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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Machine Gun Guards


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I'm trying to research my Great Uncle's war service in the Irish Guards & Machine Gun Guards. I really know nothing about The Guards so if anyone can help with the following...

Were Guardsmen drafted into the Machine Gun Guards or did they volunteer?

Were the MGG considered "elite" / "malingerers"/ neither by other units?

Did they get any special training? If so, could this have been back in Blighty?

Did the MGG fight as a single unit or were they divided up into companies / platoons in support of other units?

In which actions did they fight?

My great Uncle died of wounds at Doullens casualty clearing station 30/3/1918 and is buried in the Communal Cemetery Ext. No. 1. His gravestone says Machine Gun Guards but the badge depicted is the Guards Machine Gun Regt. Am I right in assuming that the badge is wrong?

Thanks in advance for any help answering the above,


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Hello Simon

In Spring 1918 the Household Cavaly were converted into machine-gun battalions which fought as Army Troops, not attached to a division. In May 1918 1st and 2nd Life Guards and RHG became 1st, 2nd and 3rd Bns MG Guards (formed April 1917), but the title was changed in the same month to Gds MG Regt.

The Gds Div MG Bn (formed in March 1918 from the brigade MG Cos) also joined them to become 4th Bn Gds MG Regt, and a 5th (Reserve) Bn was formed at home to provide drafts.

Shortly after the War the Household Cavalry regts were re-constituted and Gds MG Regt ceased to exist, although it did provide a guard on th 1919 King's Birthday Parade.

It looks as if your man was in what became their 4th Bn.

Source: J B M Frederick, Lineage Book of the British Army.


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To build on what Mr C says, the History of the Guards Division (Cuthbert Headlam, DSO) has a brief Appendix on the unit. If you wish, I can scan it and e-mail it to you if you let me have an e-mail address.

I was intending a weekend at the Rose Bowl, but the weather forecast is foul :angry: , so I'll need somethng to do.

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Thanks for the images Steven. Very helpful for putting things in a chronological context.


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