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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Machine Gun Corps Class Z.


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My Grandfather volunteered for the 2nd Bn. Essex Regiment at the age of 15 end of 1903. So I take it his official enlistment started in 1907 and lasted till 1914, when he was fighting in the trenches in France. At some stage he ended up in the Machine Gun Corps, C.Q.M.S., 34 Depot Company in Grantham and was transferred to the “Z” Reserve in 1919 (Class Z.A.R. 8-9-19, a/WO/Cl II.)

Question: I understand that Class Z.A.R. was used for Kitchener’s New Armies. Could this mean that he volunteered for the M.G.C. and that his status as a regular changed to a New Army volunteer?

Question: he was renumbered when he joined the M.G.C., service number 8652. Now I know this is tricky and I studied the entries here on this subject extensively. The numbering of the M.G.C. Infantry started at 3000 and that Grantham was just about flooded with recruits (literally too) at the end of 1915, beginning of 1916. Is it possible to derive from his service number when he might have joined up?

Ian Bowbrick said on Mar 15 2004, 10:24 PM in Post #28 :

One question that not even Jim Parker knows is when MGC men who transferred were issued with their new MGC numbers; was it on arrival at Grantham/Clipstone or just prior to going overseas at the end of their MG training?

If this question hasn’t been answered yet, I might be able to furnish the correct answer: the men were renumbered at Grantham after transferral from their former unit to a Depot company.

(My source is very hush, hush…….. :lol: )

Comments please and thanks in advance,


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The Class Z Reserve had nothing to do with the New Armies. It was formed by an Army Order of 3 Dec 1918, because of fears that Germany might restart hostilities. At least one million trained men were estimated to needed to counter this threat. The Z reserve was stood down on 31 March 1920.

Terry Reeves

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Thanks for your reply Terry,

Guess my information was wrong or I interpreted it incorrectly.

Do you happen to know how these men were selected, what criteria were used, were they regulars (at least the few that were still alive) and who else?


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