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The Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

38th Machine Gun Company

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A Machine Gun Company was attached to each Infantry Brigade and their subsequent Division.

Brigade attached to: 38th Brigade
Division attached to: 13th (Western) Division
Formed from the: Machine Gun Section of 6th Bn. King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
Machine Gun Section of 6th Bn. East Lancashire Regiment
Machine Gun Section of 6th Bn. South Lancashire Regiment
Machine Gun Section of 6th Bn. Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

The nucleus of the 38th Bde. M.G. Coy. left Devonport on 18 September 1916, then disembarked at Basra on 15 October 1916. It reached Amara on 24 October 1916, where it amalgamated with the Provisional Brigade Machine Gun Company which had been formed from the Machine Gun Sections of the listed infantry battalions.

As a unit of the 13th (Western) Infantry Division during this period, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.

1917
13 December 1916 to 25 February 1917BATTLE OF KUT AL IMARA [III Tigris Corps].
25 January to 05 FebruaryCapture of the Hai Salient [III Tigris Corps].
09 to 16 FebruaryCapture of the Dahra Bend [III Tigris Corps].
PURSUIT TO BAGHDAD
07 to 10 MarchPassage of the Diyala [III Tigris Corps].
11 MarchOccupation of Baghdad (D. Sqdn., 1/Herts. Yeo. and 6/K.O. entered the city at 10.30 a.m.; and 2 Coys., 4/S.W.B. and 5/Wilts. entered later.) [III Tigris Corps].
CONSOLIDATION OF THE BAGHDAD POSITION
27 and 28 MarchDelli 'Abbas [Marshall's Column].
29 MarchDuqma [Marshall's Column].
09 to 15 AprilNahr Kalis [Marshall's Column].
18 AprilPassage of the 'Adhaim (38th Brigade) [Marshall's Column].
30 AprilShatt al 'Adhaim [Marshall's Column].
18 to 20 OctoberSecond Action of Jabal Hamrin [III Tigris Corps].
03 to 06 DecemberThird Action of Jabal Hamrin [III Tigris Corps].
1918
29 AprilTuz Khurmatli [III Corps].

After the fight on the 29th April the 13th Division halted at Tuz Khurmatli until the 5th May; the Division then advanced northward past Tauq, reached Kirkuk on the 8th, and remained there until the 24th. On that day the Division began to retire southward through Taza Khurmatli, Tauq, and Tuz Khurmatli to Kifri, which was reached on the 28th May. Divisional headquarters now opened at Dawalib (2 miles east of Delli 'Abbas), and here they were destined to remain until after the conclusion of the War.

In July orders were received to send the 29th Infantry Brigade (with 72nd Field Company and 40th Field Ambulance) to join the North Persia Force; and the Group left the 13th Division between 10th July and 19th August.

Whilst it was around Dawalib the Division was employed in training, in the instruction of specialists, and in providing large working parties for the upkeep of roads. During July the average maximum shade temperature rose to 111.6 degrees.

In October a column under Br.-Gen. A. C. Lewin (see note below) was pushed northwards. The column passed Tauq (20th), Taza Khurmatli (23rd), and entered Kirkuk on the 25th October. On the 28th Lewin's Column continued its northward advance and became engaged with a Turkish force which was in position covering the Altun Kopri bridge over the Little Zab, and at 7.30 a.m. on the 31st October the 12th Cavalry of Lewin's Column entered Altun Kopri. On the 1st November, however, the 13th Division received orders to cease hostlities at once; the Armistice with Turkey had come into force at noon on the previous day - Thursday the 31st October.

On the 7th Nocember Lewin's Colum was abolished; between the 22nd and 30th November all the units rejoined the 13th Division and headquarters of the column again became Headquarters 40th Infantry Brigade. On the 15th December all troops were withdrawn from forward areas, on the 16th I Tigris Corps took over Kirkuk and all the posts to the north of that place, and by the 31st December the evacuation of the forward area was completed.

On the 1st January, 1919 the strength of British officers and other ranks with the 13th Division was 12,476. On the 11th January the Division began to move down the lines of communication to 'Amara, and thereafter some units left on each day for 'Amara. Divisional headquarters started on the 31st January and reached 'Amara on the 2nd February. The final disbandment and disposal of the Division now proceeded rapidly. On the 11th February 6/E .Lanc. and 6/L.N.L. (of 38th Infantry Brigade) were selected to form part of the Army of Occupation in Mesopotamia, and on the 14th and 15th March they were posted to the 34th Indian Infantry Brigade. On the 4th March LV R.F.A. (less 60 How. Bty.) had also been selected for duty in the Army of Occupation.

By the beginning of March the strength of British officers and other ranks with the Division had dwindled to 5,034, and on the 11th orders were received for the Division to be reduced to cadre. The end came on the 17th March, and on that day the 13th Division, the only British Division to serve in Mesopotamia, ceased to exist. During the Great War the 13th Division lost 12,566 killed, wounded, and missing (7,822 of these casualties occured in Mesopotamia).

NOTE: Composition of LEWIN'S COLUMN:
Hd. Qrs. 40th Inf. Bde. and Bde. Signal Sec.,
Portion, B. Flight, 30 Sqdn., R.A.F.,
12/Cav. (less 1 Sqdn.) and M.G. Sec.,
A/LXVI (less 1 Sec.),
1 Sec., 61/(H.)/LXVI,
Portion, LXVI B.A.C.,
13/L.A.M. Bty.,
No. 1 Pack Wireless Station,
1 Sec., 71st Fd. Coy., R.E.
2 Bns. (8/R.W.F. and 4/S.W.B.), 40th Inf. Bde.,
H.Q. and 2 Sec., 40th M.G. Coy.,
Portion, 40th S.A.A. Sec.,
39th Fd. Ambce. (less 2 Secs).

As this Company stayed in the Middle East, it wasn't amalgamated with other Machine Gun Companies in the Division (the 39th, 40th and 273rd) to form a Machine Gun Battalion.


Sources

  • Becke, 1934
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