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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Battalion Companies


PeteB

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Hi,

Just a quick question. My grandfather was a Lewis gunner in the 1st Sherwood Foresters, B company. Would he have stayed with that company throughout his service, or were men moved from company to company as the situation demanded?

Thanks!

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Peter,

My understanding is that whilst there would have been a strong desire to keep men together then he would have moved as required.  For example if C company took very heavy casualties then experienced men from other companies may well have moved across to augment the largely very green draft replacements.

A look at the war diary would aid your understanding of what the battalion was doing at the time you can date his B Coy reference and if there were heavy casualties after this point.

Others  may take a different view of course.

Andy 

 

 

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I'm not sure if it was the same for the regular army, but in the Territorial Force (specifically the one I'm researching , 48th South Midlands Division, 145th Brigade) at the start of 1916 they set up a separate Machine Gun Company and Trench Mortar Battery for each brigade, which I believe they resourced by moving the relevant people from the brigades infantry battalions into the new companies. So he may have started out in a company in the regular battalion but been transferred to the Machine Gun Company when it was formed (looking at the LLT I see that the 24th Brigade to which the Foresters belongs had a '24 Machine Gun Company' formed on 19th January 1916. 

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13 minutes ago, Poohsticks said:

I'm not sure if it was the same for the regular army, but in the Territorial Force (specifically the one I'm researching , 48th South Midlands Division, 145th Brigade) at the start of 1916 they set up a separate Machine Gun Company and Trench Mortar Battery for each brigade, which I believe they resourced by moving the relevant people from the brigades infantry battalions into the new companies. So he may have started out in a company in the regular battalion but been transferred to the Machine Gun Company when it was formed (looking at the LLT I see that the 24th Brigade to which the Foresters belongs had a '24 Machine Gun Company' formed on 19th January 1916. 

That is quite true for regular battalions also, although for the most part each infantry battalion’s existing machine gun section (in accordance with establishments) moved across. They were soon after absorbed by the newly formed Machine Gun Corps, but were initially wearing their parent unit insignia.  From memory I believe this situation is recounted in the iconic book, ‘With a Machine Gun to Cambrai’.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Brigade Machine Gun Companies were established by withdrawing existing battalion MG Sections, which were equipped with Vickers machine guns. Lewis gunners replaced them in the infantry battalions.

Ron

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Thanks Guys! I, too, thought that he may have been in a machine gun company, but then found something which made me think that the machine gun companies were armed with heavy machine guns, and the lewis gunners stayed in their battalion companies. Thanks for confirming that, Ron!

Thanks for all your replies. Any more snippets will be gratefully received!

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29 minutes ago, PeteB said:

Thanks Guys! I, too, thought that he may have been in a machine gun company, but then found something which made me think that the machine gun companies were armed with heavy machine guns, and the lewis gunners stayed in their battalion companies. Thanks for confirming that, Ron!

Thanks for all your replies. Any more snippets will be gratefully received!

The machine gun sections of 1914 were initially equipped with 2 Maxim guns (smooth barrel jacket), that were quickly replaced with Vickers guns (ribbed barrel jacket) and increased to x 4.  If you search within the forum using search term “machine gun section” you will find a lot to read and learn from.  It’s worthwhile remembering that this forum has existed for some time now and there are few questions that haven’t been profitably covered previously.

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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