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The King's Own Scottish Borderers:

Great War - Inter-war - Second World War - Post-war

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The Great War

The King's Own Scottish Borderers consisted of Infantry Battalions that would have had an MG Section as part of its Battalion Headquarters. These weapons would have been brigaded when the Machine Gun Corps was formed in 1915. The guns, and crews, would have been formed into a Machine Gun Company.

During the Great War, the Battalions were distributed as follows:

1st

The 1st Battalion was part of the 87th Brigade, attached to the 29th Division.

As a unit of the 29th Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
The division had no existence before the outbreak of the Great War. Between January and March, 1915, the division assembled and mobilized in the Midlands, in the area Nuneaton-Rugby-Banbury-Stratford, with headquarters at Leamington. The 12 infantry battalions of which the division was composed were collected from Asia (10), Africa (1), and Europe (1). Of these 12 battalions, one came from China, three from different stations in Burma, six from six different stations in India, one from Mauritius, and the remaining battalion was an existing T.F. battalion from Edinburgh. The brigades were formed in the mobilization area. The mounted troops included a cavalry squadron from an existing yeomanry unit, and a cyclist company which was formed in the mobilization area. Of the artillery brigades, XV. R.H.A. was formed at Leamington, in January, 1915, two of its batteries came from India, and it was completed by a battery which had returned to England from the Western Front to be re-formed; XVII. R.F.A. was in India in August, 1914, and CXLVII. R.F.A. was formed at Leamington, in January, 1915. During mobilization, both field artillery brigades were extensively reorganised. The Highland Mountain Bde. was an existing T.F. formation, the 90th Heavy Bty. came from Nowgong (C.I.); and 14 Siege Battery and 460 (H.) Battery were new formations. The field companies, signal company, field ambulances, and train, were territorial force units.

The division embarked at AVonmouth on the 16th-22nd March, and proceeded via Malta (22nd March) to Alexandria, where the first transport arrived on the 28th March. The division disembarked at Alexandria, and on the 7th April re-embarkation began for Mudros (actually before the disembarkation of the whole division had been completed). On the evening of the 23rd April the ships of the covering force sailed from Lemnos and spent the following day anchored off Tenedos.

The landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula began at about 7 a.m. on the 25th April. For the rest of the year the 29th Division served on the Gallipoli Peninsula and took part in the following operations:-

1915
THE BATTLES OF HELLES
25 and 26 AprilThe Landing at Cape Helles.
26 AprilCapture of Sedd el Bahr.
28 AprilFirst Battle of Krithia.
01 and 02 MayEski Hissarlik.
06 to 08 MaySecond Battle of Krithia.
12 MayGurkha Bluff (29th Ind. Inf. Bde.).
04 JuneThird Battle of Krithia [VIII. Corps].
28 June to 02 JulyGully Ravine [VIII. Corps].
06 to 13 AugustKrithia Vineyard [VIII. Corps].

Between 16-21 August, 29th Divisional H.Q.; 86th, 87th, 88th Inf. Bdes.; 2/London, 2/Lowland, 1/W.Riding Fd. Cos.; 1/London Sig. Coy.; 87th, 88th and 89th Fd. Ambces moved to Suvla and came under IX. Corps. The 29th Divnl. Artillery remained at Helles under VIII. Corps.

THE BATTLES OF SUVLA
21 AugustBattle of Scimitar Hill [IX. Corps].
Night 19/20 DecemberEvacuation of Suvla (88th Inf. Bde.) [IX. Corps].
The 87th Inf. Bde. returned to Helles on 01 October, 1915, and 2/Lond. Fd. Coy. on 02 November, 1915. After the Evacuation of Suvla, Divnl. H.Q., with 86th and 88th Inf. Bdes., and the two Fd. Cos. returned to Helles between 16-22 December, and came again under VIII. Corps. (The three field ambulances were left at Mudros and Imbros).
1916
Night of 07/08 JanuaryEvacuation of Helles [VIII. Corps].

After the Evacuation of Helles, the 29th Division moved to Egypt and was concentrated at Suez. On 25th February orders were received for the early move of the division to France. Embarking in March, the division disembarked at Marseille, and between 15-29 March it effected its concentration on the Somme, east of Pont Remy. For the rest of the Great War the 29th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium.

It's MG Section was likely to have been transferred into the 87th MG Coy. which was was formed on the 16 February 1916, at Suez.

2nd

The 2nd Battalion was part of the 13th Brigade, attached to the 5th Division.

As a unit of the 5th Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
1914
23 and 24 AugustBattle of Mons [II. Corps].
23 August to 05 SeptemberRETREAT FROM MONS [II. Corps].
26 AugustBattle of le Cateau [II. Corps].
01 SeptemberCrepy en Valois.
06 to 09 SeptemberBattle of the Marne [II. Corps]
13 to 20 SeptemberBATTLE OF THE AISNE [II. Corps]
13 SeptemberPassage of the Aisne.
20 SeptemberActions on the Aisne Heights.
10 October to 02 NovemberBattle of la Bassee [II. Corps].
31 October to 02 NovemberBattle of Messines (2/K.O.S.B., 2.K.O.Y.L.I.) [Cav. Corps]
05 to 19 NovemberBATTLE OF YPRES [I. Corps]
11 NovemberBattle of Nonne Bosschen (2/K.O.S.B., 2/Duke's (13th Bde.), and 1/Bedf., 1/Ches. (15th Bde.)) [I. Corps].
1915
17 to 22 AprilCapture of Hill 60 [II. Corps, Second Army].
23 April to 01 MayBATTLE OF YPRES [V. Corps, Second Army].
23 AprilBattle of Gravenstafel Ridge (13th Bde.) [V. Corps].
24 April to 01 MayBattle of St. Julien (13th Bde.) [V. Corps, from 27 April, in Plumer's Force].

It's MG Section was transferred on 24 December 1915 to form the 13th Bde. MG Coy..

6th

The 6th Battalion was part of the 26th Brigade, attached to the 9th Division.

As a unit of the 9th Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
FORMATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
This New Army Division had no existence before the outbreak of the Great War.

Great Britain declared war on Germany at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, the 4th August 1914, and on the 5th Agusut Field-Marshall Earl Kitchener of Khartoum was appointed Secretary of Strate for War. On the 6th August Parliament sanctioned an increase of 500,000 men for the Regular Army, and a proclamation headed: "Your King and Country need you. A Call to Arms," was published on the 11th August. This proclamation asked for an immediate addition of a hundred thousand men to the Regular Army, and issued on the 21st August 1914, and amended by Army Order No. 382 of the 11th September authorised the addition of six dibisions (9th to 14th) and Army Troops to the Regular Army. This augmentation became the First New Army, and the 9th (Scottish) Division was formed towards the end of August, 1914.

After enlistment the men went to their depots; they were then sent on to training camps in the Salisbury Training Centre, and in September the 9th Division assembled around Bordon. At first the scarcity of arms, munitions, and equipment added to the difficulties of training; but as the deficiencies were overcome intensive training for war began and in due course unit training was followed by divisional field manoeuvres. On the 5th May 1915, Field-Marshall Earl Kitchener inspected the 9th Division on Ludshott Common, and on the 7th May embarkation orders were received. The Division crossed to France between Sunday the 9th and Wednesday the 12th May, and by noon on Saturday the 15th May the Division was concentrated in billets to the south-west of St. Omer.

Throughout the remainder of the Great War the 9th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium and was engaged in the following operations:-

1915
25 to 29 SeptemberBattle of Loos

It's MG Section was transferred on 29 January 1916 to form the 26th Bde. MG Coy..

7th

The 7th Battalion was part of the 46th Brigade, attached to the 15th (Scottish) Division.

As a unit of the 15th (Scottish) Division, its MG Section may have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
FORMATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
This New Army Division had no existence before the outbreak of the Great War.

On the 6th August 1914 Parliament sanctioned an increased of 500,000 all ranks to the Regular Army. The first hundred thousand men for this purpose were used to form the First New Army. The formation of the divisions of the Second New Army from the section augmentation of a hundred thousand men was authorized by Army Order No. 382 of the 11th September 1914 (see Appendix I). Six more divisions (15th - 20th) and Army Troops were now added to the Regular Army, and during September 1914 the 15th (Scottish) Division, the senior division of the Second New Army, began to assemble at Aldershot.

Whilst it was at Aldershot H.M. the King inspected the Division on the 26th September. This was the first time the Division paraded as a formed unit and, with the exception of the staff, the Division paraded in plain clothes. The Division remained at Aldershot until the 18th-22nd November when it moved to Salisbury Plain.

On the 22nd January 1915 the Division paraded in the most inclement weather for another inspection, this time by Field-Marshal Earl Kitchener and M. Millerand (French Minister of War). On this occasion all ranks paraded in uniform, and sufficient obsolete drill rifles were available to arm the front ranks of battalions; but many essentials were still lacking.

Horses arrived soon after the assembly of the Division. At first, however, not much use could be made of them as only a headstall was available for each animal; some time elapsed before harness and saddlery reached the Division. In the artillery in the early days the only equipment was an improvised gun made from a log of wood mounted on the Bordon funeral gun-carriage; somewhat later the artillery armament was doubled bu annexing a 9-pdr. brass muzzle-loading gun from the Ordnance Officers' Mess. Later on the divisional artillery received some early 15-pdr. B.L. equipments and some French 90 mm. B.L.s; neither equipment was more than 20 years out of date. Modern Q.F. field guns and 4.5" howitzers only arrived much later, and it was nearing mid-June, 1915 before gun-sights were received. Nevertheless on the 21st June it was a division ready to take the field which paraded for the second time before H.M. the King on Sidbury Hill.

On the 3rd July the Division received the warning that it was to move to France; entrainment began on the 7th, and by the 13th July the Division completed its concentration around Tilques (near St. Omer). On the 15th July the Division began moving south towards Bethune, and on the 17th July the Division joined IV Corps, First Army. For the remainder of the Great War the 15th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium and was engaged in the following operations:-

1915
25 and 26 SeptemberBattle of Loos [IV Corps, First Army].

It's Vickers machine gunners of the MG Section will have transferred on 11 February 1916 to the 46th MG Coy when this took over the Vickers MG role in the Division.

8th

The 8th Battalion was part of the 46th Brigade, attached to the 15th (Scottish) Division.

As a unit of the 15th (Scottish) Division, its MG Section may have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
FORMATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
This New Army Division had no existence before the outbreak of the Great War.

On the 6th August 1914 Parliament sanctioned an increased of 500,000 all ranks to the Regular Army. The first hundred thousand men for this purpose were used to form the First New Army. The formation of the divisions of the Second New Army from the section augmentation of a hundred thousand men was authorized by Army Order No. 382 of the 11th September 1914 (see Appendix I). Six more divisions (15th - 20th) and Army Troops were now added to the Regular Army, and during September 1914 the 15th (Scottish) Division, the senior division of the Second New Army, began to assemble at Aldershot.

Whilst it was at Aldershot H.M. the King inspected the Division on the 26th September. This was the first time the Division paraded as a formed unit and, with the exception of the staff, the Division paraded in plain clothes. The Division remained at Aldershot until the 18th-22nd November when it moved to Salisbury Plain.

On the 22nd January 1915 the Division paraded in the most inclement weather for another inspection, this time by Field-Marshal Earl Kitchener and M. Millerand (French Minister of War). On this occasion all ranks paraded in uniform, and sufficient obsolete drill rifles were available to arm the front ranks of battalions; but many essentials were still lacking.

Horses arrived soon after the assembly of the Division. At first, however, not much use could be made of them as only a headstall was available for each animal; some time elapsed before harness and saddlery reached the Division. In the artillery in the early days the only equipment was an improvised gun made from a log of wood mounted on the Bordon funeral gun-carriage; somewhat later the artillery armament was doubled bu annexing a 9-pdr. brass muzzle-loading gun from the Ordnance Officers' Mess. Later on the divisional artillery received some early 15-pdr. B.L. equipments and some French 90 mm. B.L.s; neither equipment was more than 20 years out of date. Modern Q.F. field guns and 4.5" howitzers only arrived much later, and it was nearing mid-June, 1915 before gun-sights were received. Nevertheless on the 21st June it was a division ready to take the field which paraded for the second time before H.M. the King on Sidbury Hill.

On the 3rd July the Division received the warning that it was to move to France; entrainment began on the 7th, and by the 13th July the Division completed its concentration around Tilques (near St. Omer). On the 15th July the Division began moving south towards Bethune, and on the 17th July the Division joined IV Corps, First Army. For the remainder of the Great War the 15th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium and was engaged in the following operations:-

1915
25 and 26 SeptemberBattle of Loos [IV Corps, First Army].

It's Vickers machine gunners of the MG Section will have transferred on 11 February 1916 to the 46th MG Coy when this took over the Vickers MG role in the Division.


Inter-war Period

In 1922, the Machine Gun Corps was disbanded and the guns returned to the Infantry Battalion as a Machine Gun Platoon and then formed as a Machine Gun Company in the early 1930s.


Second World War

This remained until the formation of Divisional Machine Gun Battalions in 1936 where guns were brigaded once again.

7th

However during the Second World War, the 7th (Airborne) Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers became Airlanding Battalion of the 1st Airlanding Brigade of the 1st Airborne Division. This Battalion therefore retained an Machine Gun Platoon within its support company. These guns were transport using 'Man Carry' and with Jeeps.

1st Airborne Divisional Patch Glider Qualified

The 1st Airborne Division was formed in November 1941. It saw action at the following battles:

  • North Africa (1943)
  • Sicily (1943)
  • Italy (1943)
  • Arnhem (17th - 27th September 1944)

    The Officer Commanding the MMG Group at the time of Operation Market Garden (September 1944) was Capt. J.W. Coulthard.


    Post-Second World War

    After the Second World War, the MG assets reverted to MG Platoons within support companies of Infantry Battalions.

    1st

    The 1st Battalion served as a unit of the British Commonwealth Forces in Korea between 1952 and 1953.

    1st Bn, King's own Scottish Borderers - Korea, 1951-52


    Sources

  • Becke, 1934
  • Bouchery, 1999
  • Central Office of Information, 1951a
  • Cummings, 1998
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