Hampshire Regiment

 


The Great War

The Hampshire Regiment 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 11th Brigade, attached to the 4th Division. It’s MG Section was transferred on 23 December 1915 to form the 11th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 4th Infantry Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.

1914
25 August to 05 September RETREAT FROM MONS [II. Corps, 26 to 30 August 1914, and III. Corps from 31 August 1914.]
26 August Battle of le Cateau [under II. Corps].
06 to 09 September Battle of the Marne [III. Corps].
12 September Crossing of the Aisne (11th Bde.).
13 to 20 September BATTLE OF THE AISNE [III. Corps].
13 October to 02 November Battle of Armentieres [III. Corps].
13 October Capture of Meteren
1915
25 April to 25 May BATTLES OF YPRES [V. Corps, Second Army].
25 April to 04 May Battle of St. Julien [V. Corps, Second Army, and from 28 April to 07 May in Plumer’s Force].
08 to 13 May Battle of Frezenberg Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].
24 and 25 May Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].

2nd

The 2nd Battalion was part of the 88th Brigade, attached to the 29th Division. It’s MG Section was likely to have been transferred into the 88th MG Coy. which was was formed on the 21 February 1916, at Suez.

As a unit of the 29th Infantry Division during that period, 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 April The Landing at Cape Helles.
26 April Capture of Sedd el Bahr.
28 April First Battle of Krithia.
01 and 02 May Eski Hissarlik.
06 to 08 May Second Battle of Krithia.
12 May Gurkha Bluff (29th Ind. Inf. Bde.).
04 June Third Battle of Krithia [VIII. Corps].
28 June to 02 July Gully Ravine [VIII. Corps].
06 to 13 August Krithia 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 August Battle of Scimitar Hill [IX. Corps].
Night 19/20 December Evacuation 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 January Evacuation 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.

10th

The 10th Battalion was part of the 29th Brigade, attached to the 10th (Irish) Division. It had been formed after the outbreak of the Great Wat amd was attached to 10th (Irish) Division, in Ireland, as Army Troops, before formally joining the Brigade to replace 5th Bn Royal Irish Regiment after it became the Pioneer Battalion.

As a unit of the 10th (Irish) Infantry Division during that period, it will have taken part in the following 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). Army Order 324 of the 21st August (amended by Army Order 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 10th (Irish) Division began to assemble in Ireland. The infantry of the Division was composed of Battalions of all the Irish line regiments, the men were of all classes, creeds, and political opinions, and in August 1915, when the 10th Division went into action in Gallipoli, it had the honour of being the first Irish Division to take the field in War.

At first there was a shortage of arms and equipment. Rifles (of various marks) and bayonets were soon obtained, but the artillery had to undertake most of the preliminary training with “quaker guns” and very few horses. In 1915 the Division moved to the Curragh, Newbridge, and Kildare; brigade training was then undertaken. In May the Division crossed over to England, concentrated around Basingstoke, and began its final training. On the 28th and 29th May, H.M. the King saw the 10th Division, and on the 1st June Field-Marshal Earl Kitchener inspected the Division in Hackwood Park.

On the 27th June the Division was ordered to prepare for service in Gallipoli; divisional headquarters embarked at Liverpool on the 9th July, and by the end of the month the bulk of the division had collected on the Island of Lemnos. On the 6th August the troops embarked at Mudros, and on the 6th and 7th the Division (less the 29th Brigade, which was operating with the Anzac Corps) landed at Suvla and assaulted the Turkish position.

For the remainder of the Great War the 10th (Irish) Division served in Gallipoli, Macedonia, Egypt, Palestine and was engaged in the following operations:

1915
06 to 10 August Battle of Sari Bair (29th Bde.) [Godley’s Force, A. & N.Z. A.C.].
06 to 15 August The Landing at Suvla [IX Corps].
Night, 7/8 August Capture of Chocolate Hill (31st Bde. and 7/R.D.F., 30th Bde.) [Hill’s Force, IX Corps].
21; and 27 and 28 August Hill 60 [10/Hants. and 5/Conn. Rang., 29th Bde.) [Cox’s Force, A & N.Z.A.C.].
On the 29th September the 10th Division (less part of its artillery which had disembarked at Suvla) was ordered to prepare to move from Suvla. On the 30th the divisional headquarters, the three infantry brigades, field companies, pioneers, cyclist company, and field ambulances embarked and reached Mudros on the 1st October. By the 2nd the Division had collected in camps near Mudros and was engaged in making up deficiences. On the 4th October 29th Inf. Bde. began to embark for Macedonia; the Brigade disembarked at Salonika between the 5th-10th October, and it was followed by the rest of the division. By the 24th October the bulk of the division (400 officers and 13,000 men) had landed at Salonika, and 13th Division Arillery Headquarters and two 18-pdr. brigades joined to replace the 10th Division Artillery, which had been left in action at Suvla. On the 29th Octoner a mobile force under Br.-Gen. Nicol (30th Inf. Bde.) left by train for the interior and detrained at Gevgeli and Bogdanci (west of Lake Dojran).
RETREAT FROM SERBIA
08 and 08 December Kosturino.

The MG Section was likely to have been transferred into the 29th MG Coy. which was was formed on the 10 May 1916.

11th

The 11th Battalion was the Pioneer Battalion of the 16th (Irish) Division. It was raised after the outbreak of War, alloted to Second New Army as an Army Troops Battalion and attached to 16th (Irish) Division by 20 September 1914. It converted into the Pioneer Battalion on 03 December 1914.

As a unit of the 16th (Irish) Infantry Division during that period, its MG Section may have taken part in the following 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 16th (Irish) Division began to assemble in Ireland.

Divisional headquarters formed in Dublin, and the infantry brigades at Fermoy, Buttevant, and Tipperary. The artillery was at Cahir, Fermoy, and Kilkenny; the engineers at Moore Park, Kilworth; the army troops battalion (which became the divisional pioneer battalion) at Mullingar. On the 8th October divisional headquarters moved to Mallow. OIn the 8th March 1915 the pioneer battalion went to Kilworth, on the 19th June the 48th Brigade moved from Buttevant to Mallow, and on the 21st June divisional headquarters was transferred to Fermoy.

Meanwhile the training of the Division had progressed slowly, hampered by lack of equipment and materiel and by other difficulties. In the artillery it was some time before the batteries were able to option even 15 horses each for training purposes; and up to February 1915 the howitzer brigade had only managed to collect an old 12-pdr. B.L. gun to use for drill. Thus the Division gradually fell behind the time-table. In August it was decided to transfer three of the artillery brigades (18-pdrs.), the D.A.C., twi if the field companies, and the divisional signal company to the Guards Division which was then forming in France. At the same time the third field company was sent to France to join the 7th Division. The three field ambulances had already been transferred to the 37th Division, and they reached France by the beginning of August.

It was September 1915 before the remainder of the 16th Division left Ireland wand moved to Aldershot for its final intensive training. At last on the 10th December the Division was notified that embarkation would begin on the 17th. Even then the Division left for France without the divisional artillery, motor-machine-gun battery, one section signal company, one field ambulance, and one company of the Train. The 16th Division began disembarkation at le Havre on the 18th, and by the 22nd December had completed its concentration south of Bethune in the area of IV Corps, First Army. On the 22nd February 1916 the new divisional artillery joined the Division in France and on the 24th February the 49th Brigade arrived. The Division was now complete.

It’s MG Section will have been disbanded on the attachment of 47th, 48th and 49th MG Companies, which took place on 28 and 29 April 1916, Machine Gunners may have been absorbed by those Companies, or trained on the Lewis Gun, which now equipped the Infantry Battalion.


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