Formed by Royal Warrant on 14 October 1915, then Army Orders 413 and 414 of 22 October 1915, the Machine Gun Corps (MGC) comprised of three branches.

In addition to this, the Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps was formed on 14 July 1916 by Army Order 253 and it was this unit which was equipped with the first Tanks. Army Order 239 transferred this unit to the Tanks Corps.

Also, whereas Infantry and Cavalry of the Line units formed the respective branches of the MGC, the Guards Regiments formed their own Guards MG Battalion which later became the Guards MG Regiment.

The Machine Gun Corps, and all it’s branches, were disbanded in 1922.


The strength of the Machine Gun Corps was recorded from January, 1915, until March, 1920, on a month-by-month basis.

At its peak, in December, 1918, it consisted of 9,707 officers and 149,089 other ranks – a total of 158,796 all ranks. A more detailed analysis is available on the MGC strength page.


After it was disbanded in 1922, the veterans of the MGC were largely transferred to other units as machine gunners or infantry replacements.

The Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades’ Association was formed and published its first copy of the Emma Gee magazine in 1936.  A copy of the first draft of the magazine, marked up by Lt Col G S Hutchison is available to download.

There has never been a full history of the MGC written; however, the VMGCRA incorporates the MGC History Project that aims to complete this task.

Boy David
The Boy David memorial to the Machine Gun Corps on Hyde Park Corner, London.

Further reading

For more information on the Machine Gun Corps, you may wish to visit the VMGCRA Archive and Library.

Individual soldier research can be sought through a friend of the VMGCRA, Graham Sacker.