coys (ex-4th Bn Tank Corps). This took over the Austin armoured cars (and personnel??) of 7th Light Armoured Motor Battery, Machine Gun Corps until they got new Rolls-Royces and then, at the end of 1921 went to India. This 6th Armoured Car Company eventually became 6th Light Tank Company, RTC (whilst confusingly remaining equipped with armoured cars).
  • And there then appears to be a completely separate 6 Coy MGC in Waziristan in 1919-21 - the 280 names on the medal roll - which I seem unable to find any documentation or other reference to. No idea what eventually happened to it, or whether it had a parent MGC Bn - but this is presumably a MGC(I) unit with no connection to armoured cars and subsequently the Tank Corps. (Keeping in mind of course that the MGC was disbanded in 1922.)

I'd welcome corrections, alternative suggestions or any other comments.  (Feeling a little less confused!)

 

Regards, Paul

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pjwmacro

Have changed the topic title here to reflect the fact I now believe that there was a separate unit from No 6 Armoured Motor Battery, namely 6th Company MGC. Particularly keen to find out a little more about the 280 men who appear on the Medal roll for the Waziristan 1919-21 named to this unit - and whether they had any link at all to armoured cars or to the tank corps.

 

@Maureene - do you have a link to an online version of the Official Account of Operations in Waziristan? I wonder if that has an orbat which might shed light on the problem?

 

Regards, Paul

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pjwmacro
15 hours ago, Maureene said:

If you scroll down this link you will see what is (known to me) available online

Maureene

Said it before and will doubtless do so again. YOU ARE A SUPER STAR.  Many thanks. There is enough of a reading list here to keep me going for months, including the Official Account of Operations in Waziristan which I was looking for.  I will report back if I can find an answer to the original problem.

 

Regards, Paul

Edited by pjwmacro

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pjwmacro

Okay, with many thanks to @Maureene. The answer to the question is No 6 Coy Machine Gun Corps is NOT the same unit as No. 6 Armoured Motor Battery - as per my conclusions at post #15. The answer lies in the official despatches of the C-in-C published in the London Gazette:

  • Published 2 Dec 20 covering ops from Nov 19 to May 20: this includes mention of No 6 Amoured Motor Battery. No mention of 6 Coy MGC.
  • Published Dec 22 covering ops from Apr to Dec 1921; No mention of 6 AMB, although No 7 AMB is mentioned (and  Nos 5 and 16 AMB)- but clearly identifies No 6 Coy Machine Gun Corps
  • Published Feb 24, covering ops Jan 22 to Apr 23. No 6 Coy MGC included as are Nos 7 and 10 Armoured Car Coys - Tank Corps
  • Published Nov 24 covering ops from Apr 23 to Mar 24. No mention of No 6 Coy MGC (MGC had disbanded by this stage) and does mention 9th Armoured Car Coy - RTC.

So the question now - does anyone know anything about the forming and disbandment of No 6 Coy MGC? Presumably both took place in India. The GSM roll for the Waziristan 1919-1921 clasp shows approximately 280 names with the 6 Coy. M.G.C. notation, so it was clearly a substantial unit.  Any further info welcomed.

 

Regards, Paul

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david murdoch
 
What I can see was 7th A.M.B was created in India in 1915 so presumably 6th as well. They may have pre dated MGC but then taken under control as MGC(M) units. As mentioned before 6th had three Minvervas (and a support vehicle) and 7th had three Mercedes in 1919. After the units combined the original compliments were replaced by 4 Jeffery-Russell Quads (4 x 4 - four wheel steering armoured trucks) used in Warizistan 1920. Then by 1921 part of 10th ACC.

10th ACC - India (II-1921)

 5th AMB 3 x Jeffery-Russell
 7th AMB 4 x Jeffery-Russell
13th AMB 3 x Wolseley 12/16
15th AMB 3 x Cadillac ?

16th AMB 3 x Wolseley 24/30

Back to the subject of 6th MGC Coy. I had a look at some of the men listed on the GSM roll. Going by the spread of previous service numbers they came from a range  of number allocations  and enlistment dates. Several I have looked at have service prior to MGC and also BWM/VM on their medal cards  - so not men who had served the war years only in India. It's likely the official records of this unit do not survive. Probably the best shot is to look further into the officer Captain George Ronald Hilton Bailey as his record should survive. He was 2nd Royal Warwickshire Regiment attached MGC and has a date of entry in France of 1/12/1914 as a Second Lieutenant.(He has a cracking MIC!) b.25 Oct 1893 d. 2 Jul 1978.  His record should state when he attached to MGC and in particular when he joined and left 6th Coy MGC. All his medals are to RWR rolls, but he went to Manchester Reg after MGC! His address on the MIC is C/O Grindley and Co. Bombay (chinaware company) so presumably he stayed on in India. He gets several hits in the newspapers and served again in WW2.

Noting in the NWFF part of the GSM roll the MGC(I) units follow the three digit MGC Coy numbering, but by then would have been part of various battalions. I have a feeling 6th Coy was put together for Waziristan from men from various other companies that were by then being demobilised. The original 6th MG Company, Joined 2nd Division 1/1/1916 and became B Coy, 2nd Battalion  MGC in March 1918.

 

 

   

 

DTrbg-AW0AANePI.jpg

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pjwmacro
7 hours ago, david murdoch said:

I have a feeling 6th Coy was put together for Waziristan from men from various other companies that were by then being demobilised

 

7 hours ago, david murdoch said:

It's likely the official records of this unit do not survive.

 

David, Many thanks for your help.  I reckon you are right on both counts. I`ll have a look for 

7 hours ago, david murdoch said:

Captain George Ronald Hilton Bailey

 

when next in TNA - but I couldn't find his service papers on a quick search. I`m guessing they`ll be held at APC Glasgow. He certainly sounds an interesting character. But having established that 6 Coy MGC is not an armoured unit, it's a lower priority at present.

 

Regards, Paul

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david murdoch

Paul - yes getting a bit away from my core research as well. I'll look more into 6th A.M.B for sure. The small Indian armoured units all appear to have been taken under MGC(M) from early on and then after absorbed into the Tank Corps AACs.

G R H Bailey record likely to be with APC as he was an ARP officer early in WW2 but left this position to re enlist in the Army. 

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