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The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment):

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Royal Fusiliers


The Great War

The Royal Fusiliers (City of London 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 86th Brigade, attached to the 29th Division. It's MG Section was likely to have been transferred into the 86th MG Coy. which was was formed on the 26 February 1916, at el Kubri.

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 JanuaryEvaucation 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.

3rd

The 3rd Battalion was part of the 85th Brigade, attached to the 28th Division. It's MG Section was likely to have been transferred into the 85th MG Coy. which was provisionally formed on 13 March 1916 and formally established on 18 May 1916.

As a unit of the 28th 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.

The Division assembled and mobilized at Hursley, Pitt Hill, and Magdalen Hill Camps (around Winchester) during December, 1914, and January, 1915. The 12 infantry battalions, of which it was composed, came from India (10 from nine different stations), Singapore (1), and Egypt (1); the brigades were formed at Winchester. The mounted troops included a cavalry squadron from an existing yeomanry unit, and a cyclist company, which was formed at Winchester. Of the field artillery brigades: in August, 1914, III. was in India and XXXI. was at Sheffield, whilst CXLVI. was only formed at Winchester. The field companies, signal company, field ambulances, and train, were territorial force units.

The 28th Division embarked at Southampton on the 15th-18th January, 1915, disembarked at Le Havre between the 16th-19th January, and concentrated between Bailleul and Hazebrouck by the 22nd January.

The 28th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium until the middle of October, 1915. It embarked for Egypt in October and November, and, on arrival, it encamped in the neighbourhood of Alexandria. On the 17th November, order were received for the division to embark for Salonika as soon as possiblle. Embarkation began on the 20th November, but it was not until the 4th January, 1916, that all the units had completed disembarkation at Salonika. (The XXXI. and CXLVI. Brigades, R.F.A., proceeded direct from Marseille to Salonika, sailing on the 17th November; these two brigades arrived: XXXI. on 27th November, and CXLVI. on the 2nd December.)

1915
BATTLES OF YPRES
22 and 23 AprilBattle of Gravenstafel Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].
24 April to 04 MayBattle of St. Julien [V. Corps, Second Army, until 28/4; then Plumer's Force].
08 to 13 MayBattle of Frezenberg Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].
24 and 25 MayBattle of Bellewaarde Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].
27 to 05 OctoberBattle of Loos [I. Corps, First Army].
At noon on the 19th October, the division was ordered to be ready to entrain in 48 hours for an unknown destination. On 21st October, the division beganto entrain for Marseille, and on 24th October the first units sailed from that port. Units began to reach Alexandria on 29th October, and the division (less XXXI. and CXLVI. Bdes., R.F.A.) reached Egypt by 22nd November.

The 28th Division was then sent from Alexandria at Salonika on the 4th January, 1916.

4th

The 4th Battalion was part of the 9th Brigade, attached to the 3rd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on by 08 February 1916 to form the 9th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 3rd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
1914
23 and 24 AugustBattle of Mons [II. Corps].
24 August to 05 SeptemberRETREAT FROM MONS [II. Corps].
26 AugustBattle of le Cateau [II. Corps].
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] (3rd Division (less 8th Brigade, left under Indian Corps) was relieved on 29 October)
05 to 21 NovemberBATTLES OF YPRES [I. Corps].
11 NovemberBattle of Nonne Bosschen [I. Corps]. (In this battle the 3rd Division was formed of 7th, 9th, and 15th Brigades).
14 DecemberAttack on Wytschaete.
1915
16 JuneFirst Attack on Bellewaarde [V. Corps, Second Army].
19 JulyHooge [V. Corps, Second Army].
25 SeptemberSecond Attack on Bellewaarde [V. Corps, Second Army].

8th

The 8th Battalion was part of the 36th Brigade, attached to the 12th (Eastern) Division.

As a unit of the 12th 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.

A proclamation was issued on the 11th August 1914 asking for an immediate addition of 100,000 men to the Regular Army (see Appendix I). Army Order No. 324 of the 24th 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 forced the First New Army, and late in August, 1914 the 12th (Eastern) Division begain to assemble around Colchester, with the artillery at Shorncliffe.

The 12th Division was chiefly recruited from the Eastern and Home Counties. After enlistment, drill and route marching began at once; but only improvised wooden rifles were available to accustom the recruits in handling arms. As soon as battalions had recruited up to war establishment they moved to the infantry brigade centres and more advanced training was then undertaken. In November, 1914 the three infantry brigades concentrated near Hythe, and in February, 1915 the pioneer battalion joined the Division. Towards the end of February the training had advanced far enough for the whole Division to move and concentrate at Aldershot, to complete its intensive training for war and take part in divisional field manoeuvres. In the early spring of 1915 no fewer than five divisions (10th to 14th) of the six in the First New Army were concentrated at Aldershot for their final training.

On the 24th May Aldershot Training Centre issued orders to the 12th Division to embark for France between 29th May to 1st June. On the 25th May the divisional advanced parties left, and on the 29th the Division began to entrain at Aldershot. The personnel went via Folkestone and Boulogne, and artillery, engineers, horses, and transport moved via Southampton and le Havre. By midnight 1st/2nd June the entrainment at Aldershot was completed. Meanwhile, on the 1st June, the units had begun to arrive to the southward of St. Omer and by the 4th all the units had reached the concentration area. On the 5th June the Division advanced and joined III Corps.

Throughout the remainder of the Great War the 12th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium and was engaged in the following operations:

1915
01 to 08 OctoberBattle of Loos [XI Corps, First Army].
13 to 19 OctoberThe Quarries (Hulloch) [XI Corps, First Army].

It's MG Section was transferred on 01 February 1916 to form the 36th Bde. MG Coy. at Ham en Artois.

9th

The 9th Battalion was part of the 36th Brigade, attached to the 12th (Eastern) Division.

As a unit of the 12th 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.

A proclamation was issued on the 11th August 1914 asking for an immediate addition of 100,000 men to the Regular Army (see Appendix I). Army Order No. 324 of the 24th 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 forced the First New Army, and late in August, 1914 the 12th (Eastern) Division begain to assemble around Colchester, with the artillery at Shorncliffe.

The 12th Division was chiefly recruited from the Eastern and Home Counties. After enlistment, drill and route marching began at once; but only improvised wooden rifles were available to accustom the recruits in handling arms. As soon as battalions had recruited up to war establishment they moved to the infantry brigade centres and more advanced training was then undertaken. In November, 1914 the three infantry brigades concentrated near Hythe, and in February, 1915 the pioneer battalion joined the Division. Towards the end of February the training had advanced far enough for the whole Division to move and concentrate at Aldershot, to complete its intensive training for war and take part in divisional field manoeuvres. In the early spring of 1915 no fewer than five divisions (10th to 14th) of the six in the First New Army were concentrated at Aldershot for their final training.

On the 24th May Aldershot Training Centre issued orders to the 12th Division to embark for France between 29th May to 1st June. On the 25th May the divisional advanced parties left, and on the 29th the Division began to entrain at Aldershot. The personnel went via Folkestone and Boulogne, and artillery, engineers, horses, and transport moved via Southampton and le Havre. By midnight 1st/2nd June the entrainment at Aldershot was completed. Meanwhile, on the 1st June, the units had begun to arrive to the southward of St. Omer and by the 4th all the units had reached the concentration area. On the 5th June the Division advanced and joined III Corps.

Throughout the remainder of the Great War the 12th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium and was engaged in the following operations:

1915
01 to 08 OctoberBattle of Loos [XI Corps, First Army].
13 to 19 OctoberThe Quarries (Hulloch) [XI Corps, First Army].

It's MG Section was transferred on 01 February 1916 to form the 36th Bde. MG Coy. at Ham en Artois.

10th

The 10th Battalion was attached to the 18th (Eastern) Division on formation.

As a unit of the 18th (Eastern) Division, it 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.

Army Order No. 382 of the 11th September 1914 authorized the further addition of six divisions (15th to 20th) and Army Troops to the Regular Army (see Appendix I). This augmentation formed the Second New Army, and during September 1914 the 18th (Eastern) Division began to assemble around Colchester.

In the earliest days of the formation, trains brought large bodies of recruits who knew no words of command and were accompanied by no officers or non-commissioned-officers. In consequence the detrainment of a party was apt to resemble the arrival of a football excursion crowd. The officer who met one of these trains could only tell the mob to follow him, and then lead the men to the particular encampment which was to accommodate them. The food was sufficient, but coarse; there were no canteens, the tents were crowded, the nights were chilly, there were never enough blankets to go round. Nevertheless in those tedious early days all ranks made the best of everything. At first the men had to march and drill in the civilian suits and boots which they wore on joining; any men whose boots became soleless had to do slow marching on grass. After some time blue uniforms and forage caps arrived, and later on sufficient khaki uniforms were received to allow at least one suit to be issued to each platoon. But the training was progressive and never slackened; and in April 1915 the Division, in full marching order, covering 62 miles in 48 hours.

It was weeks after the infantry had received their rifles before any guns were issued to the divisional artillery. At first the only armament was limited to one improvised wooden gun per battery, and up to November 1914 no battery had more than a score of horses. Nevertheless the difficulties and deficiences were overcome.

It joined 111th Bde, 37th Division on 24 February 1915 and went to France with that Division in July 1915.

11th

The 11th Battalion was part of the 54th Brigade, attached to the 18th (Eastern) Division.

As a unit of the 18th (Eastern) Division, it 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.

Army Order No. 382 of the 11th September 1914 authorized the further addition of six divisions (15th to 20th) and Army Troops to the Regular Army (see Appendix I). This augmentation formed the Second New Army, and during September 1914 the 18th (Eastern) Division began to assemble around Colchester.

In the earliest days of the formation, trains brought large bodies of recruits who knew no words of command and were accompanied by no officers or non-commissioned-officers. In consequence the detrainment of a party was apt to resemble the arrival of a football excursion crowd. The officer who met one of these trains could only tell the mob to follow him, and then lead the men to the particular encampment which was to accommodate them. The food was sufficient, but coarse; there were no canteens, the tents were crowded, the nights were chilly, there were never enough blankets to go round. Nevertheless in those tedious early days all ranks made the best of everything. At first the men had to march and drill in the civilian suits and boots which they wore on joining; any men whose boots became soleless had to do slow marching on grass. After some time blue uniforms and forage caps arrived, and later on sufficient khaki uniforms were received to allow at least one suit to be issued to each platoon. But the training was progressive and never slackened; and in April 1915 the Division, in full marching order, covering 62 miles in 48 hours.

It was weeks after the infantry had received their rifles before any guns were issued to the divisional artillery. At first the only armament was limited to one improvised wooden gun per battery, and up to November 1914 no battery had more than a score of horses. Nevertheless the difficulties and deficiences were overcome.

Between the 4th-12th May the Division moved to Salisbury Plain and divisional headquarters opened at Codford. On the 24th June the 18th Division was inspected by H.M. the King; and in July the Division was informed that it was to be prepared to embark for the Western Front. On the 24th July the move to France began, headquarters started on the 25th, and on the 30th July the Division completed its concentration near Flesselles (south of Doullens) in the Third Army area. The Division was placed under X Corps. For the remainder of the Great War the 18th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium.

It's MG Section will have been disbanded on the attachment of 54th MG Company, which took place on 13 February 1916, Machine Gunners may have been absorbed by the 54th MG Company, or trained on the Lewis Gun, which now equipped the Infantry Battalion.

17th

The 17th Battalion was part of the 5th Brigade, attached to the 2nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 01 January 1916 to form the 5th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 2nd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
1914
23 and 24 AugustBattle of Mons [I. Corps].
24 August to 05 SeptemberRETREAT FROM MONS [I. Corps].
01 SeptemberVillers Cotterets.
06 to 09 SeptemberBattle of the Marnes [I. Corps].
13 to 26 SeptemberBATTLE OF THE AISNES [I. Corps].
13 SeptemberPassage of the Aisne.
20 SeptemberActions on the Aisne Heights.
19 October to 20 NovemberBATTLES OF YPRES [I. Corps].
21 to 24 OctoberBattle of Langemarck [I. Corps].
29 to 21 OctoberBattle of Gheluvet [I. Corps].
11 NovemberBattle of Nonne Bosschen [I. Corps].
1915
01 FebruaryCuinchy
06 FebruaryCuinchy
15 to 20 MayBattle of Festubert [I. Corps, First Army].
25 September to 04 OctoberBattle of Loos [I. Corps, First Army].
13 to 19 OctoberHohenzollern Redoubt [I. Corps, First Army].

22nd

The 22nd Battalion was part of the 99th Brigade, attached to the 2nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred, on formation in England, to the 99th Bde. MG Coy. It landed in France on 26 April 1916 and joined the Division on 28 April.

The MG elements of the Battalion would not have seen any active service prior to tranferring.

23rd

The 23rd Battalion was part of the 99th Brigade, attached to the 2nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred, on formation in England, to the 99th Bde. MG Coy. It landed in France on 26 April 1916 and joined the Division on 28 April.

The MG elements of the Battalion would not have seen any active service prior to tranferring.

24th

The 24th Battalion was part of the 5th Brigade, attached to the 2nd Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 01 January 1916 to form the 5th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 2nd Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
1914
23 and 24 AugustBattle of Mons [I. Corps].
24 August to 05 SeptemberRETREAT FROM MONS [I. Corps].
01 SeptemberVillers Cotterets.
06 to 09 SeptemberBattle of the Marnes [I. Corps].
13 to 26 SeptemberBATTLE OF THE AISNES [I. Corps].
13 SeptemberPassage of the Aisne.
20 SeptemberActions on the Aisne Heights.
19 October to 20 NovemberBATTLES OF YPRES [I. Corps].
21 to 24 OctoberBattle of Langemarck [I. Corps].
29 to 21 OctoberBattle of Gheluvet [I. Corps].
11 NovemberBattle of Nonne Bosschen [I. Corps].
1915
01 FebruaryCuinchy
06 FebruaryCuinchy
15 to 20 MayBattle of Festubert [I. Corps, First Army].
25 September to 04 OctoberBattle of Loos [I. Corps, First Army].
13 to 19 OctoberHohenzollern Redoubt [I. Corps, First Army].


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.


Post-Second World War

Upon the disbandment of Divisional Machine Gun Battalions in the post-WW2 restructure of the British Army, the Vickers Machine Gun assets reverted to individual Battalions as part of the Support Company as a Machine Gun Platoon.


Sources

  • Becke, 1934
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