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The Manchester Regiment:

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The Great War

Manchester Regiment

The Manchester Regiment was an Infantry Battalion 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:

2nd

The 2nd Battalion was part of the 14th Brigade (redesignated 95th on 12 January 1916), attached to the 5th Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 20 December 1915 to form the 14th Bde. MG Coy., later redesignated the 95th.

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].
05 to 19 NovemberBATTLE OF YPRES [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].

5th

The 5th Battalion was part of the 127th Brigade, attached to the 42nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 14 March 1916 to form the 127th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 42nd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
MOBILIZATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
The division - an existing T.F. division - was drawn from Manchester and Salford and the Cotton and Colliery Towns of East Lancashire, with the divisional headquarters in Manchester. The twelve infantry battalions came from Bury, Rochdale, Salford (2), Blackburn, Burnley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Wigan, and Manchester (3). The artillery was very scattered: headquarters was at Nantwich (Cheshire); the I.E.Lanc.Bde. had its headquarters, one battery, and its ammunition column at Blackburn, with two outlying batteries at Church and Burnley; and the III.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated at Bolton. (The other two artillery brigades of the division did not go overseas until June, 1915. In 1914 the II.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated in Manchester, and the IV.E.Lanc.(How.)Bde. was at Carlisle, with an outlying battery at Workington.) There was no divisional ammunition column at the outbreak of the Great War. Except the heavy battery (which came from Liverpool) the remainder of the division - field companies, signla company, field ambulances, and the Divnl. T. and S. Column - came from Manchester.

The order to mobilize was received at 5-30pm on the 4th August, and units were billeted within reach of their respective headquarters. On the 10th August the Territorial Force was invited to volunteer for foreign service; and, on the 20th, the division, having accepted the liability, moved out into camps for training. On the 5th September, the division was warned that it would be sent to Egypt. On the 9th it began to entrain for Southampton, and the first transport sailed on the 10th. The East Lancashire Division possesses the proud distinction of being the first division of the Territorial Force to leave England for foreign service.

The division began its disembarkation at Alexandria on the 25th September. The Manchester Inf. Bde. (less 1½ battalions) remained at Alexandria. This brigade sent a half-battalion to garrison Cyprus and one battalion to Khartoum. The rest of the division concentrated around Cairo for training. Towards the end of October some detachments were sent to strengthen the Canal Zone, and on the 5th November Great Britain declared war against Turkey.

1914
1915
On the 1st May the division began to embark at Alexandria for Gallipoli. The first transports left on the 2nd and the last followed on the 6th. By the evening of the 9th, Divnl. H.Q., and all the infantry had landed at Helles. The strength embarking for Gallipoli was 14,224 all ranks, with 24 15-pdr. B.L.C. guns, and 24 machine guns.
THE BATTLES OF HELLES
4 JuneThird Battle of Krithia [VIII. Corps].
6 to 13 AugustKrithia Vineyard [VIII. Corps].
On 26th December the divison was ordered to prepare to leave Helles. Between 27 to 31 December the division (with the S.E.Mtd.Bde.) reached Mudros (less the Divisional Artillery, detnt. of R.E., and 1st and 3rd Fd. Ambces., which were all attached to the 13th Divison, and with it took part in the Evacuation of Helles, 7th/8th January, 1916).
1916
The Division embarked for Egypt between 12-16 January and concentrated at Mena on 22nd January, its effective strength on this day was 6,669 all tanks. On 29th January the division began to take over part of the IX. Corps front, Canal Defences.

6th

The 6th Battalion was part of the 127th Brigade, attached to the 42nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 14 March 1916 to form the 127th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 42nd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
MOBILIZATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
The division - an existing T.F. division - was drawn from Manchester and Salford and the Cotton and Colliery Towns of East Lancashire, with the divisional headquarters in Manchester. The twelve infantry battalions came from Bury, Rochdale, Salford (2), Blackburn, Burnley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Wigan, and Manchester (3). The artillery was very scattered: headquarters was at Nantwich (Cheshire); the I.E.Lanc.Bde. had its headquarters, one battery, and its ammunition column at Blackburn, with two outlying batteries at Church and Burnley; and the III.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated at Bolton. (The other two artillery brigades of the division did not go overseas until June, 1915. In 1914 the II.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated in Manchester, and the IV.E.Lanc.(How.)Bde. was at Carlisle, with an outlying battery at Workington.) There was no divisional ammunition column at the outbreak of the Great War. Except the heavy battery (which came from Liverpool) the remainder of the division - field companies, signla company, field ambulances, and the Divnl. T. and S. Column - came from Manchester.

The order to mobilize was received at 5-30pm on the 4th August, and units were billeted within reach of their respective headquarters. On the 10th August the Territorial Force was invited to volunteer for foreign service; and, on the 20th, the division, having accepted the liability, moved out into camps for training. On the 5th September, the division was warned that it would be sent to Egypt. On the 9th it began to entrain for Southampton, and the first transport sailed on the 10th. The East Lancashire Division possesses the proud distinction of being the first division of the Territorial Force to leave England for foreign service.

The division began its disembarkation at Alexandria on the 25th September. The Manchester Inf. Bde. (less 1½ battalions) remained at Alexandria. This brigade sent a half-battalion to garrison Cyprus and one battalion to Khartoum. The rest of the division concentrated around Cairo for training. Towards the end of October some detachments were sent to strengthen the Canal Zone, and on the 5th November Great Britain declared war against Turkey.

1914
1915
On the 1st May the division began to embark at Alexandria for Gallipoli. The first transports left on the 2nd and the last followed on the 6th. By the evening of the 9th, Divnl. H.Q., and all the infantry had landed at Helles. The strength embarking for Gallipoli was 14,224 all ranks, with 24 15-pdr. B.L.C. guns, and 24 machine guns.
THE BATTLES OF HELLES
4 JuneThird Battle of Krithia [VIII. Corps].
6 to 13 AugustKrithia Vineyard [VIII. Corps].
On 26th December the divison was ordered to prepare to leave Helles. Between 27 to 31 December the division (with the S.E.Mtd.Bde.) reached Mudros (less the Divisional Artillery, detnt. of R.E., and 1st and 3rd Fd. Ambces., which were all attached to the 13th Divison, and with it took part in the Evacuation of Helles, 7th/8th January, 1916).
1916
The Division embarked for Egypt between 12-16 January and concentrated at Mena on 22nd January, its effective strength on this day was 6,669 all tanks. On 29th January the division began to take over part of the IX. Corps front, Canal Defences.

7th

The 7th Battalion was part of the 127th Brigade, attached to the 42nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 14 March 1916 to form the 127th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 42nd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
MOBILIZATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
The division - an existing T.F. division - was drawn from Manchester and Salford and the Cotton and Colliery Towns of East Lancashire, with the divisional headquarters in Manchester. The twelve infantry battalions came from Bury, Rochdale, Salford (2), Blackburn, Burnley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Wigan, and Manchester (3). The artillery was very scattered: headquarters was at Nantwich (Cheshire); the I.E.Lanc.Bde. had its headquarters, one battery, and its ammunition column at Blackburn, with two outlying batteries at Church and Burnley; and the III.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated at Bolton. (The other two artillery brigades of the division did not go overseas until June, 1915. In 1914 the II.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated in Manchester, and the IV.E.Lanc.(How.)Bde. was at Carlisle, with an outlying battery at Workington.) There was no divisional ammunition column at the outbreak of the Great War. Except the heavy battery (which came from Liverpool) the remainder of the division - field companies, signla company, field ambulances, and the Divnl. T. and S. Column - came from Manchester.

The order to mobilize was received at 5-30pm on the 4th August, and units were billeted within reach of their respective headquarters. On the 10th August the Territorial Force was invited to volunteer for foreign service; and, on the 20th, the division, having accepted the liability, moved out into camps for training. On the 5th September, the division was warned that it would be sent to Egypt. On the 9th it began to entrain for Southampton, and the first transport sailed on the 10th. The East Lancashire Division possesses the proud distinction of being the first division of the Territorial Force to leave England for foreign service.

The division began its disembarkation at Alexandria on the 25th September. The Manchester Inf. Bde. (less 1½ battalions) remained at Alexandria. This brigade sent a half-battalion to garrison Cyprus and one battalion to Khartoum. The rest of the division concentrated around Cairo for training. Towards the end of October some detachments were sent to strengthen the Canal Zone, and on the 5th November Great Britain declared war against Turkey.

1914
1915
On the 1st May the division began to embark at Alexandria for Gallipoli. The first transports left on the 2nd and the last followed on the 6th. By the evening of the 9th, Divnl. H.Q., and all the infantry had landed at Helles. The strength embarking for Gallipoli was 14,224 all ranks, with 24 15-pdr. B.L.C. guns, and 24 machine guns.
THE BATTLES OF HELLES
4 JuneThird Battle of Krithia [VIII. Corps].
6 to 13 AugustKrithia Vineyard [VIII. Corps].
On 26th December the divison was ordered to prepare to leave Helles. Between 27 to 31 December the division (with the S.E.Mtd.Bde.) reached Mudros (less the Divisional Artillery, detnt. of R.E., and 1st and 3rd Fd. Ambces., which were all attached to the 13th Divison, and with it took part in the Evacuation of Helles, 7th/8th January, 1916).
1916
The Division embarked for Egypt between 12-16 January and concentrated at Mena on 22nd January, its effective strength on this day was 6,669 all tanks. On 29th January the division began to take over part of the IX. Corps front, Canal Defences.

8th

The 8th Battalion was part of the 127th Brigade, attached to the 42nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 14 March 1916 to form the 127th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 42nd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
MOBILIZATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
The division - an existing T.F. division - was drawn from Manchester and Salford and the Cotton and Colliery Towns of East Lancashire, with the divisional headquarters in Manchester. The twelve infantry battalions came from Bury, Rochdale, Salford (2), Blackburn, Burnley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Wigan, and Manchester (3). The artillery was very scattered: headquarters was at Nantwich (Cheshire); the I.E.Lanc.Bde. had its headquarters, one battery, and its ammunition column at Blackburn, with two outlying batteries at Church and Burnley; and the III.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated at Bolton. (The other two artillery brigades of the division did not go overseas until June, 1915. In 1914 the II.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated in Manchester, and the IV.E.Lanc.(How.)Bde. was at Carlisle, with an outlying battery at Workington.) There was no divisional ammunition column at the outbreak of the Great War. Except the heavy battery (which came from Liverpool) the remainder of the division - field companies, signla company, field ambulances, and the Divnl. T. and S. Column - came from Manchester.

The order to mobilize was received at 5-30pm on the 4th August, and units were billeted within reach of their respective headquarters. On the 10th August the Territorial Force was invited to volunteer for foreign service; and, on the 20th, the division, having accepted the liability, moved out into camps for training. On the 5th September, the division was warned that it would be sent to Egypt. On the 9th it began to entrain for Southampton, and the first transport sailed on the 10th. The East Lancashire Division possesses the proud distinction of being the first division of the Territorial Force to leave England for foreign service.

The division began its disembarkation at Alexandria on the 25th September. The Manchester Inf. Bde. (less 1½ battalions) remained at Alexandria. This brigade sent a half-battalion to garrison Cyprus and one battalion to Khartoum. The rest of the division concentrated around Cairo for training. Towards the end of October some detachments were sent to strengthen the Canal Zone, and on the 5th November Great Britain declared war against Turkey.

1914
1915
On the 1st May the division began to embark at Alexandria for Gallipoli. The first transports left on the 2nd and the last followed on the 6th. By the evening of the 9th, Divnl. H.Q., and all the infantry had landed at Helles. The strength embarking for Gallipoli was 14,224 all ranks, with 24 15-pdr. B.L.C. guns, and 24 machine guns.
THE BATTLES OF HELLES
4 JuneThird Battle of Krithia [VIII. Corps].
6 to 13 AugustKrithia Vineyard [VIII. Corps].
On 26th December the divison was ordered to prepare to leave Helles. Between 27 to 31 December the division (with the S.E.Mtd.Bde.) reached Mudros (less the Divisional Artillery, detnt. of R.E., and 1st and 3rd Fd. Ambces., which were all attached to the 13th Divison, and with it took part in the Evacuation of Helles, 7th/8th January, 1916).
1916
The Division embarked for Egypt between 12-16 January and concentrated at Mena on 22nd January, its effective strength on this day was 6,669 all tanks. On 29th January the division began to take over part of the IX. Corps front, Canal Defences.

9th

The 9th Battalion was part of the 126th Brigade, attached to the 42nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 14 March 1916 to form the 126th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 42nd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
MOBILIZATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
The division - an existing T.F. division - was drawn from Manchester and Salford and the Cotton and Colliery Towns of East Lancashire, with the divisional headquarters in Manchester. The twelve infantry battalions came from Bury, Rochdale, Salford (2), Blackburn, Burnley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Wigan, and Manchester (3). The artillery was very scattered: headquarters was at Nantwich (Cheshire); the I.E.Lanc.Bde. had its headquarters, one battery, and its ammunition column at Blackburn, with two outlying batteries at Church and Burnley; and the III.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated at Bolton. (The other two artillery brigades of the division did not go overseas until June, 1915. In 1914 the II.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated in Manchester, and the IV.E.Lanc.(How.)Bde. was at Carlisle, with an outlying battery at Workington.) There was no divisional ammunition column at the outbreak of the Great War. Except the heavy battery (which came from Liverpool) the remainder of the division - field companies, signla company, field ambulances, and the Divnl. T. and S. Column - came from Manchester.

The order to mobilize was received at 5-30pm on the 4th August, and units were billeted within reach of their respective headquarters. On the 10th August the Territorial Force was invited to volunteer for foreign service; and, on the 20th, the division, having accepted the liability, moved out into camps for training. On the 5th September, the division was warned that it would be sent to Egypt. On the 9th it began to entrain for Southampton, and the first transport sailed on the 10th. The East Lancashire Division possesses the proud distinction of being the first division of the Territorial Force to leave England for foreign service.

The division began its disembarkation at Alexandria on the 25th September. The Manchester Inf. Bde. (less 1½ battalions) remained at Alexandria. This brigade sent a half-battalion to garrison Cyprus and one battalion to Khartoum. The rest of the division concentrated around Cairo for training. Towards the end of October some detachments were sent to strengthen the Canal Zone, and on the 5th November Great Britain declared war against Turkey.

1914
1915
On the 1st May the division began to embark at Alexandria for Gallipoli. The first transports left on the 2nd and the last followed on the 6th. By the evening of the 9th, Divnl. H.Q., and all the infantry had landed at Helles. The strength embarking for Gallipoli was 14,224 all ranks, with 24 15-pdr. B.L.C. guns, and 24 machine guns.
THE BATTLES OF HELLES
4 JuneThird Battle of Krithia [VIII. Corps].
6 to 13 AugustKrithia Vineyard [VIII. Corps].
On 26th December the divison was ordered to prepare to leave Helles. Between 27 to 31 December the division (with the S.E.Mtd.Bde.) reached Mudros (less the Divisional Artillery, detnt. of R.E., and 1st and 3rd Fd. Ambces., which were all attached to the 13th Divison, and with it took part in the Evacuation of Helles, 7th/8th January, 1916).
1916
The Division embarked for Egypt between 12-16 January and concentrated at Mena on 22nd January, its effective strength on this day was 6,669 all tanks. On 29th January the division began to take over part of the IX. Corps front, Canal Defences.

10th

The 10th Battalion was part of the 126th Brigade, attached to the 42nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 14 March 1916 to form the 126th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 42nd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
MOBILIZATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS
The division - an existing T.F. division - was drawn from Manchester and Salford and the Cotton and Colliery Towns of East Lancashire, with the divisional headquarters in Manchester. The twelve infantry battalions came from Bury, Rochdale, Salford (2), Blackburn, Burnley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Wigan, and Manchester (3). The artillery was very scattered: headquarters was at Nantwich (Cheshire); the I.E.Lanc.Bde. had its headquarters, one battery, and its ammunition column at Blackburn, with two outlying batteries at Church and Burnley; and the III.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated at Bolton. (The other two artillery brigades of the division did not go overseas until June, 1915. In 1914 the II.E.Lanc.Bde. was concentrated in Manchester, and the IV.E.Lanc.(How.)Bde. was at Carlisle, with an outlying battery at Workington.) There was no divisional ammunition column at the outbreak of the Great War. Except the heavy battery (which came from Liverpool) the remainder of the division - field companies, signla company, field ambulances, and the Divnl. T. and S. Column - came from Manchester.

The order to mobilize was received at 5-30pm on the 4th August, and units were billeted within reach of their respective headquarters. On the 10th August the Territorial Force was invited to volunteer for foreign service; and, on the 20th, the division, having accepted the liability, moved out into camps for training. On the 5th September, the division was warned that it would be sent to Egypt. On the 9th it began to entrain for Southampton, and the first transport sailed on the 10th. The East Lancashire Division possesses the proud distinction of being the first division of the Territorial Force to leave England for foreign service.

The division began its disembarkation at Alexandria on the 25th September. The Manchester Inf. Bde. (less 1½ battalions) remained at Alexandria. This brigade sent a half-battalion to garrison Cyprus and one battalion to Khartoum. The rest of the division concentrated around Cairo for training. Towards the end of October some detachments were sent to strengthen the Canal Zone, and on the 5th November Great Britain declared war against Turkey.

1914
1915
On the 1st May the division began to embark at Alexandria for Gallipoli. The first transports left on the 2nd and the last followed on the 6th. By the evening of the 9th, Divnl. H.Q., and all the infantry had landed at Helles. The strength embarking for Gallipoli was 14,224 all ranks, with 24 15-pdr. B.L.C. guns, and 24 machine guns.
THE BATTLES OF HELLES
4 JuneThird Battle of Krithia [VIII. Corps].
6 to 13 AugustKrithia Vineyard [VIII. Corps].
On 26th December the divison was ordered to prepare to leave Helles. Between 27 to 31 December the division (with the S.E.Mtd.Bde.) reached Mudros (less the Divisional Artillery, detnt. of R.E., and 1st and 3rd Fd. Ambces., which were all attached to the 13th Divison, and with it took part in the Evacuation of Helles, 7th/8th January, 1916).
1916
The Division embarked for Egypt between 12-16 January and concentrated at Mena on 22nd January, its effective strength on this day was 6,669 all tanks. On 29th January the division began to take over part of the IX. Corps front, Canal Defences.

11th

The 11th Battalion started the Great War as a member of the 34th Brigade, 11th (Northern) Infantry Division.

As a unit of the 11th (Northern) Infantry Division, its MG Section will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
1914
This New Army Division had no existence before the outbreak of the Great War.

A proclamation was issued on the 11th August, 1914 asking for an immediate addition of 100,000 men to the Regular Army (see Appendix). Army Order No. 324 of the 21st August (amended by Army Order No. 382 of the 11th September) authorized the addition of six divisions (9th to 14th) and Army Troops to the Regular Army. This augmentation formed the First New Army, and late in August, 1914 the 11th (Northern) Division began to assemble around Grantham.

On the 22nd August when the G.O.C. reached Grantham he found that only the A.-A.&Q.-M.-G. of thedivision had arrived. On the 27th the first batch of 1,000 infantry (with a small proportion of regular officers and non-commissioned-officers, from depot staffs) reached Grantham. Other parties followed and by the 21st September the strength of the infantry had risen to 13,000. At first the infantry of the 11th Division consisted entirely of north country battalions; later on, however, when the 6/East Yorkshire became the pioneer battalion its place was taken by a Wessex battalion - 5/Dorsetshire.

At first there was the usual shortage of clothing, equipment, and arms, leading to some discomfort and to considerable delay in training for war. Nevertherless, on the 18th October Field-Marshal Earl Kitchener visited Grantham and inspected the infantry in Belton Park. Until the following April the Division remained scattered: infantry at Grantham, artillery at Leeds, Sheffield, Norwich, and Weedon; engineers at Newark; field ambulances at Sheffield; train at Lichfield. Then on the 4th April the 11th Division began to move to its concentration area at Witley and Frensham, and final training was carried out and divisional operations undertaken.

On the 31st May H.M. the King inspected the 11th Division on Hankley Common, and on the 12th June orders were received that the Division was to be ready to leave at short notice for the Dardanelles. On the 20th June embarkation began at Liverpool, and the bulk of the Division sailed in the Aquitania and the Empress of Britain. On the 10th July the Aquitania with divisional headquarters and the 32nd Infantry Brigade reached Mudros. On the 23rd all headquarters and troops at Mudros left Lemnos and moved to Imbros, and the 11th Division completed concentration at Imbros on the 28th July.

At 8.30pm on the 6th August the Division left Imbros for Suvla Bay; the troops embarked in torpedo boat destroyers and motor lighters (about 500 in each vessel) each man carrying on him 220 rounds of ammunition and 2 days' iron rations. At 11.30pm the flotilla anchored off Suvla, and shortly after m/n. 6th/7th August disembarkation began near Lala Baba.

During the Great War the 11th (Northern) Division served in Gallipoli and in Egypt, and on the Western Front (in France and Belgium), and was engaged in the following operations:

1915
BATTLES OF SUVLA
06 to 15 AugustThe Landing at Suvla [IX Corps].
07 AugustCapture of Karakol Dagh (34th Bde.) [IX Corps].
21 AugustBattle of Scimitar Hill [IX Corps].
21 AugustAttack on "W" Hills [IX Corps].
Night, 19/20 DecemberEvacuation of Suvla [IX Corps].
On the last night every gun, trench mortar, cart, and animal was withdrawn, and the 11th Division suffered no casualties to its personnel during the final evacuation of Suvla. On leaving Suvla the Division concentrated at Imbros.

Its MG Section was transferred on 01 March 1916 to form the 34th Bde. MG Coy..

12th

The 12th Battalion started the Great War as a member of the 52nd Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division.

As a unit of the 17th (Northern) Infantry Division, its MG Section may have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
1914
This New Army Division had no existence before the outbreak of the Great War.

Army Order No. 382 of the 11th September 1914 authorized the further addition of six divisions (15th - 20th) and Army Troops to the Regular Army (see Appendix I). This augmentation formed the Second New Army, and during September 1914 the 17th (Northern) Division began to assemble around Wareham.

By the end of September 1914 all the surplus stores of arms, equipment, and uniforms had been issued, and for some time no uniforms were available for the rank and file of the 17th Division. Even blankets were scarce in the improvised billets and later on in the crowded camps. For months the infantry had only a few old drill-pattern rifles; and machine guns had to be represented by home-made dummy guns. In October a varied assortment of peace-time uniforms arrived; the infantry then paraded in red coats, combined with civilian head-dresses and overcoats. At the same time a supply of tents was issued to the Division, and the men were placed under canvas until the unsettled November weather compelled the abandonment of tents; the units were then moved into recently erected huts. Before the end of 1914 the infantry received a large supply of Lee-Enfield magazine rifles and a generous supply of ammunition; elementary musketry instruction became possible. Then, in March 1915 a limited issue of service rifles and new leather equiepment was made to the infantry.

In the Artillery most of the officers had everything to learn, and it was soon found that 20 per cent of the recruits, who had been accepted in the rush, were unfit for military service and had to be replaced, also very few of the recruits had ever ridden of had any previous experience with horses. At the outset the only available artillery materiel was a few limbers and wagons, together with some ancient and obsolete guns and two old French 90-mm. guns, dating from the war of 1870 - pieces which were more suitable for museums than for a training centre. Even so the guns were without sights, and naturally no dial sights, directors, range tables, or telephones were available. But ingenuity, assisted by the local carpenters, provided rough and ready imitations of the missing stores, and allowed the recruits to be given some training during the early months. The first horses for the artillery arrived in February 1915, the 18-pdrs. were issues in April, and the first howitzers reached Swanage in the middle of May.

During this time the artillery had been in empty houses in Swanage and the infantry brigades had shifted their quarters more than once. Originally the three infantry brigades were around Wareham; but in October 1914 the brigades were at Wareham (50th), West Lulworth (51st), and Bovington Camp, Wool (52nd). In December the 51st moved to Wool, and the 52nd to Wimborne. In March 1915 the 51st returned to West Lulworth, and the 52nd moved back to Wool. These stations were maintained until May. Between the 27th May and the 1st June the Division marched to Winchester, Romsey, Hursley, Pitt Corner, and Flowerdown, and final intensive training for the field was undertaken.

On the 5th July the Division was informed that it would be retained in England for some time and be employed on Home Defence. At midnight this arrangement was cancelled and the 17th Division was ordered to embark for France between the 12th and 15th July. On the 6th the advanced party left, and on the same day the Division completed its mobilization - but the three field ambulances only joined the Division at Southampton during embarkation. On the 12th July embarkation began. By the 17th the Division concentrated to the southward of St. Omer, and on the 19th July it moved forward and came under V Corps, Second Army. For the remainder of the Great War the 17th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium and was engaged in the following operations:-

1915
09 AugustHooge [V Corps, Second Army].

It's MG Section will have been disbanded on the attachment of 52nd MG Company, which took place on 12 February 1916, Machine Gunners may have been absorbed by the 52nd MG Company, or trained on the Lewis Gun, which now equipped the Infantry Battalion.

20th

The 20th Battalion was part of the 91st Brigade of the 30th Infantry Division until 20 December 1915.

On 20 December 1915 it became was part of the 22nd Brigade, attached to the 7th Division. Its MG Section was transferred on 24 February 1916 to form the 22nd Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 7th Infantry Division, its MG Section did not take part in any formal battle and engagements.

21st

The 21st Battalion was part of the 91st Brigade of the 30th Infantry Division until 20 December 1915.

On 20 December 1915, the 91st Brigade was transferred to the 7th Division. Its MG Section was transferred on 14 March 1916 to form the 91st Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 7th Infantry Division, its MG Section did not take part in any formal battle and engagements.

22nd

The 22nd Battalion was part of the 91st Brigade of the 30th Infantry Division until 20 December 1915.

On 20 December 1915, the 91st Brigade was transferred to the 7th Division. Its MG Section was transferred on 14 March 1916 to form the 91st Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 7th Infantry Division, its MG Section did not take part in any formal battle and engagements.


Inter-War Period

Manchester Regiment

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.

This remained until the formation of Divisional Machine Gun Battalions in 1936 where guns were brigaded once again. The Manchesters were one of those Infantry Regiments converted to this new role.


The Second World War

1st

From before the outbreak of War, the 1st Bn was a Divisional MG Battalion as part of the Malaya Infantry Brigade. It remained part of this until 13 September, 1940, when it was transferred to the 2nd Malaya Infantry Brigade. It remained part of this until 14 February, 1942, when it was captured by the Japanese in Malaya.

1st Bn, Manchester Regiment - Malaya, 1941

Between 28 May, 1942, and 15 September, 1942, a re-constituted 1st Bn was part of the 199th Infantry Brigade, 55th Infantry Division. It remained in the United Kingdom throughout this period. It is unclear from the documentation available, but it may have been organised as a normal Infantry Battalion during this time.

From 01 October, 1943, the 1st Bn was the Divisional Support Battalion to the 53rd (Welch) Infantry Division. It reverted to a Divisional MG Battalion from 28 February, 1944, and remained as such until the end of the War.

Photobucket

The 53rd (Welch) Infantry Division was mobilised in September 1939 as a First Line Territorial Army Infantry Division.

During the time the 1st Bn was part of it, the 53rd Infantry Division was in the following theatres and battles.
DatesTheatreBattles
03 September, 1939, to 21 June, 1944United Kingdom
21 June, 1944, to 27 June, 1944At Sea
27 June, 1944, to 31 August, 1945North West Europe
  • The Odon (05 June to 02 July, 1944)
  • Caen (04 July to 18 July, 1944)
  • Mont Pincon (30 July to 09 August, 1944)
  • Falaise (07 to 22 August, 1944)
  • The Nederrijn (17 to 27 September, 1944)
  • The Rhineland (08 February to 10 March, 1945)
  • The Rhine (23 March to 01 April, 1945)
  • 2nd

    The 2nd Battalion was organised as a Divisional MG Battalion but attached to General Headquarters, British Expeditionary Force, available to Corps Troops as required. It took part in the Campaign in France and Belgium, May 1940.

    From the 11 November, 1942, until the end of the War, the 2nd Bn was the Divisional MG Battalion to the 2nd Infantry Division.

    2nd Bn, Manchester Regiment - Burma, 1944

    During the time the 2nd Bn was part of it, the 2nd Infantry Division was in the following theatres and battles.
    DatesTheatreBattles
    01 June, 1940, to 15 April, 1942United Kingdom
    15 April, 1942, to 07 June, 1942At Sea
    07 June, 1942, to 01 April, 1944India
    02 April, 1944, to 11 April, 1945Burma
  • Kohima (27 March to 22 June, 1944)
  • Mandalay (12/13 February to 21 March, 1945)
  • 12 April, 1945, to 31 August, 1945India

    5th

    From the outbreak of War, until 08 September, 1941, the 5th Bn was part of the 127th Infantry Brigade, 42nd Infantry Division. It was a regular Infantry Battalion during this time and remained within the United Kingdom throughout this time.

    Between 08 September, 1941, and 31 October, 1941, the 5th Bn was part of the 126th Infantry Brigade, 42nd Infantry Division. It was a regular Infantry Battalion during this time and remained within the United Kingdom throughout this time.

    From the 22 October, 1944, until the end of the War, the 5th Bn was the Divisional MG Battalion to the 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division. It remained in the United Kingdom throughout this time.

    6th

    The 6th Battalion was a Territorial Army Infantry Battalion. It was not converted to a Machine Gun role.

    7th

    From the outbreak of war, until the 31 October, 1942, the 7th Battalion was part of the 199th Infantry Brigade. During this time, the 199th Infantry Brigade was part of 42 Infantry Division (03 September, 1939, to 26 September, 1939), the 66 Infantry Division (27 September, 1939, to 22 June, 1940), and 55 Infantry Division (23 June, 1940, until 31 August, 1945). It remained in the United Kingdom throughout this period.

    From 07 June, 1943, until 18 March, 1944, the 7th Battalion was the Divisional Support Battalion to the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division. From the 19 March, 1944, it was converted back to a Divisional MG Battalion and remained so until the end of the War.

    During the time the 7th Bn was part of it, the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division was in the following theatres and battles.
    DatesTheatreBattles
    18 June, 1940, to 13 October, 1944United Kingdom
    13 October, 1944, to 15 October, 1944At Sea
    15 October, 1944, to 31 August, 1945NW Europe
  • The Scheldt (01 October, 1944, to 08 November, 1944)
  • The Rhineland (08 February, 1945, to 10 March, 1945)
  • The Rhine (23 March, 1945, to 01 April, 1945)
  • 8th

    The 8th Battalion was a Territorial Army Infantry Battalion. It was not converted to a Machine Gun role.

    1/9th

    The 1/9th Battalion was the Divisional MG Battalion to the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division between 11 November, 1941, and 04 May, 1942.

    9th

    The 9th Battalion was organised as a Divisional MG Battalion but attached to General Headquarters, British Expeditionary Force, available to Corps Troops as required. It took part in the Campaign in France and Belgium, May 1940.

    On 10 April, 1944, the 9th Battalion was identified as being under direct command of the Allied Force Headquarters in Italy and the Balkans.

    From 15 July, 1944, until the end of the War, the 9th Battalion was the Divisional MG Battalion of the 46th Infantry Division.

    During the time the 9th Bn was part of it, the 46th Infantry Division was in the following theatres and battles.
    DatesTheatreBattles
    03 July, 1944, to 13 January, 1945Italy
  • Gothic Line (25 August, 1944, to 22 September, 1944)
  • Coriano (03 September, 1944, to 15 September, 1944)
  • Rimini Line (14 September, 1944, to 21 September, 1944)
  • Lamone Crossing (02 December, 1944, to 13 December, 1944)
  • 14 January, 1945, to 07 April, 1945Greece
    07 April, 1945, to 10 April, 1945At Sea
    11 April, 1945, to 11 May, 1945Italy
    12 May, 1945, to 31 August, 1945Austria


    Post-Second World War

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


    Sources:

  • Bouchery, 1999
  • Joslen, 1960
  • Palmer, 1941a
  • War Office, 1944b
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