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History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps (1919)

Borden Battery

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I am searching for a clean copy of the following material:

H.T. Logan and M.R. Levey, "History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, C.E.F." (1919)

I know the library at the Directorate of History, DND, in Ottawa, Canada has an original copy. However, this document is not loaned out. Do any members have access to a clean copy of this primary reference document?


- Borden Battery

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  • 10 years later...

WRITTEN, February – August, 1919, in Bonn, London and Ottawa by
Major H.T. Logan, M.C. and Captain M.R. Levey, M.M., assisted by :-

Brig.-Gen. R. Brutinel, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.,
Major W.B. Forster, M.C.,
Lieut. W.M. Baker,
Lieut. P.M. Humme.

Canadian War Narrative Section. Chateau val Fosse, France; London; Shorncliffe and Ottawa.


Background Notes by the Transcribers

The following background notes to the transcription of this material is offered to the reader to understand the process, organization and weaknesses in this manuscript:-

This transcribed document is believed to be based on all the available materials of the 1919 post-Armistice work of Major Harry T. Logan and Captain Mark Robert Levey, "History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, C.E.F.“ This material is an unpublished 1919 manuscript from the Directorate of History and Heritage, Ottawa. The originals in Ottawa were not available for transcription at this time. Prior to the Great War, Harry T. Logan was an instructor in the Department of Classics at the University of British Columbia and Captain Levey was land surveyor by training.

The following people were directly involved in the discovery, assembly and subsequent transcription of the three parts of this manuscript: the Late Ron Edwards (1926-2015) from Powell River, BC, Les Fowler from Port Coquitlam BC, Brett Payne from Tauranga, New Zealand and Dwight Mercer from Regina, Saskatchewan. The manuscript copies for Part 1 and Part 2 were obtained from the University of British Columbia Fonds by Les Fowler. Ron Edwards provided the material on Independent Force in Part 3. Mssrs. Mercer and Payne assisted in the transcriptions.

The original 900+ page manuscript was on legal sized paper and typed in a font similar to Courier 12 pt. This current document has been reformatted to 8.5 inch by 11 inch and the font size reduced to News Times Roman and in a 10 pt font in an attempt to retain a similar formatting of the text and reduce the number of pages. Capitalized sections and key sections were established as new pages. In addition, a general attempt was made to keep organized material onto one page to be able to review each section in its entirety. Key-word searches are possible in this document.

It should also be noted this manuscript was unfinished in 1919 and many references and cross-references were not completed. Nevertheless, the transcription; wherever possible, has retained the original text, spellings and the sometimes incomplete references. Some maps and charts are referenced but were not available to the transcription team.

This document is the result of many hundreds of hours of transcription work from a poor quality copy of what appears to be a photocopy of mimeograph material. A bleeding of the ink also complicated any optical character reader scanning. It is believed about 20-30 pages of material may still be missing from this transcribed manuscript.

Expanded research has already begun based on this document and will be published on the CEF Study Group Discussion Forum.

Any errors and omissions in this transcribed document are hoped to be discovered over time with amendments made as necessary.

Short Biographical Sketches on the Authors Excerpt from History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps Transcription

Harry Tremaine Logan was born in Londonderry, Nova Scotia in 1887 during a period when the town was a rough and bustling iron ore mining and steel centre of some 5,000 people. Today only overgrown spoil piles remain. Logan was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia where his father was a Doctor of Divinity in the Presbyterian Church. Mark Robert Levey lists Kingston, Ontario as his 1893 birthplace and his Attestation Papers designate a Miss Pearl Levey, care of George Marshall of Hespeler (near Kitchener, Ontario), as next of kin. Levey and his sister Pearl may have been orphans and more research is required. However, the University of Alberta website refers to its important alumni as "Mark Robert Marshall" and Mark Marshall (Levey) but with the location of his birth being in Austria. If his birthplace was indeed Austria, this might explain the use of Kingston, Ontario and his listing as Presbyterian as his religion. Further, Hespeler is adjacent to Kitchener, Ontario - a city which changed its name from Berlin in 1916 during a period of strong anti-German feelings from the Great War.

Logan was a graduate of McGill University (1909) with Honours in Classics, a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Oxford University (1911). In 1913 he began teaching at McGill University College of British Columbia (McGill Collage) which was a private institution under an independent governing body, known as the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning, and gave courses "leading to degrees of McGill University". McGill College became part of the University of British Columbia in 1915 with Logan on the original faculty. Levey lists his occupation as surveyor on his September 1914 Attestation papers. He was 21 years old.

Levey's Attestation papers were filed on 19 September 1914 and he was taken on strength at Valcartier, Quebec on 23 September 1914 as Private 18215 - one of the "Originals". A notation in the upper left corner denotes the "Auto Machine Gun Brigade", however, he is not listed on the 1915 Nominal Roll for this Brigade and must have joined in Europe. In comparison, Logan's "Officer's Declaration Paper" is dated 13 April 1916 with him joining as a 29 year old lieutenant with the 72nd Overseas Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada) from Vancouver. Logan also had two years prior experience with the "King Edwards Horse" and lists both the British Columbia University's R.O.T.C which was attached to the "72nd S.H. of C." and the King Edwards Horse as prior military experience. Also known as the "King's Overseas Dominions Regiment", he was likely a member of the King Edwards Horse while at Oxford University prior to graduation in 1911.

Details remained to be researched, however, both men later served with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps and became integral with its operation and later in the recording of its history after the Armistice. The first mention of Levey in the "History" relates to the Canadian Machine Gun School for Officers which operated at Pernes just prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The excerpt states, "The Staff was composed of Major M.A. SCOTT, and Lieut. M.R. LEVEY, both of the 1st C.M.M.G. Brigade. Special lectures were also delivered by Lieut.-Colonel R. BRUTINEL. Classes consisted of 1 Officer from each Machine Gun Unit in the Corps. Each Course lasted 8 days."

In a 1962 CBC interview on Tape No.5 of the transcribed Brutinel Tapes Brutinel is quoted, "Intense training was given to the Officers and Gunners, thanks largely to that born teacher, Capt. Mark R. Marshall (Levey) and to Major G. Forster, my Brigade Major." So we can assume Levey had a detailed and in-depth knowledge of the doctrine and workings of the machine gun. In Tape No. 16 of the Brutinel Tapes, Brutinel further states, "This doctrine [machine gun employment] forged steadily ahead during these years of incessant fighting. It is implemented in great detail in the excellent books compiled by Major Harry Logan and Captain Mark R. Marshall (Levey), when in charge of the Historical Section of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in Bonn during the occupation of Germany. This precious compilation, too expensive to be printed and diffused, rests in the archives of the Historical Section of the department of National Defense." Later in the "History" it states "In the Summer of 1918, the addition of a Staff Learner to the Staff was authorised and Captain M.R. LEVEY was appointed to fill the position." Levey was now formally engaged in training of staff officers and the documentation and transfer of knowledge in the basic enhanced instruction of recruits as well as understanding the emerging machine gun doctrine which had proved so successful for the Canadian Corps.

Logan is mentioned in the "History" as being with the 16th Machine Gun Company and active in late October and early November 1917 at the Battle of Passchendaele. However, as he was likely the lead author of the "History" it can be supposed a natural modesty resulted in an understatement of his actions in the Machine Gun Corps. More research will be required on Logan who was awarded the Military Cross.

While Logan was a Rhodes Scholar with a known capacity for writing, Levey must have been recognized as both highly intelligent and with a detailed understanding of the training and doctrine of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps as the "Staff Learner" and "Chief Instructor". Brig-General Brutinel, always a keen judge of character and strategic view of the importance of this work, likely hand-selected these men to lead the documentation and writing of the drafts. It is assumed Brutinel would have done some of the editing. During the intense period of writing of this Corps manuscript, Logan was 32 and Levey 26 years old respectively.

In terms of exposure within the Machine Gun Corps, while Levey was involved in combat with the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade (The Motors), instruction of officers and other ranks and also in regular contact with headquarters; Logan was from the 16th Machine Gun Company and brought the background and experiences of the non-Motors "Emma Gees".

Both men rose through the ranks, with Levey starting as a raw private and Logan as a genteel lieutenant with exposure to the Imperial militia. A range of sub-units were within their experience and they would have had a good understanding of the horizontal and vertical elements of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps. Brutinel, having once been a conscripted sergeant in the French Army prior to emigrating to Canada, would have also understood the importance of the chain of command and in engaging the "Other Ranks". Nevertheless, as was the custom, officers get mentioned by name and it is rare for an "Other Rank" to be mentioned by name.

It must be assumed that Brutinel, Logan and Levey realized there was limited period of time and resources available to research and document the actions of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps. Starting in the Bonn, Germany during the latter part of occupation phase, to London, England and finally Ottawa, the writing team completed this draft between February – August, 1919 as listed on the front cover. Other administrative duties would have continued during this time and it was perhaps only during the latter part of the period where the authors could devote a major portion of their time. Time was a factor in writing the product.

With regard to the writing of the "History"; on 9 January 1919, the War Diary of Canadian Machine Gun Corps states Brutinel leaves Bonn for "the HESDIN [France] area to compile the history of the Canadian Corps for 1918". From Andenne, Belgium War Diary refer to Levey and Logan beginning work on the History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corp on 16-17 February 1919 respectively. Prior to this, there are numerous statements to working on the history in the War Diary. The War Diary further states on 1 April 1919 that Major Logan and the Narrative Section of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps was now located at 15 Tudor Street in London EC, whereas on 7 April 1919 the War Diary states the GOC the CMGC and the Canadian War Narrative Section staff moved from Hersin to Bramshott, England. Green Arbour House in London is a second location mentioned. It is not clear if the writers cohabited during the writing and this might explain some of the differences in the detail and writing styles of Part 1 and Part 2.

Capt. Levey, on 12 April 1919, is recorded in the War Diary as having just returned from England after distributing buttons and Honourable Discharge Certificates to members of the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade and the 2nd Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade. Finally, War Diary of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps states the unit will cease to exist as of 18 April 1919 and that all remaining officers were to report to the Adjutant-Generals Headquarters in London for "disposal". No further War Diary entries are recorded. Work on the drafts would have continued over the summer in Ottawa, Canada before everyone was discharged and "disposed" and the manuscript was turned over to Canadian War Narrative Section.

After discharge from the Army, Harry T. Logan returned to the University of British Columbia and continued a long career as a professor of the Classics. The UBC website states, "In 1936 he accepted appointment as Principal of Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School at Duncan, BC, where underprivileged youngsters from the United Kingdom were given a healthy start in life. He went to England as secretary of the Fairbridge Society in 1946 returning to the University as Head of the Department of Classics in 1949. He reached the age of retirement in 1952 but remained as Chairman of the Department for two years. Then, at the urging of his successor and his colleagues, he continued to teach and for thirteen remarkable years where scores of fortunate students read Plato and Vergil under Logan's tutelage. In March, 1967, the Department celebrated "the Colonel's" 80th birthday and in the following month he taught his final class. In the last four years he visited frequently and maintained his interest in men and things Classical." Harry Logan passed away on 25 1971, one week before his 84th birthday.

Capt. Levey settled in Edmonton, Alberta after his discharge and listed himself as an engineer in 1920 before entering medical school. He earned an MD from McGill University in 1926 before completing post-doctoral studies in McGill and Vienna, Austria. Returning to the University of Alberta he progressed from a demonstrator to lecturer before becoming a clinical professor of ophthalmology (1940) and then head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Rhinootolaryngology (1940-60). During the Second World War he re-enlisted in 1943, returned to medical practice after the war and retired in 1961. Marshall passed away October 23, 1990 in Toronto, Ontario.

Finally, it must be assumed that Brig-General Raymond Brutinel had a significant role in the review and editing of the drafts being produced by Logan and Levey. The following short biography is offered by the living descendents of Brutinel - pending.



Part I, Organization. 10
I. Introductory.

II. Early Period August 4th, 1914, to January 1st, 1916. 11
Infantry Battalion Machine Gun Sections.
Brigade Machine Gun Officer.

III. 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade and attached Batteries. 15
1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade.
Borden Motor Machine Gun Battery.
Eaton Motor Machine Gun Battery.
Yukon Motor Machine Gun Battery.
Grouping of Motor Machine Gun Units.

IV. Brigade Machine Gun Companies; December, 1915, to August, 1917. 29
Formation of Canadian Machine Gun Companies.
First Divisional Machine Gun Companies.
Second Divisional Machine Gun Companies.
Third Divisional Machine Gun Companies.
Fourth Divisional Machine Gun Companies.
Advantages of Company Organisation.

V. Appointment of Corps and Divisional Machine Gun Officers. 43
Canadian Corps Machine Gun Officer (October 29th, 1916).
Divisional Machine Gun Officer (December 1st, 1916).

VI. Reinforcements and Instruction; 1914 – 1916 47
Supply of Reinforcements.
Machine Gun Instruction.

VII. Increase of Machine Gun Strength; Special Instruction: January to March 1917. 52
Formation of Divisional Machine Gun Companies.
Canadian Machine Gun School for Officers.

VIII. Resume of Machine Gun Strength; March 31st, 1917. 56

IX. Formation of Canadian Machine Gun Corps; (April 16th, 1917). 62

X. Provisional Formation of Divisional Machine Gun “Battalions”. 66
Assembling of “Battalions”.
Observations on “Battalion” Organisation.

XI. Improvement in Instructional and Reinforcing arrangements. 73
Formation of Machine Gun Wing, Canadian Corps School; August 18th, 1917.
Officers’ Course Syllabus.
N.C.O.s’ Course Syllabus.
School for Anti-Aircraft Firing; January 1st. 1918.
Formation of C.M.G.C. Reinforcement Depot; September 15th, 1917.

XII. Formation of 2-Company Machine Gun Battalions; February 22nd, 1918. 87
Authorisation of New Establishment
Organisation and Provision of Personnel.
Details of each Units Reorganisation.

XIII. Final Organisation 3-Company Machine Gun Battalion; May 6th, 1918. 99
The New Establishment Tested; May 6th to November 11th, 1918.

XIV. Notes on Organisation and Employment of Machine Gun Battalions. 108
Tactical Employment.
Duties of Divisional Machine Gun Commander.

XV. Formation of 2 Cdn. Motor M.G. Brigades; December 25th, 1917, to May 31st, 1918. 113
Application for Formation of a 5-Battery M.M.G. Brigade.
Application for Formation of 2nd Cdn. M.M.G. Brigade; February 19th, 1918.
Formation, 2-Motor M.G. Brigades – Fifth Division M.G. Companies.

XVI. Formation of Canadian Corps Machine Gun School; May 6th, 1918. 134

XVII. Formation of Machine Gun Wing, Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp; June 10th, 1918. 136

XVIII. Conclusion. 141
Growth of Canadian Machine Gun Corps.
Nominal Roll of Officers; November 11th, 1918.
Influence of Canadian Corps Machine Gun Policy.
Canadian and British Machine Gun Policy.

Part II, Operations.
Introduction. 156
Preparatory Phase.
Plan of Attack: Use of Machine Guns.
Special Training, Construction and Occupation of Battle Positions.
Operations: April 9th, 1917.
Subsequent events: April 10th to 14th 1917.
General Observations.

PASSCHENDAELE: October 7th, 1917 to November 20th, 1917. 185
General Plan of Operations.
Reliefs and Moves from FIRST to SECOND ARMY.
Machine Gun Preparations.
Interval between taking over Line and Phase VI.
Phase VI: October 26th, 1917.
Interval between Phase VI and Phase VII.
Phase VII: October 30th, 1917.
Interval between Phase VII and Phase VIII.
Phase VIII: November 6th, 1917.
Interval between Phase VIII and Phase IX.
Phase IX: November 10th, 1917.
Subsequent events, November 11th to November 20th, 1917.

Cdn. M.M.G. Brigades, Nov. 18th, 1917, to July 30th, 1918. 233
1st C.M.M.G.B. and attached Batteries, Nov. 18th, 1917 to March 22nd, 1918.
German Offensive: March 21st to April 10th, 1918. (1st C.M.M.G.B. and attached Batteries).
Canadian M.M.G. Units, April 11th, to July 30th, 1918.

AMIENS: July 30th, 1918, to August 25th, 1918. 267
Operations: August 8th, 1918.
Operations: August 9th, 1918.
Operations: Reliefs, Moves: August 10th to 25th, 1918.

CAMBRAI: Phase I: August 26th to 28th, 1918. 308
Operations: August 26th, 1918.
Operations: August 27th, 1918.
Operations: August 29th, 1918.

CAMBRAI: Phase II: August 28th to September 5th, 1918. 315
Minor Operations, August 30th to September 1st, 1918.
Capture of DROCOURT-QUEANT LINE, September 2nd, 1918.
Operations: September 3rd to 5th, 1918.

CAMBRAI: Phase III: September 5th to October 1st, 1918. 340
Preliminary Period, September 5th to 26th, 1918.
Capture of CANAL du NORD LINE and BOURLON WOOD, September 27th, 1918.
Operations: September 28th, 1918
Operations: September 29th, 1918
Operations: September 30th, 1918
Operations: October 1st, 1918

CAMBRAI: Phase IV: October 2nd to October 12th, 1918. 384
Preliminary Period: October 2nd to 8th, 1918.
The Capture of CAMBRAI: October 9th, 1918.
Operations: October 10th and 11th, 1918.
First Battalion, C.M.G.C., October 3rd to 12th, 1918.

DOUAI to MONS: October 12th to November 11th, 1918. 404
First Stage: CANAL de la SENSEE to VALENCIENNES. 407
Second Battalion, C.M.G.C., October 12th to 19th. (-Nov. 6th), 1918.
Fourth Battalion, C.M.G.C., October 12th to 29th, 1918.
First Battalion, C.M.G.C., October 12th to 21st. (-Nov, 11th), 1918.
Third Battalion, C.M.G.C., October 12th to November 2nd, 1918.

Second Stage: Capture of MONT HOUY and VALENCIENNES. 418
Fourth Battalion, C.M.G.C., October 30th to November 2nd, 1918.

Third Stage: VALENCIENNES to MONS. 422
Fourth Battalion, C.M.G.C., November 3rd to 6th (-Nov. 11th), 1918.
Second Battalion, C.M.G.C., November 7th to 11th, 1918.
Third Battalion, C.M.G.C., November 3rd to 11th, 1918.
Casualties and Communications.

- - - - - - - - - Part 3 - - - - - - - - -

I. AMIENS. 427
Formation and Organisation of Cdn. Ind. Force.
The Battle.
General Observations.
Canadian Corps Returns to the First Army.

II. CAMBRAI, Phase I: August 26th to 30th, 1918. 444
The Battle.
Brutinel’s Brigade (Composite Bde.)

III. CAMBRAI, Phase II: August 31st to September 4th, 1918. 452
Plans of Engagement.
The Battle.
Organisation of Brutinel’s Brigade on a semi-permanent Basis.

IV. CAMBRAI, Phase III: September 5th to October 1st, 1918. 463
Preparations for the Attack.
The Battle.

V. CAMBRAI, Phase IV: October 2nd to 12th, 1918. 469

VI. SENSEE CANAL to VALENCIENNES, October 12th to 28th, 1918. 477
Action of Units with the Fourth Cdn. Division.
Action of Units with the First Cdn. Division.
Withdrawal of Units from the Line.

VII. Capture of MONT HOUY and VALENCIENNES: October 28th to November 2nd, 1918. 492

VIII. VALENCIENNES to MONS: November 3rd to 11th, 1918. 495

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