The Regiments of Foot Guards were outside of the requirement for establishing their machine gun sections as the Machine Gun Corps; however, they did form the Guards Machine Gun Battalion to consolidate their machine gun capability.

The Guards Machine Gun Regiment was formed from units of the Household Cavalry and the existing Guards Machine Gun Companies. This took place on the 8th May 1918. The units transferred were:

Battalion of G.M.G.R.Original Unit
1st1st Life Guards
2nd2nd Life Guards
3rdRoyal Horse Guards
4th1st Gds Bde MG Coy
2nd Gds Bde MG Coy
3rd Gds Bde MG Coy
4th Gds Bde MG Coy

Published on the 10th May, 1918.

II. ROYAL WARRANT

Guards Machine Gun Regiment

GEORGE R.I.

WHEREAS WE have deemed it expedient to authorize as a temporary measure the formation of a Machine Gun Regiment of Foot Guards to be known as the Guards Machine Gun Regiment;

OUR WILL AND PLEASURE is that such Regiment shall be deemed to be a Corps for the purposes of the Army Act.

Given at Our Court at St. James’s, this 8th day of May, 1918, in the 9th year Our Reign.

By His Majesty’s Command,

MILNER

Army Order 160 of 1918.

To accompany Army Order 160, Army Order 161 provided more detail on the structure and administration of the Regiment.

III. Guards Machine Gun Regiment. – His Majesty the King having been graciously pleased to approve of the formation of a regiment of Foot Guards, to be designated the 6th or the Machine Gun Regiment of Foot Guards (or Guards Machine Gun Regiment), it is notified for the information of all concerned that until further orders the establishment of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment will be as laid down in War Establishments and will be subject to reconsideration for peace purposes.

The regiment will consist of four battalions and one reserve battalion. The four battalions will be know as: No. 1, or 1st Life Guards Battalion; No. 2, or 2nd Life Guards Battalion; No. 3, or Royal Horse Guards Battalion; and No. 4, or Foot Guards Battalion of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment.

2. The rates of pay for officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men, will be as laid down in the Pay Warrant for Foot Guards, with the following exception: That such personnel as is now serving in the Household Cavalry, and is transferred to the Guards Machine Gun Regiment on its formation, shall continue to draw the Household Cavalry rates of pay when more advantageous that the rates of pay laid down for the Foot Guards.

Officers at present on strength of the three regiments of Household Cavalry will remain with the Machine Gun battalions formed from their respective regiments, and will retain their present seniority. Officers who are posted to the Guards Machine Gun Regiment to complete establishment, holding Regular or Special Reserve commissions, will be seconded from their regiment, and officers with temporary commissions will be transferred for service with the Guards Machine Gun Regiment with their seniority at the time of such transfer. The other ranks of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment will be composed of warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men at present on the strength of the three Household Cavalry Regiments, and of warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men who are transferred from their present corps to the Guards Machine Gun Regiment, and also men enlisted direct into that regiment.

4. The promotion of officers to fill vacancies in the establishment of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment will be on a regimental list, and all such promotions will be temporary. Suitable officers of any rank serving in battalions of Foot Guards may be seconded at any time to fill vacancies in the Guards Machine Gun Regiment.

5. Officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers at present belonging to the three regiments of Household Cavalry will retain their regimental seniority in their respective regiments, and any subsequent promotions in the Guards Machine Gun Regiment, in the case of officers, will be temporary.

The promotion and appointment of warrant officers and non-commissioned officers will be as for the Infantry of the Line.

Army Order 161 of 1918.

Administration

Changes to the pay of artificers took in place in 1918 with Army Order 257.

I. Pay of Artificers in the Machine-Gun Corps and the Guards Machine-Gun Regiment.

GEORGE R.I.

WHEREAS WE deem it expedient to provide rates of pay for certain artificers in the Infantry Branch of Our Machine-Gun Corps, formed under Our Warrant of 14th October, 1915, and Our Guards Machine-Gun Regiment, formed under Our Warrant of 8th May, 1918;

OUR WILL AND PLEASURE IS that fitter staff-serjeants, farrier staff-serjeants, fitter serjeants, farrier serjeants and shoeing-smith corporals of the Infantry Branch of Our Machine-Gun Corps and of Our Guards Machine-Gun Regiment shall receive regimental pay at the following daily rates:-

Fitter staff-serjeant … 3s. 7d.

Farrier staff-serjeant … 3s. 4d.

Fitter serjeant … 3s. 2d.

Farrier serjeant … 2s. 10d.

Shoeing-smith corporal … 2s. 2d.

Farrier staff-serjeants, farrier serjeants and shoeing-smith corporals as such in Our Household Cavalry and transferred to Our Guards Machine-Gun Regiment on its formation shall continue to draw the Household Cavalry rates for these appointments.

OUR FURTHER WILL AND PLEASURE IS that fitter serjeants and farrier serjeants, after three years’ service as such, shall be eligible for appointment to fitter staff-serjeant or farrier staff-serjeant respectively, under conditions prescribed by Articles 814 and 817 of Our Warrant for the Pay, Appointment, Promotion and Non-effective Pay of Our Army, dated the 1st December, 1914.

Given at Our Court at St. James’s, this 8th day of August, 1918, in the 9th year of Our Reign.

By His Majesty’s Command,

MILNER.

Army Council’s Instruction on the above Warrant.

For the remaining period of the present war the rates laid down in the above Warrant shall be increased by 3. per diem, in accordance with paragraph 4 of the Warrant of the 3rd December, 1917, published as Army Order 1 of 1918.

Army Order 257 of September 1918.

There was also a change to allow signalling instructors to be appointment to the battalions of the Regiment.

Appointment of Signalling Instructors in Battalions of the Machine Gun Corps and Guards Machine Gun Regiment. – The following temporary amendment (for the period of the war) is made to paragraph 707, King’s Regulations:-

In each of the undermentioned units, the following proportion of officers and non-commissioned officer who have qualified at an Army Signal School will be appointed as instructors and assistant instructors.

1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, Guards Machine Gun Regiment … 1 officer, 1 serjeant per battalion.

4th Battalion, Guards Machine Gun Regiment … 1 serjeant per battalion.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), (Serving in France and Italy) … 1 serjeant per battalion.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), (Serving in Salonika, Egypt and Mesopotamia) … 1 officer, 1 serjeant per battalion.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), (Army Troops Battalions) … 1 officer, 1 serjeant per battalion.

Army Order 379 of December 1918.

Disbandment

The Royal Warrant for the Regiment to be disbanded was granted on 25 February and published on 26 February 1920, in Army Order 46.

Published on the 26th February, 1920.

ROYAL WARRANT

Guards Machine Gun Regiment

GEORGE R.I.

WHEREAS WE deem it expedient to cancel the provision made for the formation of a Machine Gun Regiment of Foot Guards;

OUR WILL AND PLEASURE IS that the Guards Machine Gun Regiment shall be disbanded forthwith, and that Our Warrant of the 8th May, 1918, shall be cancelled accordingly.

Given at Our Court at St. James’s, this 25th day of February 1920, in the 10th year of Our Reign.

By His Majesty’s Command,

WINSTON S. CHURCHILL

Army Order 46 of 1920

Memorials

The 4th Battalion, Machine Gun Guards, is commemorated alongside the other Regiments of Foot Guards on the Guards Division Memorial, Horse Guards Parade, London.


Sources:

  • Becke, 1934
  • Gould, 1977
  • The National Archives, WO 123/60, Army Orders 1918.
  • The National Archives, WO 123/62, Army Orders 1920.